By Gene Buglewicz
OXFORD – It isn’t often a Pregnancy Test Center hosts the bishop of the Diocese of Jackson, but Bishop Joseph Kopacz spent 90 minutes visiting with Rebecca Bishop, executive director of the Pregnancy Test Center of Oxford, two volunteer members of the center’s board of directors, Rosann Hudson and Louisa Arico, and volunteer consultant Marge Hinton. All three volunteers are members of St. John the Evangelist Parish.
Bishop Kopacz, invited by Knights of Columbus Council 10901, was able to schedule a visit to the Pregnancy Test Center before a scheduled meeting at St. John to outline the planning and implementation of the new mission, vision and diocesan priorities.
After listening to the mission of the Center and the emotional, physical and operational aspects of working with women who seek help there, Bishop Kopacz toured the facility, including the ultrasound clinic. Here the ultrasound technician can project a view of the unborn baby on a large screen for the mother and father and see the baby’s beating heart, face, fingers and toes to prove the tissue is truly a person. According to Ms. Bishop, this is the most crucial part of the counseling process. Overall, 70 percent of young parents will choose life for their baby, whether it be through adoption or as parents, after viewing the new life inside.
The center provides the couple support on their journey. One critical portion of the physical support given to client families is clothing and supplies found in the Pregnancy Test Center’s Baby Boutique. Bishop Kopacz learned that clients can attend prenatal and parenting classes and earn points which can be cashed in for newborn supplies such as diapers, clothing, blankets, even bibs.
According to Ms. Bishop, the most gratifying part of their ministry is welcoming the return of young children to the Pregnancy Test Center with their former client mothers.
The Pregnancy Test Center is supported by approximately 30 churches in the Oxford and Lafayette County area, including St. John the Evangelist and Knights of Columbus Council 10901. The Pregnancy Test Center employs three salaried staff members, with nine volunteer consultants who work directly with the clients. Many individuals and community organizations including the Rebels for Life student organization from the University of Mississippi provide on-call logistical support. The Center depends on donations and gifts from churches and organizations, and receives no state or federal funds.