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Catholic Charities West Michigan provides resources to parents before and after birth

Resources include home visits around pregnancy counseling, mental health assistance and healthcare guidance, or material help like clothing, formula and car seats.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs Wade has sparked even more debate about abortion in the US. For parents faced with the difficult choice, a crucial factor in the decision can be what resources are available to assist in raising a child. One organization working to provide those resources is Catholic Charities West Michigan (CCWMI). 

With baby pantry locations in both Muskegon and Grand Rapids, parents can come in once a month to pick up essentials like formula, diapers, clothing, books and more. The pantries are designed to look like a store and give the experience of shopping even though the items on racks and shelves are completely free.

The pantries are just one part of the resources available through CCWMI. Their support stretches to pregnancy testing, or pregnancy counseling for expecting parents. 

"Our first goal is always to make sure they have health insurance, and that they have a prenatal care provider to make sure they’re having a healthy pregnancy." said Stephanie Busch, Pregnancy Support Supervisor with CCWMI. Busch says the first time parents come into a Baby Pantry can often be the springboard that connects them to other services.

In-home visiting services can provide counseling, advice or act as a guide to get assistance with other services outside the scope of CCWMI. 

"Part of our job is to be experts on what the resources are in our community," Busch said. "If someone comes in and they’re struggling with employment, or housing, substance use." 

The organization's website does say the following: "As a Catholic faith-based organization, we do not advise nor assist in pregnancy termination," meaning they will not offer abortion services. If a prospective parent does choose life,  "services are free to any woman who is pregnant and needs assistance during her pregnancy. There are no age or income criteria."

More information about services can be found on their website, which include adoption, counseling, food pantries, senior services and more.

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