An announcement during a pro-life vigil in Bowling Green three years ago sparked an impactful way to educate and support mothers and everyone involved in a crisis pregnancy.

An announcement during a pro-life vigil in Bowling Green three years ago sparked an impactful way to educate and support mothers and everyone involved in a crisis pregnancy.

Father Bill Peckman asked members of the group gathered around the Pike County Courthouse what they were doing personally to address crisis pregnancies and abortions. Later that year, brainstorming led to an informational meeting that drew about 60 or 70 people. Through strong community support and donations, Options for Women has been providing services like free pregnancy tests, first trimester ultrasounds, adoption information, abortion education and referrals for medical help and housing to women in crisis pregnancies for about one-and-a-half years in Bowling Green.

Executive Director Paul Brunner said the faith-based organization is completely supported through donations, noting he felt excited that services continued to expand with new offerings like a budding fatherhood ministry. He said he was happy that coaches, nurses and other staff members have made a positive impact for more than 90 clients throughout Northeast Missouri, but he said he strives to reach more women who need the free services that Options for Women can provide.

“On a personal level, I'm thinking about the ones we don't help. It keeps me motivated, it keeps me pressing ahead,” Brunner said. “I'm happy for the ones we do help, but I feel like there's so many more who need our help.”

He stressed that every client's situation is different, but he said many women contact the center who were physically or sexually abused. Options for Women coaches offer education and support to expectant mothers, helping them choose the best options for them and their baby throughout each stage of the pregnancy. Brunner said 65 percent of all abortions are coerced, according to international pro-life Melissa Ohden.

“It's really a staggering figure,” he said. “Women are really dependent on the support network they have around them. Especially if they're single, it's a crisis for them, so we hope to provide that support network as much as we can to meet that kind of need.”

Brunner emphasized that Options for Women couldn't provide more services and work to help more clients without the level of community support they receive. He said volunteers include women who experienced a miscarriage or still birth and women who previously had an abortion. He said they receive support as they go through the grieving process and they help fellow clients, too.

Brunner said he is always striving to reach more women in the region so they can receive the help they need. He said a similar level of community support in the Troy area could result in a future center in that region — he noted there is a strong need for help in that area. He said that everyone at Options for Women works hard to ensure that mothers are healthy and able to deliver a healthy baby — then help ensure that moms can “get back on her feet” with their child.

To reach Options for Women or learn more about the services they provide, visit www.CallOptionsForWomen.com , call 573-213-5115 or text 573-222-0891.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com