Angelica Vecchiato:

The Haldimand Pregnancy Care and Family Centre, located in Dunnville, Ont., south of Hamilton, has been helping women with their pregnancy and maternal care needs for 18 years. 

The 22,000 square foot facility, formerly a school building repurposed as a pregnancy care centre, wasn’t always located on Adler Street West. Carol Butler, director of the Haldimand facility, avows that the establishment hails from humble roots.

“When I first started, I didn’t even have a phone. We started in a small room, just 371 square feet. However, through God’s grace, we came here, to the school, eight years ago,” said Butler, originally from Sterling, Scotland.

The centre offers many programs varying from parenting classes, moms’ programs to post-abortion and miscarriage healing. Training is available fathers and counselling for post-abortive men. The Dunnville centre also has a satellite location in Caledonia, which offers similar services. 

The facility operates with 10 paid staff and about 15 to 20 volunteers with a budget of around $400,000, which covers employee salaries, rent, and the programming expenses. The Haldimand Centre is not government funded. The budget money comes from fundraisers and donations.  

Per weekly average, Butler estimates around 50 people visit the facility, not simply for the programs offered, but also for the material resources, such as baby formula, diapers and baby clothes, readily available to mothers or fathers in-need.

According to Butler, abortion-minded women seek out the pregnancy-terminating procedure for varied reasons, some of which include spousal pressure, financial hardship, and broken familial relationships. These women often come to the centre, seeking information and counseling in difficult situations. 

Regardless of a woman’s background, situation or needs, the facility’s messaging is premised around love and care.  “We are here to love and help the mother. Knowing that you’re not alone is one of the biggest things,” said Butler. “For abortion-minded women, we ask them, ‘why do they think abortion is good?’ We encourage them to stop and think about the choice that they will be making. Do they have enough info to make an informed decision?”

At the facility, women are welcome to sit down, have tea and discuss their troubles in a non-judgmental environment. An emphasis is placed on the idea that there is no need to rush to make a decision about their pregnancy. Emotional and material support abound at the clinic.

Butler, also a trained doula, believes the work at the Haldimand centre is divinely-ordained. “God had called me to this ministry to care for people in our community.”