In the past few months, pregnancy center leaders have had a bumpy ride in their missional journey. For many in our country, the Dobbs leak followed by the official Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade catapulted the debate over abortion into the forefront.
On one side, many were celebrating the end of the federal sanctioning of the deaths of millions of unique, irreplaceable lives since Roe v. Wade's adoption in 1973. Others' reactions to the decision were dominated by fear and anger, decrying the loss of a "right" to abortion, support for women and, ironically, fear of the loss of life due to changing state laws.
But this was nothing new to the many passionate, faithful leaders of Care Net's affiliated pregnancy centers and many other advocates for life. For decades, their mission (and ours) has been to serve women, men, and families with a Pro Abundant Life philosophy. It's never been just about the baby – though each is a precious gift from God. It's never been just about the woman – though we seek to empower her through vital, compassionate care and supportive services. It's not just about the man – though we know he plays a pivotal role in not only supporting the woman in her pregnancy decision, but also through empowering the family unit going forward.
Care Net-affiliated pregnancy centers provide a holistic approach to assisting families navigating difficult pregnancy decisions. Through listening to each individual client's unique story and caring for them with compassion, the fear that often dominates the beginning of that crisis dissipates, replaced by hope! We recognize the critical role of each piece of the family – uplifting the lives of each woman, man, and baby who comes through the doors of our centers. Contrary to popular belief, nothing could be more important to our mission than the holistic valuing of each woman, each man, and each child.
To that end, post-Roe, the work of pregnancy centers has not slowed down. How encouraging – and daunting, all at once – to witness so many pregnancy center leaders across the nation stand with renewed resolve after the Supreme Court decision, knowing that their help is needed now more than ever.
The Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade did not eliminate abortion. It also didn't eliminate unplanned pregnancies. In our new national patchwork of varied abortion laws, pregnancy centers face new, unique challenges in meeting clients in need. In states where abortion is less accessible post-Roe, our affiliated centers are answering the call for increased support and care for fearful clients who feel limited by their pregnancy options, empowering them with resources and encouragement. On the other hand, centers in states where abortion is protected – and thus locations that have become "abortion tourism" destinations – have continued their vital work with more fervor and urgency than ever, ensuring that families in their communities, as well as those traveling from out of state, receive accurate, well-rounded information on all their pregnancy options, as well as medical care like ultrasound that reveal the beauty of life in the womb.
In fact, in the past 14 years, Care Net-affiliated pregnancy centers alone have had an incredible impact in providing supportive services to their communities, including*:
- More than 1.5 million free ultrasound scans
- More than 1.4 million clients received parenting support and education
- More than 2.1 million people received material resources
- More than 5 million free pregnancy tests
However, with the overturning of Roe has also come a surge in anti-pregnancy center rhetoric. Failing to see the reality of how pregnancy centers provide vital services to families in need, many pro-choice activists have instead focused on one element of pregnancy center work – the fact that pregnancy centers do not offer or refer for abortion. Because of negative attitudes toward this, as well as the faith-based origin of most pregnancy centers, many activists have taken up attacks against pregnancy centers as a misguided outlet for their fear and anger post-Roe.
In the days and weeks following the Dobbs leak, as well as the announcement of the final decision, pregnancy centers across the nation have faced a slew of attacks, both physical and digital. The current count of physical vandalism of pregnancy centers and associated organizations now totals over 60 separate locations, according to Catholic Vote. This includes nearly 20 Care Net-affiliated centers. Instead of allowing these centers to provide vital services such as ultrasound and STI testing, or to support families with diapers, wipes, parenting classes, and so much more, rageful groups like Jane's Revenge have taken to spray painting, breaking windows, and firebombing the very buildings that provide a haven for so many facing unplanned pregnancies.
In addition to these tragic physical attacks, many pregnancy centers have also faced backlash online in the form of fake negative reviews, spammed online appointments, troll commenters, and more. One pro-abortion group even went so far as to create a bot computer program that when run on an activist's computer will churn out hundreds of fake online reviews denigrating pregnancy centers on the activist's behalf... never mind that the reviewer has no personal experience with the center whatsoever and as such violates every reviewing platform's policies. The influx of fake reviews has been so intense that Google temporarily shut down the reviewing functionality on all pregnancy center (and abortion clinic) listings.
Amidst all of this hardship, pregnancy center leaders have not lost hope. If anything, it has strengthened the resolve of so many that the work they are doing to uplift the lives of families in their communities matters. Despite so much public backlash in the media, the truth has peeked through when pregnancy center leaders share their stories!
Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg, VA was one of the many Care Net affiliates affected by physical vandalism following the Supreme Court decision. While the team at Blue Ridge had every reason to feel discouraged or fearful, instead they came back with renewed purpose. Hear Blue Ridge's Executive Director Susan Campbell share her center's story in this video presented by the Daily Signal.
ABC Nightline also covered the services and long-term supportive care of Pregnancy Center of the Coastal Bend in Corpus Christi, TX, interviewing their director Jana Pinson and several clients. The truth of the vitally important care that centers like these provide is evident in both the hearts of the directors interviewed in these accounts as well as the personal testimonies of real-life clients.
So what can you do to help strengthen Care Net's network of affiliated pregnancy centers, at a time when there are challenges from all sides to their life-affirming, uplifting mission? First and foremost, we invite you to cover these centers and their faithful staff and volunteers in prayer. Pray over their physical safety and online security, and especially for clients to not be discouraged to come in for help amongst all the noise. Pray for rejuvenation and rest for staff in this hard season.
Another way you can make an impact for pregnancy centers in this season is through supporting your local center – through your financial giving, volunteering your time, donating baby items, and whatever else would be most helpful to the center in your area. We encourage you to find your nearest center today to invest in life-affirming work happening right in your own backyard!
If you'd like more intercessory opportunities to partner with us, please join our text group by texting the word PRAY to 703-263-8181! The system will ask you for your first name, last name, and email address. You'll get up to four requests from us each week with critical prayer requests from our Pregnancy Decision Line support hotline and other aspects of the ministry.
*Statistics come from internal data collection and the 2008 - 2021 Annual Statistics from Care Net affiliated pregnancy centers.