Pre- and postnatal items will be available at the New Life Pregnancy Center, 1415 Seventh St., Mamou. The center is scheduled to open Jan. 21. From left, are Sharon Fontenot, Doris Brown and Lynn Pavich, all of Eunice. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)
Sharon Fontenot, of Eunice, is with an examination table at the New Life Pregnancy Center, 1415 Seventh St., Mamou. The center is scheduled to open Jan. 21. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)
The New Life Pregnancy Center is located at the Sanctuary of Praise, 1415 Seventh St., Mamou. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)
Acting for life
A nonprofit support center for expecting mothers is to open Jan. 21 at Sanctuary of Praise, 1415 Seventh St., here.
The center, across from Savoy Medical Center, will offer assistance in pregnancy and with postnatal care.
Sharon Fontenot, a Center Board member, said the center started over meetings at Cafe Mosaic in Eunice in the summer of 2019.
Fontenot, who has been a leader in Right to Life for nearly 50 years, said shutting down abortion clinics has occurred in recent years.
“But what do you do? You can’t just say we really care about you and we care about your child and we want you to give your child life if you are not going to help them,” she said in an interview at the center.
“The other ladies were helping them kill their babies. We would like to help them have the babies and at the same time show them that you can make it,” she said.
Fontenot explained her view of Right to Life as, “You are born in the United States of America. You have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. If you don’t get that first right you don’t get any.”
The center will operate with volunteers, she said. A center director will be hired.
Volunteers present at the center when Fontenot was interviewed included Susan Saunders and Marorie Richard, of Ville Platte; and Lynn Pavich and Doris Brown, of Eunice.
But the core of the center’s staffing will be volunteers from office work to medical expertise.
Drs. Kayla Fontenot and Monty Heinen, of Eunice, are on the center’s board of directors and will be providing medical care.
Another board member, Phyllis Pere, will serve as a counselor.
The board also includes Travis Turner, Frank Tujague, Tammy Newman, Rebecca Plunkett and Sharon Fontenot.
The Sanctuary of Praise is donating the office space that includes a waiting area, reception-office area, examination room, and store for expectant mothers.
Fontenot said the center expects to serve about 400 expectant mothers in its first year. They will come from an area around Mamou that includes Evangeline, St. Landry, Acadia, Jefferson Davis and Allen parishes.
Services planned include parenting, medical, diet, budgeting and personal organization.
The plan is for the center to be open three days a week with one day offering ultrasound examinations.
The ultrasound image is projected on a television and reinforces the reality that a life is at stake, she said.
“Nine months is not long in the scope of things,” she said.
If the mother does not want to keep the child the center will help with adoption, she said.
Fontenot said the center will need a steady stream of funding.
And that’s been happening, she said. In one instance, a rosary prayer group set aside a dollar each and raised several hundred dollars for the center.
As part of its opening,a $500 a table fundraiser, “Together for Life Banquet,” is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21. Individual tickets are $62.50 each.
Keynote speaker will be Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton. Sen. Heather Cloud, R-Turkey Creek, also will speak
Entertainment will be by Cajun humorist Kent Gonsoulin.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned at 6 p.m. Jan. 21.
For more information about tickets, call Rebecca Plunkett at 337-230-4192 or Travis Turner at 337-277-4501.