As the new year dawned a southern California pregnancy center took steps toward becoming a medical clinic, in hopes of meeting the needs of women entering the Planned Parenthood facility next door.
Located along Interstate 8, between Yuma, Arizona and San Diego, California, Imperial Valley Life Center (IV Life Center) is well-situated to help women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy who see abortion as their only option. Although located in a town of about 45,000, the executive director said she has seen an increase in the number of women going into the Planned Parenthood facility, which shares a parking lot with the pregnancy center.
“We are just getting more and more people coming over here from Arizona, and we’re just 12 minutes away from the (Mexican) border,” said Lorena Ogle, executive director of the center. “Arizona is on hold right now regarding abortion, so the vision is to offer free ultrasounds and free pregnancy testing.”
Currently, her center in El Centro, Calif., provides pregnancy tests and refers women out for professional medical testing and ultrasounds, often to facilities in San Diego, a distance of more than 100 miles.
From an idea to first steps
The idea to become a medical clinic emerged a few years ago. After the Dobbs Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and sending the abortion issue back to the states, the difference in abortion regulation between the states has become more pertinent.
For example, with abortion banned after 15 weeks in Arizona and California’s status as an abortion destination, El Centro and IV Life Center is in a prime position to be there for women, especially as a medical clinic.
“The Lord put this on my heart, and though I don’t know how to do it, I know the Lord can do it,” Ogle said.
She and her board began talks with other pregnancy centers in the area. Josh McClure, executive director for California Alliance for Pregnancy Care, helped lead the discussions. Several issues were worked out, he said, and all entities came to an agreement that IV Life Center would best serve as a pregnancy help medical clinic.
Interstate 8 is a major thoroughfare, McClure said. The county of Imperial Valley is very rural with a lot of farming, he said. However, the interstate continues on to more populated places in Arizona, including Yuma, Phoenix, and Tucson.
“Anybody wanting to go from Tucson or Phoenix to California to get one of the free abortions will have to go right through, or come to El Centro,” he said.
Therefore, having a pregnancy center that is medical would help deflect the abortion-only choice of Planned Parenthood.
“There’s been a lot of efforts to make something happen out there (medical clinic-wise),” said McClure, who works out of San Diego.
Ideas for a mobile unit were floated from time to time, he said.
He said he told different parties who brought forth that thought, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’
“For one, the climate,” McClure said. “In the summer, you’re talking temperatures of 120 degrees, and it doesn’t really cool off; it’ll stay in the 90s through the night. It’s just hot out there!”
“All the equipment you put in there (a mobile unit) is heat sensitive,” he said. “There’s a lot of reasons why a mobile unit wouldn’t work. So, I said, ‘Let’s just have a brick and mortar.”
On January 3, he met with Ogle and the board.
“The board of directors bought into the plan,” he said.
Moving forward with a plan
That plan includes asking “20 churches to add IV Life Center as a missionary group at $200 a month,” which will double the center’s income, McClure said. He also advised them on how to improve their annual banquet. These endeavors will help them pay the added cost a pregnancy medical center incurs with equipment, insurance, and staff costs, among other extra expenses.
“They have that plan, and they have identified some prospects for a medical director and are working to reach out to them,” McClure said.
Ogle and the board will also have plans drawn up by an architect to convert the pregnancy resource center into a medical clinic. They will work to cast the vision to the community as well, McClure said.
“They own the building. They are also right next to Planned Parenthood,” he said. “This is a lot of really good news.”
Tweet This: A Southern Calif. pregnancy help center adjacent to Planned Parenthood is going medical to serve women in the abortion destination state.
McClure said he has been sharing the vision in San Diego.
“A lot of organizations over here are getting really excited about it and want to help them,” he said.
Ogle said she began sharing the vision with various local groups, including churches and youth groups, and she is seeing fruit from those conversations.
“They have been inspired to just go and be out there, and lead people to the IV Life Center,” Ogle said. “It seems more younger people, like college students, are rising up; it’s like a spark has ignited. I thank God for that. I believe He will direct more women’s hearts to the IV Life Center.”
Both Ogle and McClure envision the center becoming a medical clinic within a year or two, and Ogle attributes the recent movements forward as God-ordained.
“Having Josh here, getting all these entities together – I really do believe God wants this to happen,” she said.
“God put IV Life Center right next to Planned Parenthood,” said Ogle. “God has been opening doors.”