Montana center expands and rebrands to take back the narrative on women's health

LaVie Health in Billings, Mont./LaVie Health

A medical care clinic for early pregnancies in Montana has launched in fresh territory.

LaVie Health held a ribbon cutting on its new facility in downtown Billings in June, marking just one of many important steps to better serve the community with pregnancy resources and education.

The celebration comes two years after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. CEO Cindy Nordstog said after the decision for Dobbs came down in June of 2022, the two centers under LaVie saw a shift in visits.

LaVie Health

LaVie had been known for many years as LaVie Pregnancy Clinic.

 “A year ago, we did a re-branding,” Nordstog said during a phone conversation with Pregnancy Help News.

The clinic’s name was changed to Lavie Health to reflect focus on women’s health.

“We are still life-affirming but if we find that if we don’t take back the health narrative that her health matters, then we just don’t see them coming in the door,” she said.

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As Dobbs turned the regulation of abortion back to the states, the otherwise “red” state of Montana began to look purple. Abortion in the state of Montana is legal until 20 weeks. Earlier this year the state’s supreme court decided in favor of abortion in three separate instances.

Like other centers across the country, LaVie staff and volunteers found that the chemical abortions were more prominent, and women were seeking ultrasounds before they took the pill.

The abortion pill accounts for 80 percent of abortions in Montana, Nordstog said. Abortion providers in Montana and two other states sued in order to have broader access with the abortion pill.

LaVie staffs Registered Nurses and two OB-GYNs and is overseen by a medical director. A Biblical counselor is also on site. The negative slant on pregnancy centers by the media, however, left many women reluctant to reach out to the centers despite the professional care offered.

Nordstog said combining their two locations and putting them under one roof in downtown Billings was a game-changer.

“We’re right downtown,” she said. “We’re very visible. We are seeing a ton more walk-ins.”

LaVie Health

Those who answer the phones have been trained how to take an abortion-determined call.

Often the first question is “do you perform abortions?”

“We’re very clear that we do not,” Nordstog said, and then the task becomes getting clients in the door.

Her staff works to instill the need for screening and answers before making any pregnancy decision.

“We reframe it for them. They hear the information and it’s very clear,” she said, adding they are noticing more reception on the other end of the line.

“We went from hang-ups to scheduling pre-abortion screenings,” said Nordstog. 

Tweet This: Even with an updated look LaVie Health's mission remains the same-To empower women through compassionate medical care for early pregnancies.

Nordstog said LaVie has taken a stand to be bolder with its approach.

“As we stepped into this change, we were saying ‘what do we have to lose?’” she said. “The biggest concern has been the fact so many women are getting the abortion pill without any medical care.”

LaVie Health receives referrals from OB/GYBs and some Planned Parenthood locations.

“Some ladies are having a hard time finding care,” she told Pregnancy Help News. “They learn we are a safe place of care.”

LaVie Health

LaVie also offers STD testing, miscarriage management and post-abortion support, as well as well-women exams.

“We are not set up to be their (overall) provider,” Nordstog said, even though they have a doctor on staff.

LaVie has also been a resource for sports physicals in the community for 11 years. This became a means of outreach and a “non-threatening way of getting the word out there,” Nordstog said. In 2023 LaVie was offering the physicals out of the office and on the school campuses.

With the new facility the center is going to expand its ongoing “Earn While You Learn” program and add a boutique. Since COVID, LaVie has been offering Bright Course lessons virtually. Nordstog anticipates community classes will be able to make a return in the new building. LaVie had previously offered a “Baby Shower in a Basket” for clients. The new boutique will allow clients to choose what they prefer for their babies. Educational programs with lactation specialists and information on pelvic floor issues are part of the future plans.

LaVie Health

Child Protective Services is located next door to the center and requested meeting space at LaVie for families.

“We’re on one of the busiest streets in town and we have room to grow for sure,” she said.

Nordstog thoughts on LaVie’s mission going forward were shared in a press statement about the ribbon cutting:

“Even though we have an updated look, our mission remains the same. LaVie continues to empower women through compassionate medical care for early pregnancies. We will continue to strive to make a profound impact and create a nurturing community where our patients feel supported and valued.”

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