Attack a pregnancy center – Why?

If you work in a pregnancy resource center (PRC) the way that I do, this past month has been a little disturbing.  Our friends at CompassCare in Buffalo were firebombed recently, and our new friends at Hope Pregnancy Center on Broad Street in Philadelphia were vandalized.  What I am left wondering is – “Why?” After all, PRC’s are typically not political.  A pregnancy center provides medical (if they are a medicalized PRC) and educational services to assist a woman and her partner, if desired, in making a pregnancy decision; material services and educational services to expand a woman’s capacity and that of her partner to meet the challenges of life; and medical and other agency referrals to connect a woman and her partner with the resources available in the community.  Most importantly, a PRC provides non-judgmental care in the form of a compassionate advocate, ready to listen and help a woman and her family build a support system with tools to assist her in making decisions for her future as well as the present.

When people discuss the abortion issue, they often state that the pro-life community only cares about babies until they are born.  I even hear that from good friends and fellow Christians who know the work that I do.  The reality is that the pro-life community supports pregnancy centers all across the country, and those PRC’s provide ongoing support, material services and hope.  PRC’s like Lifeline of Berks County help women who are making a pregnancy decision turn fear into confidence through education and, in some centers, medical services –for FREE.  How do they do that?  The community funds them.  PRC’s were created for the purpose of assisting women and their families.  PRC’s are typically NOT involved in political campaigns and lobbying, although politicians may attend our events.  We serve EVERYONE, and we welcome all peaceful persons to our center for a tour to see what we do.  Damaging a pregnancy center does nothing to sway political or judicial figures.

How does a PRC assist a woman and her partner in making a pregnancy decision?  Lifeline and sister centers offer the truth in love and ongoing support that does not coerce.  PRC’s offer their services for FREE.  FREE pregnancy tests, FREE ultrasound confirmation of pregnancy, and FREE STI testing to protect a woman’s future reproductive health.  We offer literature on fetal development, rooted in current scientific understanding, so a woman can make an educated decision.  We ask a woman what she wants and why.  We help her sort out all of her feelings and determine which are facts and which are fears.  Then we address her actual concerns with information about community resources, our resources, and life-affirming (for the mother) options.  We explain the type of abortion procedure that would be available to her and what the actual procedure would be like, including risks and side effects.  A PRC offers support to fathers in taking responsibility for their children and supporting their mothers.  Clients that come to a PRC often choose LIFE for their babies and themselves.  PRC’s have no financial incentive to coerce a woman into making a particular decision.

A PRC is an important connection to medical care and community resources.  Whatever a woman chooses to do, she will need medical care to ensure that her future reproductive health is protected.  A PRC provides sexual risk assessments to help a woman and her partner see the link between behavior and outcome so they can make choices that promote their physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.  Lifeline seamlessly connects women with local healthcare providers to provide ongoing medical care.  PRC’s also connect a woman and her family to community agencies to build a support system.

A woman who chooses to take advantage of everything that a PRC offers will typically find herself closer to her future goals, even if it takes a circuitous route to get there.  Being a role model for a child is often a catalyst for a woman.  With a lot of hard work, a single woman with a child graduated from Harvard Law School.  Pregnant women have trained for and competed in the Olympics.  A recent Washington Post article tells the story of a young woman who found herself facing an unplanned pregnancy with twins in Texas two days before the recent Heartbeat Law went into effect, leaving the mother without the option to abort.  The piece is intended to promote the horrors of living in a state with an anti-abortion law.  However, the article ends with a father who was under-employed now getting his life together in the military, the young couple marrying and raising the twins as a family, and a woman who admittedly had to put her dreams on hold loving those children she lovingly mothers.  However, dreams put on hold can be achieved.  Look at Maya Angelou who took odd jobs to support herself and her son but eventually became a civil rights activist, and Presidential Medal of Freedom winning poet.

A PRC is there to help a woman start that journey.  A PRC is there to ensure that no woman feels pressured to have an abortion.  A PRC is there to help women build the networks they need to overcome and thrive.  A PRC is no threat to anyone, except perhaps a victim culture that believes the lie that women and men have no agency and God cares nothing for the lives of individuals.  God is present every day in the pregnancy center, loving women and their families and encouraging an abundant life.  Given all that PRC’s do, why would they be targets?