“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”Deuteronomy 30:19
As with many significant ventures, First Coast Women’s Services began out of the experiences of one family. In 1992 Lauren Ashauer, a teen in Jacksonville, FL, found herself in an unplanned pregnancy with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. After confiding in her parents, they chose to be supportive and helped her through this difficult time as she carried her child to term. She gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Charity and placed her in adoption.
As her mother shared in this experience with her, she realized that Jacksonville did not have adequate services or ministry care for girls like Lauren. Sara Ashauer wanted to change that. The Ashauers assembled a small group of individuals and churches to consider starting a Crisis Pregnancy Center in this area. They held a successful fundraising banquet with the help of Congressman Henry Hyde in 1993 and opened the first center to clients in 1994. Since that time, four other centers have opened in Jacksonville Beach, Baker County, Northside Center, and Clay County.
The original center in the Mandarin area began offering sonography in 1997, and each subsequent center has opened with those services available. An Abortion Healing Ministry was determined to be vital to so many hurt by abortion and began early in the ministry.
“Florida’s First Coast Memorial for the Unborn,” where women could place plaques to memorialize children lost to abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth, was established in 2002. First Coast Women’s Services supports ministries in multiple countries.
Because the men in the lives of our clients have a tremendous influence on the decision to carry or abort, we began a Men’s Ministry in 2006. In 2013, we launched a mobile pregnancy center that travels to several locations in urban and under-served communities of Northeast Florida.