It began in 1971 as a telephone helpline for pregnant women. Word spread and many callers began seeking face-to-face contact for help. With enough support from women willing to help counsel, eventually they decided to take the next step.
The Pregnancy Help Center opened the doors of their facility on Crenshaw Boulevard in Torrance in 1976. “We have been in this building in Torrance for 40 years. It started mainly as a crisis counseling center. It wasn’t a medical clinic,” said Norma Grove of the Pregnancy Help Center.
“Pregnancy tests were self-administered by the clients and the nurse sent them away to a lab for results, and that could take a week,” said Grove. “Our clinic provided this as a free service, which would otherwise have been a costly procedure for a woman.”
The facility became a licensed medical clinic in 1991 and hired a medical director, an OB-GYN. They expanded services, adding breastfeeding education, nutrition education and started doing STD/STI testing and treatment.
A volunteer client advocate counsels pregnant women about their concerns and their state of mind about the pregnancy.
“We provide compassion. A lot of women who come in are scared. There’s tears — they are really fearful about what may happen with their jobs, their boyfriend or husband, their families. There are a lot of areas of concern for a woman at that point,” said Grove.
All offered services are free for clients. They also help clients apply for Medi-Cal and other assistance programs, provide referrals to adoption and housing material needs.
“Whatever their need, whether it be psychological counseling, drug counseling — we have access to referrals,” she said.
The addition of ultrasound in 2013 increased the client base by 80 percent, and it has remained steady ever since. “It has definitely helped us reach more women and have more positive results,” said Grove, stating that four out of five women who have an ultrasound choose life.
The majority of clients served are in in their 20s, single and earning less than $29,000 per year. Although walk-ins are welcome, women are encouraged to make an appointment.
To commemorate 40 years of service to the community, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on April 8. Local Assemblyman David Hadley (District 66) presented a resolution from the state of California, and the Torrance Chamber of Commerce and Torrance City Council presented commemorative plaques.
“We did a lot of work to make ourselves more accessible to women, so we are really blessed we have been able to stay in business for 40 years. We hope to be here 40 years from now,” Grove said. “For the amount of space we have, we do pretty well, but we are definitely in the coming years launching a capital campaign to move to a bigger space.”
The clinic’s annual “Walk for Life,” a 5K walk starting at Veteran’s Park in Redondo Beach, will take place May 21. “It is a way for the pro-life community in the South Bay area to come together,” said Grove. For information about the Walk for Life, to donate or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, visit supportphctorrance.org.
To inquire about services or make an appointment, viist www.phctorrance.org.