About Us

History

In the Lakeland community, the first pregnancy resource center was Preg-Aid, started by Pat Buckler in 1979 with $40 and the support of her church. Her dream was to have a place where women facing crisis pregnancies could come to receive food, clothing, and spiritual guidance. Pat died suddenly in 1995. Her daughters continued to operate until 1997 when they decided to close Preg-Aid.
 
In October of 1997, a group of pro-life men and women gathered together. Their goal was to open a new crisis pregnancy center. Dr. Ellie Hartog, a retired obstetrician/gynecologist, generously purchased a small house, which was remodeled by Ron Henkelman Construction to accommodate our needs.  So in October 1998, Pregnancy Help Center of Lakeland opened to continue the work of Preg-Aid.  In 2002, Mary Rutherford officially became the Executive Director.
 
In September 2003, the Board of Directors voted to become a Medical Clinic offering ultrasounds as the “window to the womb”. In January of 2004, we learned that Focus on the Family was offering grants of $18,000 for ultrasound machines. We qualified for the grant, and received our machine in April.  We officially opened as a Medical Clinic in May, 2004. Dr. Richard Rutherford served as our first Medical Director. Then in 2005, Dr. Jeffrey Puretz assumed this volunteer position and Mary Drewry was hired as the first Nurse Manager.
 
In 2006, we realized we were still primarily seeing women who wanted to have their babies vs. women at risk for abortion.  We heard about a PRC in Rochester NY that had developed a way of reaching and serving the abortion minded woman.  In 2007 we implemented this linear service model, called the Optimization Tool (OT), and it has maximized our effectiveness in reaching abortion-minded women and impacting their decisions in favor of life.
 
Our story continued with the purchase of our new building in November 2010.  This allowed us to expand our services and reach more women.  In a continued effort to reach more women specifically at risk for abortion, we also changed our name to Options for Women Pregnancy Help Clinic.
 
In March of 2013, we received a new ultrasound machine through the fundraising efforts of Don Schluender and matching funds by the Knights of Columbus.  The new machine features doppler, which allows women to both see and hear their child’s heartbeat.
 
In February of 2015, we opened a second location at the Dream Center of Lakeland. In partnership with the Dream Center we began offering our services one day a week to serve one of the most impoverished areas of Lakeland.