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July 30, 2017

Medical clinic helping women choose life to open in Springfield

REGIONAL
Story and photos by Carolee McGrath

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Aubrey Bushe poses with her friend Catherine Tsimogiannis outside Clearway Clinic in Worcester. Bushe is due with her first baby in October.

WORCESTER – Having a baby wasn’t exactly what 25-year-old Aubrey Bushe had in her plans. She said she and her boyfriend weren’t prepared financially and were doing their best to avoid a pregnancy.

“I was on the birth control pill. I took a pregnancy test. It read positive. I was honestly freaking out,” said Bushe.

So she tried to make an appointment at the Planned Parenthood in Worcester. She said she was leaning towards having an abortion, but hadn’t made up her mind.

“I couldn’t make an appointment at Planned Parenthood unless I was to schedule an abortion appointment,” she recalled. So she and a friend headed to another medical clinic in the city in order to confirm her pregnancy. Quite by accident she ended up at Clearway Clinic.

“I took the wrong turn. The sign said pregnancy help, so we walked in,” said Bushe.

“They were very welcoming, non-judgmental. I told them I was thinking about needing an abortion. They gave me an ultrasound. As soon as I saw the heartbeat, it changed everything,” she added.

Clearway Clinic in Worcester is a non-profit state licensed medical clinic specializing in pregnancy diagnosis and medical confirmation. The pregnancy center has been helping women and men choose life since 2000. In 2013, they switched from a more traditional pro-life pregnancy resource center to a medical model, offering medical diagnosis, pregnancy testing, STD testing and ultrasounds.

A second Clearway Clinic is slated to open at 1259 Columbus Avenue in Springfield next year.

“Our goal is to help them choose life. They don’t always. We can’t force them. Our model is Jesus. We give truth in love,” said Kelly Wilcox the executive director.

Alexis Turley poses for a picture with baby Maxx and staff from Clearway Clinic.

The Worcester clinic has three registered nurses on staff and one nurse manager. All are trained and certified in limited obstetrical ultrasound. Three doctors from the Worcester area also volunteer their time at the clinic, which is funded entirely by more than 1000 donors from the church community. Clearway Clinic does not take taxpayer funding or medical insurance and all services are free.

“I think about our ministry from a consumer’s standpoint. She’s pregnant. She didn’t plan it. She’s not happy about it. She may or may not know what she wants to do,” said Wilcox.

“She knows what an obstetrician does. They deliver babies. She knows what an adoption agency does. They facilitate adoptions. She knows what an abortion clinic does. They do abortions. She knows each of those organizations have a bias. She is looking for a place where she is undecided, to answer her questions. That’s what Clearway is here for,” Wilcox continued.

Over the last year, Wilcox has been meeting with church leaders in the Springfield area of all denominations, including Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski. She said the support of the local Christian community is the reason Clearway will be opening in Springfield.

“Bishop Rozanski invited me to his leadership meeting where there were 18 churches there. It has been a joyous experience for me,” said Wilcox.

“We are a Christian ministry. We don’t get any support from the government. If the people who love God don’t support this ministry, there is no ministry,” she added.

Medical model pregnancy clinics have proven to be more effective in helping women choose life across the country, said Wilcox, offering most of the same services as Planned Parenthood, aside from birth control and abortion services.

Clearway Clinic also offers post-abortive counseling as well. Registered nurse Kim Wagner performs the ultrasounds at Clearway.

“Some of them (women) are disappointed that they don’t see a blob of tissue. That they actually see a baby,” explained Wagner.

“Just recently I had a women who was undecided until she saw the ultrasound and said, ‘I guess I better call my OB,’” she said.

Alexis Turley turned to Clearway Clinic in Worcester when she was pregnant with her son Maxx.

“Places like this, Clearway, they make you feel better like it’s going to be okay, you can get through this,” said Turley who was also surprised to find out she was expecting.

She said now she and her husband, are overjoyed.

“He’s changed my life so much. Everybody says you don’t know love until you have a baby. It changes the way I think about everything,” said Turley.

Aubrey Bushe, who has the support of her baby’s father, can’t wait to experience what Turley described. Bushe said she’s never been religious, but wonders what led her to Clearway Clinic.

“Whatever it was, it was an extreme blessing that we found this place. Whether it was God intervening to say keep your baby, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me,” said Bushe, who is due in October.

For more information, log on to clearwayclinic.com  

For a video version of this story, tune into an upcoming edition of “Real to Reel” the Diocese of Springfield’s weekly television news magazine that airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22 NEWS