In recent months, pro-life pregnancy centers around the country have been threatened, vandalized, and even firebombed. They’ve also become the target of smear campaigns by those who profit from abortions. But what are these pregnancy centers? What are the myths being spread about them? And what are the facts?
Read on to find out.
What are pregnancy centers?
Pregnancy centers serve women and families who may need support during their pregnancy or are looking for resources to help with an unexpected pregnancy. These centers offer women life-affirming alternatives and emotional, mental, material, and spiritual support when these women may be feeling alone and hopeless.
What services do pregnancy centers provide?
These pregnancy centers offer a variety of services, including:
- Free or low-cost medical and health assistance such as ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, STD testing and treatment, abortion pill reversal treatment
- Support for parents including parenting, prenatal education classes, job training, and résumé building
- Counseling and mental health services such as post-abortion support and recovery
- Resources and supplies for the mothers to take care of their babies like diapers, clothes, car seats, strollers, transportation, food, and housing
In 2019, pregnancy centers served 1.85 million people and provided:
- 486,213 free ultrasounds
- 731,884 free pregnancy tests
- 160,201 STI/STD tests
- 967,251 free consultations with new clients
- 1,290,079 packs of diapers
- 30,445 new car seats
- 19,249 strollers
- 2,033,513 baby outfits
These pregnancy centers serve women and families across the United States and even globally.
What are the threats to pregnancy centers?
Since Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the Supreme Court decision overruling Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey—was leaked, there have been outrageous attacks and vandalism against pregnancy centers and churches that offer life-affirming support and resources to women.
Even before the Supreme Court overruled Roe and Casey, government officials have attempted to target and silence pro-life pregnancy centers by forcing them to promote abortion or by punishing them for engaging in life-affirming speech.
For example, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Care Net New London against government officials in Connecticut targeting pro-life pregnancy centers. Connecticut passed a law that subjects pregnancy centers to $500 fines if government officials disagree with the pregnancy centers’ speech. And in 2018, ADF won a Supreme Court victory against California after the state tried to force pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs telling women where to obtain an abortion.
After Dobbs, threats to pregnancy centers have only continued.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has threatened to “crack down” on pro-life pregnancy centers, introducing the “Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act” that authorizes targeting pro-life pregnancy centers’ speech. Other pro-abortion members of Congress sent a letter to the CEO of Google, encouraging Google to censor pro-life pregnancy centers. But pregnancy centers and state attorneys general have responded, refuting pro-abortion lies and showing how pregnancy centers help women.
Are pregnancy centers “fake” health clinics?
No. Pregnancy centers offer ultrasounds and pregnancy tests to confirm the women’s pregnancies, and many offer STD testing. But these centers do not pretend to take the place of a woman’s OB-GYN physician. Instead, they offer limited medical services directed at helping women understand their unborn baby and pregnancy. Then, these centers provide holistic services such as counseling, baby supplies, housing, education, employment support, and spiritual hope.
Do pregnancy centers deceive women?
No. Pregnancy centers offer truthful, evidence-based, compassionate care and information to women about their pregnancy, their unborn child, and life-affirming alternatives. These centers clearly explain their mission of serving women through offering ultrasounds and pregnancy support on their websites.
And pregnancy center counselors offer truthful information to the women they serve. In fact, at Care Net affiliated pregnancy centers, 99.19 percent of clients described their overall experience with the pregnancy centers as positive.
Do pregnancy centers intimidate women into choosing to keep their baby?
No. Pregnancy centers offer compassionate, non-judgmental, informed counseling to help women facing unplanned pregnancies consider their options.
These centers are life-affirming and share alternatives to abortion with the women they serve. Most also offer post-abortion care and counseling if the women they serve choose abortion. In fact, pregnancy centers offered post-abortion recovery and support to 21,698 women and men in 2019.
What are some examples of pregnancy centers?
Pregnancy centers operate across the country and around the globe.
Care Net, for example, is an organization with a network of over 1,200 affiliated pregnancy centers that offer services such as free pregnancy tests, information about pregnancy options, post-decision support, consultation with licensed medical professionals, STD testing, and ultrasounds.
Heartbeat International has over 3,000 affiliated pregnancy centers around the world that serve women and connect them with life-affirming support. Heartbeat also operates the Abortion Pill Rescue Network. Women who regret taking the first abortion pill can contact Heartbeat and may be able to save their baby through progesterone treatment. Heartbeat also facilitates the National Maternity Housing Coalition, a group of life-affirming housing efforts that support and connect pregnant women in need to maternity housing options and ministries.
National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, or NIFLA, represents over 1,600 pro-life pregnancy centers in the United States, 1,200 of which are licensed medical clinics. NIFLA helps pro-life pregnancy centers become licensed medical clinics and provides legal resources to organizations that work alongside pregnancy centers and provide services such as adoption, maternity homes, and fatherhood initiatives.
And there are thousands of local pregnancy centers offering evidence-based and compassionate care to women across the United States. A few of these local groups include Caring Solutions, Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center, Abide Women’s Health Services, and Blue Haven Ranch. These faith-based organizations holistically care for the physical needs of pregnant women while giving them hope and gospel-centered community and support.
Caring Solutions is a nationally accredited health-care center based in Central Georgia, and offers women facing unplanned pregnancies medical services, pregnancy education, parenting education, baby items. Caring Solutions also provides housing, employment, financial management, and other practical resources and training.
Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling, post-abortion support, and pregnancy and life coaching classes on nutrition, postpartum care, labor and delivery, infant CPR, breastfeeding, and more. Blue Ridge also offers free supplies for new parents and connects women with community support for young parents and local adoption agencies if the women are interested in adoption.
Abide Women’s Health Services, based in Dallas, offers prenatal and postnatal care, free pregnancy testing, postpartum Doula support, and resources such as baby formula, diapers, menstrual products, and referrals for complimentary chiropractor and massage therapists. Abide also offers childbirth education, lactation support, and ultrasounds.
Blue Haven Ranch in Argyle, Texas, serves pregnant women who are caring for their children alone because of difficult or abusive situations through community support groups, counseling, long-term housing, rental assistance, skill development, and farm therapy.
This post was originally published on the ADF blog on August 16, 2022.