Planned Parenthood performed 354,871 abortions last year. During that same time, Care Net pregnancy centers saved more than 60,000 lives. Yet, since the overturning of Roe v Wade, pro-choice forces led by Senator Elizabeth Warren and others have launched an aggressive campaign to shut down or impede pregnancy centers across our nation. Extremists have vandalized and even firebombed centers. These puzzling reactions to the work of pregnancy centers are based on misinformation and outright lies about what pregnancy centers do and how they do it. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, you should want a pregnancy center in your town.
Surely, if you are pro-life, you want them because they provide compassion, hope, and help to young moms and dads, giving them the information they need to make fully informed decisions about their unplanned pregnancies. This compassionate ministry work results in tens of thousands of unborn children being spared from abortion every year. But even if you are pro-choice, your passion for the empowerment of women, the importance of personal choice, and the need to support underserved communities should compel you to support pregnancy centers in your town, too.
Over the last few years, I have heard the same arguments repeated ad nauseam about the deceptiveness of crisis pregnancy centers and why they should be shut down. Senator Warren is only the latest in a long line of activists regurgitating these same tired and disproven points. Their accusation is that there are women who want to get abortions and pregnancy centers deceptively stop them along the way. These centers lure women into their buildings with misleading advertising and signage. So, the pregnancy center has stripped a woman seeking an abortion of her power.
Ironically, it is before a woman walks into a pregnancy center that the deception happens. She is deceived by a culture and a multi-billion dollar abortion industry telling her that the only way she can exercise her power is to end the life of her unborn child. But what really gives a woman power? From the perspective of your local pregnancy center, empowerment is treating her as a whole person—physical, emotional, and spiritual—and giving her all of the information she needs to make a fully informed decision about her pregnancy; not simply telling her that her only and best choice is abortion.
Actually, countless surveys of women who have had abortions suggest that many women felt they “had no choice” when they decided to abort their unborn child. Pregnancy centers help young women know they are not alone in what can be their darkest hour, and that they don’t have to decide out of fear, isolation, or powerlessness, but rather with confidence, surrounded by people who care about them. That is empowering.
Hollywood celebrities, public figures, and most media outlets tell women that after they have an abortion, they will feel empowered and suffer no negative consequences emotionally, physically, or spiritually. The world tells women they will be “ready” when they have more money, more education, better life circumstances—then and only then—they can choose to have a child. But, again, most women walking into abortion clinics do so because they feel like they have no choice.
Abortion clinics don’t offer choices–they offer abortions. Abby Johnson, who worked at Planned Parenthood for almost a decade, said this: “Women came to our clinics (Planned Parenthood) to have abortions because they felt like they were out of choices, because they had no other option, and our job at the clinic was to say–you’re right–you are out of choices. We’re going to sell you an abortion.”
On the other hand, pregnancy centers exist to give complete information for a real choice—and hope. Pregnancy centers talk to women about parenting, adoption, marriage, fatherhood, and family. Centers help them navigate the resources they have available to them in their communities to support them in their choices. If she chooses life, they provide life support. If she chooses abortion, they still tell her they will be there for her as she processes the impact her decision may have on her emotional and spiritual well being. This is real choice.
3. Serving the Underserved
Planned Parenthood spends millions of dollars on marketing and political lobbying but offers very little in terms of support for women and men making pregnancy decisions. A recent analysis showed that they performed 200 abortions for every one adoption referral they conducted.
Care Net pregnancy centers, on the other hand, have provided more than $60 million in free medical, educational, and material services to their communities each year—for at least the last 8 years. Pregnancy centers are connected to the support networks of their communities, providing or referring for the much-needed resources, support, coaching, pregnancy tests, and more before a pregnancy decision is made.
Many centers offer medical services, such as consultations with licensed medical professionals, ultrasounds, and testing for STDs/STIs. And after a pregnancy decision is made, men and women often return to the center for ongoing support, ranging from parenting education to post-abortion recovery, if needed. Moreover, an increasing number of centers are partnering with local churches to connect women and men to the longer-term support that local churches can provide. And finally, these services are provided, free of charge, oftentimes to the most disadvantaged and underserved groups in these communities. Abortion clinics, on the other hand, charge for their most popular service.
Over the last decade, Care Net-affiliated pregnancy centers have earned greater than a 90 percent client satisfaction rating each year, with many years scoring as high as 98 percent. When you listen to the voices of real women and men who are served by pregnancy centers, and not the pro-choice activists who deride them, you will find that pregnancy centers provide real empowerment, real choice, and real service that any community would welcome.