From STI tests to mobile service units, the Care Net Pregnancy Center of Albuquerque has made significant advancements under the leadership of Executive Director Mary LeQuieu.Mary joined the Care Net Pregnancy Center of Albuquerque in 2000 after praying for an opportunity to help women get the facts before making a decision that can have a life-long impact. “This desire stemmed from my own experience of being coerced into aborting my first pregnancy and living with years of grief and loss,” she explained.
The center has recently seen the spotlight with the recent release of a viral video summarizing Live Action’s undercover investigation into the availability of prenatal services through Planned Parenthood. The investigation revealed that 92 out of 97 Planned Parenthood facilities contacted did not offer pre-natal care to patients. Many facilities told women that they only provided abortions and not prenatal medical care -- despite the claims by Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards that this is an essential service they provide.
In the video, an Albuquerque Planned Parenthood staff member refers a client to Care Net. Since Mary’s office is in close proximity, the team at her Albuquerque Care Net center have formed a relationship with staff from Planned Parenthood. Mary clarified that while her center offers a free medical consultation to confirm pregnancy (which Planned Parenthood does not), they refer their clients to other doctors for ongoing prenatal care after their initial medical assessment and ultrasound. Despite differences, Mary says her team enjoys a friendly and respectful relationship with the local Planned Parenthood staff. “We want to be faithful representatives of God’s love and grace,” she said.
The Care Net Pregnancy Center of Albuquerque offers many other services, free pregnancy tests, and pregnancy support and education. They also offer parenting education, community referrals, Bible studies, and support after pregnancy loss. In their several locations, the pregnancy center has biblical counselors to help clients who have suffered through trauma or loss.
While the center has been helping clients for over thirty years, Mary has seen many improvements in the center, especially in the technology available to them. “When I joined back in 2000, we were just starting to offer ultrasounds,” she explained. “Our medical program has grown since that time and we have nurses and sonographers who are able to include consultations and health assessments for our clients.” Additionally, the center provides STI tests for two of the marker STI’s. Thanks to a collaborative arrangement with other local health clinics, the center is able to help those who test positive get both free testing and treatment for other STI’s.
The Albuquerque center also has excellent support and cooperation with the local hospitals and the Lovelace Health System, which operates the only Women’s Hospital in New Mexico. “When patients tell the hospital that they are our clients, Lovelace literally walks with them every step of the way,” Mary explained.
The pregnancy center also offers mobile services for clients in outlying areas. “Several years ago, one of the large churches in our area offered us the use of their converted 38-foot RV for a medical mobile,” Mary said. “That was an intense learning curve.” They also operate a smaller Medical Mobile Unit that is used at health fairs, events, and to support other pregnancy centers.
Mary’s effort and leadership at the Care Net Pregnancy Center of Albuquerque has clearly led to many advancements and ways to interact with her local community. We’re pleased that her center is part of the Care Net family!
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Becca Samelson is the Care Net Center Services intern. She is a junior at Patrick Henry College and will graduate with a degree in journalism in Spring 2018. Her writing has been featured in both The Herald and Founders magazine.