Winter 2020 Newsletter
“The enemy of truth is blind acceptance.” ~Matthew Arnold
Under the guise of choice, women are being “freed” to pursue an abortion without receiving all of the information. I believe that the enemy has convinced society that we deprive a mother of her rights when we require her to understand the significance of her decision. In actuality, her choice isn’t limited at all with information, but rather empowered by it. At ComfortCare Women’s Health, we stand by our approach to offering full education to our patients.
In 2005, when ComfortCare became medical, we took a significant step forward in the relevant education we could offer someone with an unexpected pregnancy. This education includes medical information about fetal development, discussion of procedures and risks, and critical insight gained from the provision of our ultrasound services. In concert with the counseling services, this knowledge allows ComfortCare to tailor the appointment specifically to our patient’s needs. Please read through this newsletter to fully understand what it means for your local pregnancy center to be a medical clinic – how that better equips us to meet her needs and how that empowers her to make a decision that is grounded in truth and love.
Educate. Equip. Empower.
President & CEO
The power of an ultrasound
When she scheduled an appointment to see us, she had a baby less than a year old with her. Now, she was facing another unplanned pregnancy. The difference was, she knew what it was like to be a mother and all the work that it would require. She was young and in college, pursuing a medical career while taking care of her young baby in between homework every evening. This potential pregnancy was bad timing, to say the least.
She was a woman of faith; she knew Jesus and had a relationship with Him. Yet, she still struggled with the decision between abortion and parenting because she knew real life. She knew busyness and exhaustion. She just wasn’t sure if she could take on one more thing. One more responsibility.
She decided to have an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed the life growing inside her and that gave her courage. She always had courage; she just didn’t realize it until that moment. Seeing her baby on the ultrasound screen revealed to her that this new life was precious and was in need of protection. Somehow, she could do this. And she did. She chose life amidst all the struggles she would face now and in the future. She was strong and her faith grew. Why? Because ultrasound showcased the sacredness of life and allowed her courage to flourish to a new level that surprised even her. Praise be to God!
Undeniably, the answer is YES. The requirement to be considered a medical clinic is: A facility that provides medical services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physician. Such medical services are defined as “services that are diagnostic in nature.” *
With the inclusion of our limited obstetric ultrasound offering in 2005, our pregnancy centers became medical clinics. According to leading medical organizations, such as the American Institute for Ultrasound in Medicine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Radiologists, an ultrasound qualifies as diagnostic if it is provided to confirm the presence of an intrauterine pregnancy and its viability, or the baby’s active heartbeat. This reason constitutes two of the three reasons ComfortCare Women’s Health provides such ultrasounds to our patients. In addition, each of our ultrasounds are provided with direction and supervision from our two medical directors.
Our medical directors are a critical component to the provision of our services, as they also approve each of our medical procedures and practices. We are fortunate to have Dr. Scott Seaton and Dr. Rob Marsh available to ensure the effective practice of the medical services offered to the patients of our communities.
Dr. Marsh is passionate about Family Medicine and working closely with his patients across the Charlottesville-area to help them achieve their optimal health. Dr. Marsh went to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, and completed his doctoral training at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA.
Dr. Scott Seaton has served ComfortCare Women’s Health for almost 15 years as one of our Medical Directors. He serves as physician at UVA Primary Care in Waynesboro. Dr. Seaton completed his doctoral training at Johns Hopkins University, and his residency at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, VA.
When a woman visits us to confirm her pregnancy, it’s a critical opportunity to offer her pertinent medical information, individualized to her particular needs, risks, and concerns. Thus, we provide a free medical consultation, provided by a registered nurse. These consultations include a brief medical history that discusses topics from previous pregnancies and/or abortions, use of birth control, sexual history, and use of any smoking, drugs, or alcohol.
Our medical clinic also provides key services to a woman who is making a pregnancy decision. These services include a pregnancy test, limited obstetric ultrasound, and some initial STI testing. Different than the over the counter pregnancy test you can buy, we offer a lab-certified pregnancy test that is 99% effective. Once we have verified her pregnancy in this manner, we can offer her the ultrasound when she is believed to be at least six to eight weeks along. To make a fully informed decision, these ultrasounds are the most important source of information. The focus of the ultrasound provided at our medical clinic is designed to tell her if the baby is growing within the uterus, if the baby has a heartbeat, and how far along she appears to be in her pregnancy. Any woman should have access to such information for her own medical safety as she considers her pregnancy decision. Each of these ultrasounds are reviewed and verified by one of our medical directors.
Finally, our medical services include the option to provide STI testing for two bacterial infections, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. These services are exclusively limited to women considering abortion because of the potential complications that come with having such an infection present during an abortion. The presence of these infections increases her risk of contracting pelvic inflammatory disease, a chronic condition, by 25% within four weeks of her abortion.
The resources and education offered to women is based on what we learn through our nurse consultation, pregnancy confirmation, limited obstetric ultrasound, and/or the STI test. We will always ask for our patient’s permission to share education. The education is only given to her upon her acceptance. This information could include education about fetal development, how to maintain a healthy pregnancy, abortion procedures and risks, and communication about STI risks and treatment. We also offer referrals related to local obstetrician offices, substance abuse programs, Medicaid and WIC resources, as well as an initial supply of prenatal vitamins if we have confirmed her pregnancy.
Each piece of information, learned through the offerings listed above, allows our nurses to offer medically relevant education to each patient. We believe that education is powerful. Instead of forcing a pregnancy decision that is fully based on fears and limited information, we believe that the education offered in a nonjudgmental environment frees her to make a pregnancy decision that is based on truth and grounded in love.
“The medical services we offer are many and are customized to fit each patient’s particular needs and circumstances. Your support of this ministry allows us to offer these free services to the women of our community. So Thank You for all you do!”
– Wanda Crosby, VP of Medical Services
*NIFLA (2004). The practice of medicine and medical indications for limited obstetrical ultrasound. Clinic Tips, 1(2). Retrieved from membership.nifla.org/clinictips/clinictips_2004_07.pdf
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