Pro-life supporters gathered Jan. 29 to celebrate the grand opening of the first pregnancy center in Washington Parish, Louisiana.
The Southeast Louisiana Pregnancy Center for Women and Children, located at 502 Ave. F in Bogalusa, will be open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., though the hours of operation may increase in April.
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As the center grows, it will offer pregnancy decision coaching by trained advocates, free pregnancy tests, information about pregnancy options, maternity and other physical resources and post-decision support including parenting education. The center will also minister to women who make the wrong decision by providing post-abortive healing assistance as a way to show them the love of Christ.
One facility’s potential impact
Center Executive Director Clelie Dugan expressed excitement about how the facility will lead to many saved lives in the area.
“It is an honor to be chosen to make the dream of this mission a reality,” Dugan told the Baptist Message. “With God’s help and guidance, we will serve the pregnant women and children of Washington parish and southeast Louisiana.”
Dugan has 34 years of experience as a registered nurse and has a Ph.D. in nursing education and administration from William Carey University. Patrick Magee, pregnancy center board member and pastor of Lees Creek Baptist Church, Bogalusa, said Dugan was unanimously approved after an extensive search.
“We are incredibly grateful to have Mrs. Dugan as the pregnancy center’s first executive director. She has already proven to have the qualities, the experience, the compassion and a closeness Lord Jesus, that is needed to accomplish this magnificent task. We are thankful to the Lord for the things that have been accomplished already, and for the things we know, will be accomplished in the future with the Lord’s help.”
Sen. Beth Mizell, also member of the pregnancy center board and First Baptist Church Franklinton, expressed excitement about how the center will impact so many women and their children.
“The opening of the center in an area with so few resources for women is a huge step toward showing our value for life,” she said. “Louisiana has consistently been at the bottom of every ranking for women and children while our votes show that we value protecting these lives. This center brings that commitment to life and it will be a game-changer for the well being of women and the babies who get support for their new life there.”
Magee, a compassion missionary with the Baptist Associations of Southeast Louisiana, called the opening of the center a dream come true. He started praying 2012 for the establishment of a pregnancy care center in Washington Parish but 10 years passed which left Magee wondering if God had closed the door on the idea.
However, in March 2021, the Northlake Crisis Pregnancy Center in Covington learned of Magee’s vision and pledged their support to help make the pregnancy center a reality.
Churches, business leaders and other pro-life advocates in the area also learned of the idea and began contributing money, including $20,000, collectively, through a baby bottle fundraising campaign. By July 2022, a 15-person board of trustees formed of mostly Louisiana Baptist members.
Nine months later, the board voted to buy the property and structure and on Aug. 29, 2023, Northlake Crisis Pregnancy Center paid off the building.
Magee said he is amazed at how God has orchestrated the formation of the pregnancy center.
“The Lord continues to put people together to make this pregnancy center happen,” Magee said. “One of the biggest testimonies in all is this has been the church of Jesus Christ across denominational lines has come together for the sole purpose of helping open a center that will save babies’ lives and minister to many women.”