NEW HAVEN – This city and Torrington welcomed new pregnancy resource centers in October, a sign that the pro-life cause is gaining ground locally, advocates say.
The St. Gianna Pregnancy Resource Center on Whitney Avenue opened Oct. 1 to serve the needs of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. Torrington’s Two Hearts Pregnancy Care Center, an all-volunteer, community-based, nonprofit organization that will offer education, support and direction to women, men and other family members in need of support, celebrated its own birth on Oct. 21.
"It’s a sign of the resurgence of support for respect for life that these two facilities are able to open," said Father Robert Rousseau, archdiocesan director of pro-life activities.
"It took a lot of work to get the centers ready," he noted. "But, it shows the commitment of people to the pro-life cause, and to their willingness to help women and their families who are facing an emergency."
Two Hearts is located on the second floor of the former Sacred Heart Parish rectory at 116 Grove St. Founded by Father Christopher Tiano and Deacon David Reynolds, pastor and deacon, respectively, of the Torrington Cluster of Catholic Parishes, the center is the result of the parishes’ combined efforts.
"We just feel there was a need in this corner of Connecticut where young people in crisis can come in, get the support they need and receive unconditional love," said Patricia Magaldi, director of Two Hearts.
She said that planning for the center began in 2010 with a core group of people who rallied volunteers last spring to clean, paint and get the building ready.
Modeled after Carolyn’s Place, the successful pregnancy care center in Waterbury that is celebrating its 20th anniversary Nov. 4, Two Hearts offers such free services as pregnancy testing, emotional and spiritual support and adoption information, as well as baby clothes, cribs and diapers. No insurance is necessary.
Organizers for St. Gianna Center will begin offering support and services for women, men and families of unborn babies in November. The opening is scheduled for Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Organizers are planning for a gala opening in the spring.
"So far, God is moving this forward handily," said Ivana Solsbery, who chairs the center’s board of directors. "Everything has been opening up for us. It’s been such a blessing."
One early blessing, she noted, was that with the help of organizers, a baby boy was born Sept. 8 (the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary) to a mother who carried him to term.
The center is located in the lower level at 100 Whitney Ave., where Whitney intersects with Trumbull Street – which is only four blocks away from the regional Planned Parenthood office – in a renovated former residence.
Both centers offer 24-hour support; free confidential pregnancy testing; and assistance in obtaining financial, legal and medical aid; information about fetal development, adoption and abortion; and referrals to social services and shelter homes, among other services. Two Hearts also will offer baby clothing; St. Gianna will offer maternity and baby supplies.
The New Haven center, which has been in the planning stages for a year, was named after St. Gianna Beretta Molla, a physician, working mother, professional woman and wife who sacrificed her life to preserve the life of her child.
Father Rousseau serves as spiritual director for the St. Gianna Center. His personal interest in the centers dates back to 1991 when he found an hours-old baby left in the entryway of St. John the Evangelist in Watertown, where he was serving as pastor. Attempts to find resources led to the opening of Carolyn’s Place.
Other advisors and members on the board include a neonatal nurse, an internist and a Catholic medical resident at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Ms. Solsbery noted that the center also is not far from Yale-New Haven Hospital, which, like the Planned Parenthood office, performs abortions.
However, she added, thanks to prayer, events such as the 40 Days for Life Campaign and the efforts of such groups as the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, crisis pregnancy centers in the United States now outnumber Planned Parenthood centers.
In fact, one abortion provider, the Summit Medical Center in West Hartford, closed in August.
The new centers are two of five pregnancy centers supported by the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal through funding requests made by local deaneries. The others are Carolyn’s Place, the St. Gerard Center for Life in Hartford and the First Way Life Center in Enfield.
Information about Two Hearts in Torrington and donation opportunities are available at www.twoheartscenter.com or by calling (860) 482-0672. Similar information about the St. Gianna center may be found by calling (203) 624-BABY.