Local News

Orchard House Hopes To Offer Help For Teen Mothers

Posted July 22, 2002

— Health experts say about half of teen pregnancies end in abortion often because the women do not get the support they need, but a new program in Wake County hopes to change that.

Sheri Moritz hopes to open

The Orchard House

, a place where girls with unplanned pregnancies, ages 13-26, can live and be taken care of. She said it is a place she could have used when she was 19 and pregnant.

"I ended up having an abortion because I thought it was my only alternative. I didn't know there were any homes to go to. My fears and concerns were I wouldn't be able to provide even through the maternity for the baby. That I wouldn't be able to provide a home for us to be in," she said.

Moritz also hopes to prevent the tragic death of newborns like the case of 19-year-old

Sophia Whitley

, who police say, kept her pregnancy a secret and then murdered her baby.

"It doesn't always happen to a runaway. It can be a nice Christian family who's got a pregnant teen in their house and they need somewhere where she can go and go on vacation," she said.

The Orchard House will offer free support, from medical insurance to counseling and help with adoption services or parenting classes.

"I just want to make sure they know there's somebody out there," Moritz said.

Moritz said she hopes to open the Orchard House in January 2003. She would eventually like to expand it to help girls who are abused, suicidal, have eating disorders or addictions. The Orchard House is privately funded. Right now, a fund-raising effort is underway.

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