Karen Sims is director of the newly opened Center for Pregnancy Choices in Meridian.
Staffed with mostly volunteers, the non-profit organization provides
a free pregnancy test and information on pregnancy choices.
Since opening in November 2002, the center counseled women of all ages in a confidential setting.
While many continue to debate the pros and cons of different pregnancy options, Sims said the real issue goes much deeper and involves the support available for those experiencing an unexpected pregnancy.
"There's been research to prove that about 80 percent of women say if they had more support from family and friends they might have considered carrying their children," said Sims. "Young girls and women hear what other people in their life are saying about out-of-wedlock pregnancy and they remember those things when it comes to themselves. It's a very difficult decision because you want support but you're scared to tell people that you might be pregnant."
Aside from free pregnancy tests and information on pregnancy options, the Meridian center also offers referrals for adoption, housing, medical assistance, counseling for the entire family, and if needed, a post- abortion support group.
"We want to be a support system for anyone," said Sims.
For more information on the center you may call a 24-hour helpline at 934-0800.