FORT MILL — About 30 people spent Thursday morning praying on a machine they believe will change lives.
More than the ultrasound device itself, supporters of Palmetto Pregnancy Center prayed for the women who will be using the free, confidential services offered at the Fort Mill site.
“This is a beautiful, joyous day,” said Len Turi, director with Lake Wylie’s All Saints Knights of Columbus Council 14475 Respect For Life Ministry. “This is going to save more lives by building a relationship between a mother and her unborn child.”
The Fort Mill site – Palmetto Pregnancy has others in Rock Hill and Lake Wylie – opened in February 2012. Supporters of the $36,000 ultrasound machine say it’s crucial in caring for women facing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.
The All Saints group raised a similar amount for ultrasound equipment in Lake Wylie, half through donations and the rest through a national match. Then the group took to funding the Fort Mill machine.
“God has indeed used that machine,” Palmetto Pregnancy board chair Marty Cope said of the Lake Wylie site, “and we trust He will use this machine as well.”
Palmetto Pregnancy offers care for pregnant women and new mothers, as well as counseling and education for women who have had abortions. Last year, the three centers combined saw 1,500 clients. In Fort Mill, there were 45. Already this year there have been 39.
“Before people were finding us online,” said Becky Donovan, Fort Mill site director. “Now they’re finding us through a friend. As they learn about us, it’s made a big difference.”
The three centers last year ran on 3,500 volunteer hours with 50 volunteers. Churches of several denominations donate time and items for expecting women.
Fr. Ed McDevitt of All Saints Catholic Church in Lake Wylie led Thursday’s ultrasound dedication. McDevitt recounted a recent case where a girl wasn’t sure what decision to make when her mother and boyfriend didn’t want to keep the child. Only the boyfriend’s mother offered support.
“It was a hard, hard decision to make,” he said.
Donovan said a couple recently came in to get a free ultrasound.
“They changed their minds,” Donovan said.
The Fort Mill center is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays on Springcrest Drive. For more information, visit palmettopregnancycenter.com.