Indiana Daily Student

Hannah House offers pregnant women a place to go

The news of a pregnancy can be the joy of one woman, or the crisis of another. In the United States one million teenagers become pregnant each year. Indiana accounts for 12,000 of them. \nAn expectant mother has three options. She can have her baby and choose to be a parent, carry the baby to term and give it up for adoption or terminate her pregnancy. When a teenage girl chooses to have a baby, she might face pressure from her family and friends. \nThe woman might be facing a crisis pregnancy and does not know where to turn for help. Hannah House is the place for answers, hope, love and education for many women who are experiencing crises pregnancies.\nSix years ago the Crises Pregnancy Center of Bloomington saw a need in the community for a maternity home for young women, said Myra Kinser, executive director of Hannah's House. The center conducted a needs assessment survey. The surveys were sent out to various communities to find out the level of need for a maternity home. Kinser said it was important for them to attain the community's support.\n"The results from the needs assessment were overwhelming," Kinser said. "People were very positive, and it gave us the green light."\nIn 1996 the center bought the old William Lowe Bryan house, and started renovating it in 1997. Hannah House opened its doors Aug. 30. Kinser said volunteers did the majority of the renovation on the house. Various businesses and community members in Bloomington donated their time and money to the project. \n"Everyone has dropped their differences to come and work," Kinser said, smiling. "People from all walks of life have walked through this house. This is a choice for women."\nHannah House, 812 N. College Ave, is an old spacious Victorian house, which at one time belonged to IU's President William Bryan Lowe. Kinser said it is named after Hannah from the Bible. \n"Hannah is the story of a mother who couldn't have a child," she said. "After praying to God, she tells him that if she becomes pregnant she will dedicate her child to him."\nHannah House is a Christian Pro-Life organization, but the residents do not need to be Christian to take advantage of the services.\n"People need to see that it's a choice. If she terminates her pregnancy we are still going to be there for her," Kinser said. "We don't use gruesome videos, we educate women about prenatal education."\nTwo young women live in the house, and Kinser said she hopes the house will soon be full. The house can accommodate up to 10 residents. The women who want to live in the house will go through an interview process, but Kinser said it's first-come, first-serve.\n"There are different levels of need, so we look at that," Kinser said. "We look to see if the needs of the girl matches what the house has to offer. If Hannah House is not the right for them, we will find them another place."\nThe residents can live in the house throughout their pregnancy and up to three months after they give birth. Room and board is free, and the only requirement is the residents have to take classes offered by the Crises Pregnancy Center. \n"There are a lot of life classes such as prenatal care, parenting, nutrition and cooking," Kinser said. "We also want the girls to pursue their education ' that's vital."\nKinser said the organization will continue to be in the lives of the women after their stay at Hannah House. There is a two-year case management program if the women still need them.\nHannah House Director Tina Tuley said the goal of the program is for the girls to develop the life skills to support themselves.\n"It's a comprehensive treatment program to meet their physical and emotional needs," she said. \nTuley said education is necessary in crisis pregnancy situations. The center will also be starting an outreach program for children.\n"If we can reach the kids when they are younger, maybe they won't need us when they are older," Tuley said.\nAccording to statistics compiled by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, preliminary data for 1999 shows a 20 percent decline in teen birth rates between 1991 and 1999. But the U.S. teen birth rate remains higher than the rates in other industrialized democracies. \nBill Albert, communications director of the campaign, works closely with the entertainment media.\n"There is a lot of crap and junk in magazines," Albert said. "There is a lot of work to do, but there is a growing recognition amongst writers and editors that sex for teenagers has consequences. It's a long battle but you have to start somewhere." \nAlbert said the reason for decline in teen births is due to less sex and more use of contraceptives. He said many teens are more cautious about casual sex because of the fear of contracting AIDS and other STDs.\nKinser also said he believes teen births are on the decline because sex is a health issue.\n"There are 55 diseases out there, and one of them can kill you," she said. "I think these girls are looking for love in the wrong places. They need nurturing and to know their life can be different. Maybe all they know is someone screaming and belittling them"

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