A Dubuque clinic that offers free counseling for unplanned pregnancies will open a Platteville facility next week.
Clarity Clinic will officially open at 185 E. Pine St. Monday.
Clarity Clinic describes itself as “providing women and men no-cost, truthful information so they can make informed decisions with confidence” about an unplanned pregnancy.
“We feel that the most valuable thing we can do for a woman who’s fearful — or a guy — is to help them make the most informed decision possible,” said Kris Nauman, the clinic’s director since 2008. “We can’t make their choice for them; we’re only here to support them. I tell a girl you have a hard decision to make, and whatever decision you’ll make you’ll live with the rest of your life.”
The clinic’s services include pregnancy tests, ultrasound exams, consultation on pregnancy options, “Personalized Solutions Assessments” with “community referrals and helpful information.”
“We feel when we get clients in here, our jobs is to help them, support them, and make sure that if they’re a student they keep going and don’t give up their goals and dreams,” said Nauman. “Sometimes they just have to know someone cares.”
The clinic is presently in the ground floor, but Nauman plans to conduct classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and baby care on the top floor of the building.
“We’re hoping to get some financial education programs going for kids who go to term,” she said. “We’re trying to give them confidential information that’s truthful, because who else can they talk to about that?”
The clinic also offers post-abortion counseling. Nauman said one in three women have had an abortion by age 40.
Clarity Clinic also gives presentations in Tri-State high schools and middle schools.
“We do a message of abstinence and traditional marriage,” said Nauman, who added the presentations cover such topics as “sexting, date rape, drugs — everything you can imagine we talk about.
“We will market to an hour radius of Platteville and hopefully serve in schools as we are invited in.”
In 2010, according to the Wisconsin Medical Society, about 71 out of 2,000 teenagers ages 15 to 19 gave birth. That rate of 35.5 per 1,000 represents a 20 percent decline in teen pregnancies since 2000.
Grant County in 2010 had the 17th lowest pregnancy rate in the state, with 408 teen births, a rate of 18.9 per 1,000. Lafayette County ranked 23rd lowest, with 126 teen births, a rate of 20.7 per 1,000.
Nauman said half of all pregnancies are to single-parent families.
“What I’m finding is there are so many single-parent families, and they’re working their tail off to stay above water, and with peer pressure sometimes you make a bad choice,” said Nauman. “If we’re meeting with a girl and she’s 16 and wants to carry the baby to term, that’s her choice, but we as a community have to support her and help her make her goals. And with a guy it’s the same thing.”
Despite relatively low numbers compared to the rest of the state, Nauman said the number of people — women and men — her clinic serves, including from Grant County, has tripled since she began in 2008.
“With the number of teenagers and college students in Southwest Wisconsin, we’re hoping to double that number in time,” she said. “We were seeing some students from Platteville and beyond, and we knew the travel distance was a hardship for some.”
The clinic had 325 client appointments and 215 positive pregnancy tests in 2013.
“You can guess that up to 80 percent of them came in abortion-minded,” said Nauman. “We seen that women who see a heartbeat and that there’s limbs developing can change their mind — that it’s not a lump of tissue.
“We want abortion-minded women to come to us. Our mission is to serve those who really don’t know what they want to do.”
Clarity Clinic began as the Tri-State Pregnancy Center in 1994. It added medical services, including limited ultrasound and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and changed its name to Clarity Clinic in 2006. It is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and receives no government funds.
“We were basically doing pregnancy tests, options, counseling, and we had a baby boutique for those girls who chose to carry to term,” said Nauman. With ultrasound, “we only do early, and we only look for three things — whether it’s inside the uterus, cardiac activity, and gestational age — we can see how far along they are.”
The clinic will have five to seven employees. The clinic uses interns from Clarke University in Dubuque, and has four rotating doctors and five nurses, all but one of whom have some obstetrics training.
Clarity Clinic is part of Care Net, a national group of 1,200 crisis pregnancy organizations.