In response to the recent spotlight on Planned Parenthood, Ann Earnest used a recent Johnston County Commissioners meeting to promote an alternative resource that serves women with unplanned pregnancies.
Earnest is director of In His Hands Pregnancy Support Center, a Christian, pro-life nonprofit based in Smithfield. The group serves 30 to 40 clients each week, she said, and is looking to expand into a building larger than the current space at 13 Dail St.
“As you can imagine, there’s a great need for this service in Johnston County,” Earnest said.
As the nonprofit grows, Earnest said she might be back to ask commissioners for funding in next year’s budget. In His Hands has an annual budget of $85,000, with about $8,000 coming from state grants to provide car seats and other baby items, Earnest said. The rest of the money comes from donations by individuals and churches.
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In the last month, Planned Parenthood has come under public scrutiny amid a publicity campaign launched by the Center for Medical Progress. Last month, the anti-abortion group began releasing videos that it secretly recorded over the course of three years. The videos show Planned Parenthood staff and executives candidly discussing the harvesting and sale of fetal organs, and they have sparked renewed discussion about the ethics of abortion.
At In His Hands, volunteers provide expecting mothers – and fathers – free and confidential services, including pregnancy tests, ultrasound confirmations, counseling, parenting classes and information on community resources. The group also supplies free maternity clothes, baby clothes, baby furniture and car seats.
In His Hands was founded in 2007, Earnest said, and relies heavily on volunteers and donations.
“Through the eight and a half years, we’ve served over 1,000 clients and had a lot of babies born,” she said.
For more information on In His Hands Pregnancy Support Center, call 919-989-8997 or visit InHisHandsPSC.cfsites.org.
The nearest Planned Parenthood location is at 100 S. Boylan Ave. in Raleigh. The phone number is 919-833-7526.
Here are other items from the month’s commissioners meeting:
▪ Commissioners agreed to spend $1.7 million to upgrade 911 dispatching to be P25-compatible. The N.C. 911 Board approved funding for the project using revenue from the 911 surcharge on phone bills. The P25 standard, which is being adopted across the state and industry, will allow Johnston’s emergency responders to communicate with other counties. Commissioners want the transition completed by October 2016.
▪ The board amended the Johnston Health Authority’s bylaws and memorandum of understanding with the county to reflect the hospital’s merger with UNC Health Care. County Manager Rick Hester described the changes as housekeeping.
▪ Commissioners updated an agreement with Fuquay-Varina for Johnston to provide water to a home located in Wake County on the border with Johnston. Public Utilities Director Chandra Coats said the owner has stage IV lung cancer and does not want his wife to rely on well water in his absence.