The Women’s Care Center of Milwaukee joined forces with Milwaukee Birthright in December. (Submitted photo)
Two of Milwaukee’s most enduring pregnancy resource centers have joined forces to give women an alternative to abortion.
In December, Milwaukee Birthright was absorbed into the Women’s Care Center of Milwaukee. Though it has served the city since 1971, the older of the two organizations is now part of a larger network of pregnancy resource centers that offer strategic planning and network connections for 35 centers in 12 states — and which offers multiple offices, with two in Milwaukee and one in Madison.
“I reached out to their board last year and asked them to merge with us because they shared our mission,” said Board Vice President Tom Linn. “Their mission was to serve vulnerable women. Fighting the culture of death with the culture of life requires changing one heart, one mind, at a time. The message the Women’s Care Center is that we promote a better way. We just want to support people and love them with radical hospitality.”
“Milwaukee Birthright’s board decided that their mission would be best continued through a larger organization, so they transferred their assets to the Women’s Care Center and we took over their mission, joining it into ours. It’s been a seamless process; they voted unanimously for the merger after board due diligence and deliberation. We want to honor them, now that their brand isn’t going to continue, and let people know that we’re going to honor them.”
Women’s Care Center first arrived in Milwaukee in 2010, having started as an off-campus organization near Notre Dame University in 1984. It absorbed and renamed a previously existing clinic, so it felt could benefit from a larger strategic business plan.
The newly merged organization considers itself nonpolitical and does not focus on political lobbying, instead focusing on keeping a full-time staff available 24-7 to help any woman who is urgently in need. Their mission has been to provide support, education and resources to help women facing unexpected pregnancies.
“We’re a pro-life organization in the sense that we provide support and love through our center so they can choose life for their unborn babies, making a choice for life and supporting them through their pregnancy,” said Executive Director Sheryl Laird.
Both organizations have made a significant impact on the lives of thousands of local women, helping them gain access to pregnancy tests and ultrasounds while providing education and support to help vulnerable women choose life. While the WCC is secular, it is driven by largely Catholic staff and Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki is a member of its board of directors.
“Our mission is exclusively to serve women and families without any judgment,” said Linn. “We take a secular approach with a Catholic heart, meaning we never discriminate based on race, color or creed. Everyone is welcome.”
Women’s Care Center takes pride in its medical credentials and standards of excellence. WCC’s staff includes a registered nurse, certified sonographer, social worker, trained counselors and a doctor with decades of experience. The center’s medical diagnostic services are federally compliant, with a board-certified OB/GYN medical director.
“Our goal is to give women options,” said Linn. “Many times, women go into both clinics and think about their options. Women walk across the street from the abortion clinic and we give them the opportunity to tell their story. Some go back and some decide to work with us, and when they choose Women’s Care Center, the lifted coercive circumstances let them know they have an alternative when they have support and choose life.”
Women’s Care Center is a growing national organization and it already has ambitions to do more work in Wisconsin. It is eager to build greater connections with local resource centers, helping them become better equipped to meet the needs of vulnerable women.
“Ideally, we’d like to help build connections all over the state and help other centers,” said Linn. “Milwaukee Birthright built a business model staffed by volunteers with only one full-time employee and an executive director whose job was to oversee financial resources and services. Women’s Care Center has seven full-time employees, 11 part-time employees and volunteers. We’re open as many hours as the nearby Planned Parenthood. We try to match their hours and the only way to do that is with a full-time staff.”
With young women facing external pressure or anxiety that they will be unable to care for their children, many choose abortion out of fear. Organizations like Women’s Care Center are vital for providing a needed alternative.
“Young girls receive a lot of information about access to Planned Parenthood, and they know to seek it out,” says Laird. “Our hope and goal for these pregnant women is for them to know they have another option. Women’s Care Center offers a great alternative for clinical information and medical-grade pregnancy resources to support them. There needs to be another option for women, and we want to link arms with other like-minded groups to make a change for the betterment of our culture.”
If you are interested in learning more or would like to schedule a tour, contact Sheryl Laird at 414-223-2610.