NOTE: This article is one of a series on the “top ten” accomplishments of the pro-life movement over the past 40 years since unborn children were stripped of their legal right to life by the 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings.
One of the most common objections leveled against the pro-life movement is that we “don’t care about women”—that we’re obsessed with fetuses and neither understand nor really care about the plight of women facing untimely pregnancy.
It seems to have passed the notice of these critics that at least half of those involved in the pro-life movement, from grassroots volunteers to national leaders, are themselves women.
But this objection—along with the related criticism that we “don’t care about children once they’re born”—is utterly debunked by the compassionate, generous outreach to women offered by the nation’s pregnancy resource centers.
Pro-life centers outnumber abortion clinics 4-to-1.
First pregnancy help center in North America was opened with the founding of the group Birthright in Canada back in 1968, a year before abortion had been legalized there, to offer help to women facing unplanned pregnancy. Birthright soon went international, including centers in the United States.
There are now at least 3,000 pregnancy resource centers across the country—more than four times the number of abortion clinics. Many of these centers are independent, while others belong to large networks like Care Net and Heartbeat International.
These centers offer compassionate, non-judgmental help to women facing untimely pregnancy—everything from diapers and baby clothes to free medical help and expert advice negotiating social services.
A growing number of pregnancy centers now operate on the “medical model,” offering free ultrasounds and other medical care for women. Most centers are affiliated with pro-life physicians willing to offer free or discounted obstetrical care, and many have nurses on staff.
We know what women are facing—because they tell us.
A woman will often find herself being pressured to get an abortion as soon as she shares news of the pregnancy with someone else. The first question she’s asked is, “What are you going to do about that?”—a question that may appear respectful of the difficult decision the woman is facing, but which implies that it’s her problem and she has to deal with it.
Instead, the counselor at a pregnancy resource center asks a woman, “How do you feel about being pregnant?” For many women, a conversation with a trained counselor at a pregnancy resource center may be the first opportunity they’ve had to speak openly about the pregnancy and their real feelings about abortion.
So, contrary to the stereotypes of pro-lifers being offered by abortion advocates, we in the pro-life movement have a clear idea of the difficulties women face when they become pregnant at the wrong time.
To meet as many of those difficulties as possible is the goal of the pregnancy resource center, to help women choose life for their babies and be themselves spared the pain and suffering of abortion.
But these centers are also equipped to help women who have already made the tragic choice to abort their babies with post-abortion counseling—a service often offered together with pregnancy assistance for the many women who walk through the door with an earlier abortion in their pasts.
Countless women helped, countless babies saved.
Every month, tens of thousands of women reach out to pro-life pregnancy centers for help of every kind. And they get it.
Since the first pregnancy resource centers were opened in the U.S.—before abortion was even legalized nationwide by the Supreme Court—millions of women have received the help they need to choose life, sparing the lives of countless unborn babies.
This success has drawn the ire of the abortion advocates, both because these pregnancy centers are so bad for the abortion business and because their generous assistance to women in need undermines the negative stereotypes they broadcast about us.
Some towns and states have even gone so far as to try to scuttle this assistance by passing laws restricting their activities—efforts the centers are fighting with everything they’ve got.
But even in the face of such legal challenges, the network of pro-life pregnancy resource centers continues to grow larger and more effective with each passing year, making them one of the greatest accomplishments of the pro-life movement.