For nearly 20 years, Jeanne Thelen has been blessed to serve as a consultant with the pro-life work of Birthchoice Ministry. But her involvement in pro-life causes began even earlier than that.
“I first got involved in this kind of ministry when I was in college,” she says. “That was more than 35 years ago, as a student.”
Jeanne has appreciated the chance to help people with the difficult decision when faced with a crisis pregnancy. Through the years, she and her husband have been involved in pro-life work everywhere they’ve lived.
Birthchoice has served as a resource for pregnant women in the Triangle area since 1971. The organization’s work includes offering pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, emotional support, material support, personal consultations, and more. Their services are free and supported by groups like our own parish community.
“We have now in the last 15 years started sonography services, which is a huge development,” Jeanne says. “Our clients can actually see their babies. We’re able to give them not just the information like before. About 80 percent of those thinking of having an abortion, when they see their baby, change their mind. They have the opportunity to make a more informed choice so they don’t have to revisit this decision when they can’t take it back.”
The consultants are available to meet with pregnant women seeking care or support, offering a warm and compassionate presence during what can be a difficult time. After some discussion, the consultants work on problem-solving and help the women to find a network of support. If there is a need or hole in that support, Birthchoice will help with that area, especially once the baby arrives.
“Some of our clients we get really close to and stick with for a long time,” Jeanne says. “Others discover they have a pretty good network of their own and they are going to be okay.”
The Birthchoice facility is located at 2304 Wesvill, adjacent to the abortion clinic. Sometimes they have women come from the abortion clinic, where people are often outside praying. The group was started by a group of Catholics, but they also have volunteers and donor support outside of Catholic circles.
“We serve anyone who calls, anyone who walks in,” Jeanne says.
Our own parish has helped support the work at Birthchoice over the years, such as with the Baby Bottle Campaign and the Run for Life. Various groups in our parish have also made donations of baby items and raised funds for the initiatives. Overall, Birthchoice provides an important, safe space for women to go when they are in need of support.
“We’ve seen over so many years, how many grateful moms inevitably almost always come back and say, ‘I can’t believe I almost didn’t have this precious child,’” Jeanne says. “In terms of what it’s done for me, I think spiritually — it’s incredibly humbling what people are going through, that we’ve been fortunate to not have had to face in our lives. It takes away any judgment, any thoughts about anything like that. People are making some really hard choices in life.”
For more information about Birthchoice or to get involved, visit birthchoicewake.org or supportbirthchoice.org, or call 919-781-5433.