Women Have Another Choice
Family North Carolina MagazineJanuary/February
The Pregnancy Resource Center movement is growing and enabling women and men to make informed choices concerning unplanned pregnancies and sexual purity. Nearly 3,000 PRCs are functioning in the U.S. and Canada with more than 800,000 client visits each year. ABC World News announced that PRCs are currently out-numbering abortion clinics in the U.S.
While the pro-life movement pursues import goals on the legislative level, the ability to truly uphold the sanctity of human life also necessitates the ministry of PRCs which are impacting society one family at a time. The Guttmacher Institute has reported that “half of all pregnancies to American women are unintended; four in 10 of these end in abortion.” As unintended pregnancies touch families everyday, PRCs come alongside them to offer emotional, spiritual, and physical help.
These centers exist to serve the community as a whole, as well as to serve the local church. Often times we think of the need to reach non-Christians with the pro-life message, but in reality the church is also in desperate need of both pro-life education and post-abortion healing.
John Ensor shares stunning statistics concerning abortion in the church in his book Answering the Call: Saving Innocent Lives, One Woman at a Time:
- 1 in 4 women in the local church have had at least one abortion.
- An estimated 250,000 women who identify themselves as evangelical oriented Christians choose abortion annually.
Ensor notes that “every 20 seconds another baby is killed and every minute and a half, a “born again” Christian adds to the “fatality count.” He admonishes that “part of the reason cherishing and defending innocent human life is not a vibrant, conscious, organized mainstream part of the church’s mission today is because of our own guilt on the matter. We have aborted our own babies.” It is clear that there are an amazing number of women and men suffering from the pain of an abortion sitting in our churches every week, and it is time that each of them find healing.
PRCs exist to serve the church in a way that alleviates the pressure on church leadership in the fight for life. PRCs are available to provide literature and educational seminars to the staff and the congregation concerning sexual abstinence, current abortion information, training for frontline crisis intervention and teach how to best minister to families in the church who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, and to how to provide a safe place of healing for those in the church who are suffering after an abortion.
So, what is a Pregnancy Resource Center? As the Executive Director of a Care Net affiliated pregnancy resource center, I have observed the commonalities found among these affiliated organizations. A Care Net PRC is a non-profit, faith-based organization that exists to promote the sanctity of human life. Each center accomplishes this through slightly different means, as determined by funding and leadership preferences; however, many of them look very similar in regard to the programs they offer. The two most consistent areas of ministry that are offered are crisis intervention and ongoing parenting support.
A Care Net affiliated PRC is dedicated to a commitment of care that provides crisis intervention by presenting pregnancy options to the client following a positive pregnancy test: abortion, adoption, or parenting. The abortion procedures and risks are presented to the client in an objective, non-manipulative way. The client is given literature and the opportunity to watch videos on fetal development and/or abortion procedures. The adoption option is presented to the client and they are given the opportunity for a referral to an adoption agency. If adoption is chosen, most centers also provide emotional support throughout the pregnancy and after the child is placed in the adoptive home. The parenting option is presented to the client, as is the option to enter into an ongoing parenting support program.
The ongoing parenting support programs often provide parents with education and emotional support concerning pregnancy and parenting, through weekly peer counseling sessions. During these sessions the clients are given the opportunity to earn material items that they will need for their child. Most PRCs make it possible for the client to obtain virtually every item they need for the child’s first year of life: clothing, diapers and toiletries, cribs, car seats, as well as maternity clothing for the mother.
While PRCs are consistent in offering crisis intervention and ongoing parenting support, each center differs in the additional programs that are offered. Other programs that PRCs often offer, or desire to develop, are abstinence education, post-abortion counseling and education, and medical assistance through ultrasounds and basic pre-natal care as well as testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Below is a brief description of these areas:
- Abstinence education programs usually consist of a team that visits local schools to inform students of the risks of pre-marital sex, including STDs and unplanned pregnancies as well as the emotional damage that often occurs with sexual promiscuity.
- Post-abortion counseling and education programs usually consist of one-on-one or group studies that help a man or woman deal with the emotional pain that follows an abortion. The program will help the client process their emotions that accompany abortion such as anger, bitterness, guilt, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
- Medical Facility PRCs offer free ultrasounds to women considering abortion. A recent study showed that 79% of women who see a sonogram of their baby choose life. Focus on the Family offers “Option Ultrasound” to centers and funds 80% of either the ultrasound machine or needed training.
- Medical facility PRCs may also offer STD testing to the community. With 18.9 million new STDs occurring in the year 2000, this testing and education are needed for the general welfare of the community.
- PRC services are free and confidential.
There are many ways individuals, churches, foundations and corporations can be involved in the PRC movement!
Prayer is necessary for PRC success, as the battle is won through prayer. We understand that in the end, the victory is won because of the gospel of Christ, and that He has given us the privilege of being a part of that victory by working through the PRC movement. We are striving to defend innocent human life and serve as ministers of reconciliation to families hurting because of the results of an unplanned pregnancy.
Volunteer hours are necessary to provide quality care to each client. You can volunteer within your particular skill set. Areas of opportunity include, but are not limited to, male and female peer counselors (training provided), mentoring, administration, marketing, special events support, and program development. If you have a desire to serve, then the PRC staff will find the appropriate area for you to use your skills.
Financial support is necessary for these non-profit organizations to operate and grow. PRCs exist through the financial support of individuals, churches, foundations and corporations who choose to steward their resources to promote the sanctity of human life. Prayerfully consider becoming a financial partner with your local PRC.
Material items such as diapers and toiletries, baby and maternity clothes, cribs and car seats are necessary to continue supporting clients in the parenting support programs. Please consider donating new and used baby and maternity items to your local PRC or hosting such a donation station at your place of work.
Networking for your local center is necessary to enable both clients and supporters to become aware of the programs available to the community and the church. Marketing expenses add up quickly, so informing your network of the PRC allows more funding to be directly applied to client service programs.
There is an opportunity waiting for anyone to join the PRC movement, whose goal is to defend innocent human life and to strengthen families. Many men and women are blessed daily by partnering with those who are already working in the PRC movement, and it is through each of you that the fight for life is won.
 Ensor, Peter. Answering the Call: Saving Innocent Lives, One Woman at a Time, (Colorado Springs: Focus on the Family, 2003), p 21.
 Care Net is a non-profit organization that provides education and assistance to a national network of more than 2500 pregnancy resource centers in the United States. To learn more about this organization or to locate a Care Net affiliated pregnancy resource center go to http://www.care-net.org.
 A recent study done by Focus on the Family can be seen at www.heartlink.org.
Amber Lehman holds a BA in Biblical Studies and an MA in Christian Ethics (pending thesis completion) and currently serves as executive director of Pregnancy Support Services of Wake Forest.
Copyright © 2007. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.