Having worked at Lifeline of Berks County for almost ten years, I am still surprised when confronted with the misconceptions that so many people have about the work that we do. Just recently, I was shocked to hear Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts pledge to shut us all down. She used the word “torture,” in describing the services that she believes harm women. Why is she so afraid of the pregnancy resource center (PRC)?
Pregnancy resource centers serve anyone who needs us regardless of race, ideology, religion, sexual orientation, etc. FACT. However, most pregnancy centers have a religious affiliation that teaches that every human being has dignity and is worth treating with respect because she/he belongs to God. All staff and volunteers at a PRC are trained to love each man, woman, and child (born and unborn) that comes into our centers because they are image bearers of Jesus Christ. Using the timeless knowledge from our Creator, we help women to understand how precious they are and how worthy of love and respect they are. We use timeless principles to model and teach healthy communication skills, how to improve relationships with their families, friends, and partners. We promote and teach skills to make incremental improvements in their current situation that empowers women and their families to have true agency. And even when a woman and her family do not want to learn any of those things, does not want to understand human behavior or sexuality or the beauty of LIFE as we teach it, we LOVE her and never judge her.
Pregnancy centers teach sexual integrity based on Biblical principles from the One who created women and men for each other. We do teach that sex is a gift given by God for the purpose of bringing children into the world and bonding the parents for the lifelong journey of raising, loving, and being a support system for those children. We do that through studies which show us that women who have sex before and outside of marriage have a greater risk of:
- Underage drinking
- Feeling hurt by men
- Lack of respect from partners
- Doing poorly in school
- Not thinking about consequences of actions
- Not feeling worthy of love
- Not having peace
And even when a woman and her partner do not want to learn any of those things, do not want to understand human behavior or sexuality or the beauty of LIFE as we teach it, we LOVE her and never judge her.
PRC’s also provide material services. Some of those services are provided for all clients, regardless of willingness to participate in a program that we offer. Other clients take advantage of the incredible range of topics that we teach like anger management, budgeting, how to buy a car, having a healthy home, finances, finding a job, success at work, nutrition, infant care, first-aid, parenting without violence, parenting without shame, single parenting, co-parenting, milestones, dating and remarriage, fatherhood, healing from abuse, recognizing cycles of abuse, healthy boundaries, and SO MUCH MORE. They earn points for clothing, baby furniture, toiletry items, strollers, entertainment centers and many other things. Lifeline of Berks County also has a program called GRACE that is more intensive to increase a woman’s and her partner’s capacity to face new challenges through addressing the main circumstances that our clients have stated are the cause for their consideration of abortion. That program includes everything already mentioned, plus a substantial gift card for clients to purchase needed items that the client determines. And even when a woman and her partner do not want to learn any of those things, do not want to understand human behavior or sexuality or the beauty of LIFE as we teach it, we LOVE her and never judge her.
Lifeline and PRC’s like ours provide nurse-administered pregnancy tests, ultrasound confirmation of pregnancy, STI testing (we will be offering treatment as well), and information about a woman’s options. Lifeline and PRC’s like it explain the abortion procedure that a woman is eligible for, including the risks, side effects, and potential outcomes. Lifeline does not provide or refer for contraception. Our trained nurses explain the risks associated with each type of contraception to our clients, including the abortifacient ones and those that impact the menstrual cycle so a woman can have an informed conversation with her doctor and assess her own risks based on her individual medical history. Lifeline and PRC’s like it offer abortion recovery programs when women experience sadness and regret from a past abortion. Even when a woman chooses abortion, we welcome her back because we love and never judge her.
Why would Senator Warren be afraid of that?
Many women who come to Lifeline for services find out that they don’t have to choose abortion to meet the goals they have set for themselves. Many others who choose abortion for one pregnancy come back to Lifeline and tell us that their abortion experience was worse than they thought and they never want to make that choice again. Perhaps, what Senator Elizabeth Warren is afraid of, is that women will discover they don’t need abortion, they do need to live lives of purpose, and that women like Senator Warren have been lying about this all along.