Texas pregnancy center provides faith-centered ‘holistic care’ for women in crisis

5 mins read

The John Paul II Center opened in 2010 with a ‘unique model’ — has seen demand for its services skyrocket in recent years

Fox News | by Christine Rousselle | April 28, 2024

Source: Texas pregnancy center provides faith-centered ‘holistic care’ for women in crisis | Fox News

theNational.buzz Summary:

  • The John Paul II Life Center in Austin, Texas, offers free pregnancy tests, sonograms, and holistic care for women experiencing crisis pregnancies, with a mission to provide practical support and life-affirming choices.
  • Expanded services include the Vitae Clinic, a Catholic-based OBGYN practice, and programs like Work Wheels for car repairs or purchases to facilitate employment opportunities.
  • The center’s holistic approach extends to assisting with rent and utilities, aiming to empower women toward financial stability and independence.
  • Amid increasing demand for its services, the center hopes to inspire similar models nationwide to support women facing unplanned pregnancies with compassion and practical resources.

A faith-focused “life center” that assists women who are experiencing crisis pregnancies recently opened a new, expanded facility in Austin, Texas, to better meet the increasing demands for its services. 

The John Paul II Life Center was established in 2010 by two married couples, Tim and Pat Von Dohlen and Chris and Sheri Danze. They were seeking “to take the teachings of the Catholic Church on protection of human life from conception to natural death and to assist those in need and put their faith into action.” 

As a result, the John Paul II (JPII) Center opened with the aim of providing women-centric “holistic care” for those who are experiencing an unexpected or crisis pregnancy — completely free of charge. 

“Every JPII Life Center client receives a free pregnancy test, free sonogram, and a client advocate who walks with her through her options and answers her questions,” the JPII Center said. 

Here’s a deeper dive into the services offered — and how it’s expanded.

woman getting sonogram

Every woman receives a sonogram free of charge from the John Paul II Life Center. The center recently expanded to a new larger campus in Austin, Texas.  (John Paul II Life Center)

‘All walks of life’ 

There is no “typical” client at the JPII Center.

“The women we serve come from all walks of life, and we do not discriminate based on race, religion, circumstances or status,” the center says, noting that “most of our clients are low income/poverty level, and increasingly immigrants.”

Still, “anyone pregnant or with a child under [age] three can receive free services and non-judgmental care,” said the JPII Center. 

Once it is confirmed that the woman is indeed pregnant, and she decides against having an abortion, she then can choose to receive prenatal care, for free, at the Vitae Clinic or at another doctor. 

“We do not discriminate based on race, religion, circumstances or status.”

The Vitae Clinic is located alongside the JPII Center and is a Catholic-based OBGYN practice. The two work in tandem. 

“Vitae” is the Latin word for life. 

Whichever doctor a woman chooses, “we can provide her with the practical resources, financial assistance, education and care she needs to help her achieve financial and emotional stability,” said the JPII Center. 

About 25% of the Vitae Clinic’s patients receive services through the JPII Center, and many of these women are under-insured or do not have insurance. 

The other 75% are women who “desire our more holistic model of care” and have traditional insurance. 

“The Vitae Clinic uses Natural Procreative Technology (NaProTECHNOLOGY) to provide tailor-made care that works cooperatively with a woman’s body,” Dr. Jeremy Kalamarides, Vitae’s medical director, told Fox News Digital. 

building made of brick

The John Paul II Life Center and the Vitae Clinic are located in Austin, Texas. About a quarter of Vitae’s patients are under-insured or un-insured.  (John Paul II Life Center)

He continued, “This allows us to address the root cause of a woman’s medical issues rather than treating her symptoms alone,” he said.

This unorthodox way of operating ensures that the Vitae Clinic is able to stay afloat financially, while also serving those who are less fortunate. 

“The goal of our unique model is that the revenue from the Vitae Clinic patients covers the operating expenses for the clinic as well as the medical services needed for JPII clients,” said the JPII Center. 

The connection with the Vitae Clinic also means that the JPII Center has more medical personnel than a typical pregnancy resource center. 

“We are the only center in Texas, to our knowledge, that has two full-time OB/GYNs on staff daily, as well as nurses, sonographers, medical assistants and client advocates to help a vulnerable woman facing an unplanned pregnancy make an informed decision,” the JPII Center told Fox News Digital. 

two people in front of JPII banner

Tim Van Dohlen, right, and Pat Van Dohlen, left, are two of the John Paul II Life Center’s co-founders. The center celebrated its relocation on April 4.  (John Paul II Life Center)

Far beyond the scope of pregnancy

The services offered to women at the JPII Center also go far beyond the scope of pregnancy help and prenatal care. 

A program called Work Wheels assists women with car repairs or purchases so that they can safely commute to and from a job, said the JPII Center. 

This program was developed in partnership with a local Catholic parish’s men’s ministry. 

“All JPII clients who have received help from Work Wheels are now working and reclaiming control of their life and family,” said the JPII Center. 

JPII also has programs to assist with paying rent and utilities. 

“All of our services and programs are meant to provide hope for the future. [It’s] a helping hand — not just a handout,” said the JPII Center. 

Since mid-2022, 51 of the 54 women who have received assistance with rent no longer need the help and “are on the path to financial sustainability.” 

people in front of car holding signs for "Work Wheels" and "JPII Center"

Work Wheels, one of the programs offered at the John Paul II Life Center, assists women with finding a safe car so they can commute to and from work. (John Paul II Life Center)

The JPII Center’s expansion comes at a time when its services have been in increasingly higher demand. In 2024, the JPII Center is on track to serve triple the number of women it served in 2021. 

“The demand for services has greatly increased since 2021. This is due in part to the Dobbs decision, but primarily to inflation and job insecurity, as well as immigration and population growth in Central Texas,” Sandra Rodriquez, JPII’s director of client services, told Fox News Digital. 

The women who come to the JPII Center are “abortion vulnerable” — and many have already had one or more abortions in the past. They often believe that their circumstances dictate abortion is their only option. 

“Their ‘crisis’ is not the child, but the circumstances around their pregnancy; once they know we have resources available to help them, many feel empowered to choose life,” JPII Center client advocate Gloria Lizcano told Fox News Digital. 

baby smiling

Anyone who is pregnant or has a child under the age of three can receive assistance from the John Paul II Life Center. (John Paul II Life Center)

As some states move to restrict abortion access, the JPII Center hopes that its model of holistic care for pregnant women in need can be replicated across the country. 

The center works with other centers in other states to help provide a framework. 

“Every woman deserves access to these services, which are essential to making an informed decision. Education is our national impact,” said the JPII Center. “Our programs empower the next generation with knowledge and compassion for human life and can be used to engage communities throughout the country.”

“We strongly believe the JPII can be the catalyst to encourage other states to take notice and provide women with practical solutions and life-affirming choices,” the center added. 

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