Kimberly Speirs is the the executive director of The John Paul II Life Center, which strives to be the “pro-life answer to Planned Parenthood” and offer a true continuum of care for mothers and babies facing unexpected pregnancies. The JPII Life Center was founded by Tim Von Dohlen in October of 2010.
“The John Paul II Life Center has a three-fold mission,” Kim explained to me. First is to provide pro-life health care to women. “The Vitae Clinic provides women with holistic Ob/Gyn medical care that adheres to the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) of the Catholic Church. NaPro TECHNOLOGY is the science behind the care we provide.” The second part of the mission is rooted in pro-life outreach and offering 3D/4D sonograms to women facing unexpected pregnancies. Last, the JPII Life Center offers education about chaste living, natural family planning, religious freedom, and more to women they serve.
The Vitae Clinic provides full-service obstetrics for women from pre-conception to prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care. In addition, Vitae offers miscarriage prevention services, infertility treatments, and high-risk pregnancy care, and is equipped with 3D/4D ultrasound technology. They deliver a natural and holistic approach to treating women with gynecological problems such as premenstrual syndrome, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, hormonal problems, and ovarian cysts.
“Many women think there is no other choice to help them maintain regular cycles outside of the birth control pill,” Kim said. “In reality, there are many natural solutions which don’t ‘bandaid’ the problem, but instead aim to identify any problems that may exist and correct those problems. We believe that once a woman’s body works the way it’s supposed to, the woman is more attuned to her cycles and is able to control her fertility much more effectively.”
About thirty percent of the Vitae Clinic’s patients are on Medicaid, most of whom are in crisis pregnancy situations. “Most of our patients are private and insurance payers, but because we adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church, we feel strongly about providing care to women who are unable to pay traditionally,” Kim explained.
“About a third of our crisis pregnancy clients learn about us through sidewalk counselors in front of abortion facilities,” Kim said, stressing the importance of ministering to abortion-minded women on the sidewalks. “Most of these mothers do not want to have abortions, but they either don’t think there’s a baby yet or they’re being coerced into that decision. It’s beautiful to be present when they realize there is indeed a baby and that there are multiple resources available to help them and their babies. Having them leave with a smile on their face, and a sense of hope for their future is a true blessing.”
I asked Kim if she could share an inspirational story from working at the JPII Center.
“A few months ago, a woman visited us who was post-abortive, unemployed, abused, and homeless. She believed she was good for nothing since that’s what she’d been told her whole life. She would hardly make eye contact, was angry at the world, and didn’t see any good in her life – only ugliness. We talked for about an hour and then had a 3D/4D sonogram. When she stepped out of the sonogram center, she ran up to me with tears in her eyes and a big bear hug! She was about eight weeks pregnant and was filled with hope for her baby. She finally had someone to love, unconditionally.”
Financial support is the greatest need of the new pro-life center. “New medical practices typically reach ‘break even’ within 3-5 years and they employ profitable services such as sterilization, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and contraception,” Kim said. “Since Vitae adheres to the Catholic faith’s Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs), we do not offer those services. Also, since most of the women we help through crisis pregnancies do not have traditional insurance, we accept a higher percentage of Medicaid. Our doors have been opened for less than two years but our operating deficit still exceeds $6,500 per month.” Make a donation to the John Paul II Life Center to help them continue their mission.
Although the JPII Life Center only operates in the Austin area, Kim says that the center has been approached by community leaders in ten other metropolitan areas, inquiring as to how they can open organizations like the JPII Center in their markets.
If doctors want to begin their own practice of holistic, natural reproductive health care, Kim recommends “reaching out to Dr. Jeremy Kalamarides, Dr. Tom Hilgers or other NaProTECHNOLOGY physicians.”
In closing, Kim explained how the staff of the JPII Life Center “are so thankful to God for giving our founder, Tim Von Dohlen, the vision of such an organization. We appreciate our many supporters who make this vision a reality through their generous gifts. We are grateful to our volunteers who assist with just about everything from day to day work, events, and assisting women in crisis. And we are indebted to the many other pro-life organizations we work with to provide hope, compassion and care to our patients and to mothers/babies in crisis pregnancies.”