Monday, March 09, 2009

What Are Pregnancy Centers?

Last week I wrote that the pro-life movement needs to get the word out on the good that pregnancy centers do. First thing, we need to let people know what pro-life pregnancy centers are.

If you do a search online, you'll undoubtedly come across some articles on what's wrong with pregnancy centers. Generally, these articles are filled with at the best bias based on out-dated information and pro-abortion views, at the worst, outright lies. Rather than rebut the comments, let's just explore what pregnancy centers are and what they do.

  1. Pro-life pregnancy centers are not Planned Parenthood.

    • Planned Parenthood operates on the premise of "family planning," which translates doing what is necessary to keep from having a baby before you're ready--whether that means providing birth control, emergency contraception, or abortion.

    • Pregnancy centers recognize that not all women want to make the choice for abortion and give women other life-affirming options. They operate on the premise that after you are pregnant, it is too late to consider birth control, and will not provide nor refer for abortions. What's more, pregnancy centers usually promote abstinence rather than birth control, responsibility rather than avoidance. The idea being the best way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections is by not engaging in the behavior that causes them.

  2. While not all pregnancy centers are affiliated with national organizations, those that are, are required to agree to certain guidelines, such as Heartbeat International's Committment of Care. Belonging to a membership organization that pledges to uphold these standards is a requirement before calls are referred to a center through the Option Line website.

  3. Pregnancy centers are generally privately funded. While some abstinence programs may have received federal funding, generally the services they provide their clients is free to the client and paid for through the center's supporters. Unlike abortion clinics, they do not make a profit through their services. Pregnancy centers provide free information and assistance to women in need.

  4. Pregnancy centers are community organizations run by caring people committed to making their community a better place by helping those in need. Pregnancy center outreaches can include clothing, food, housing, job placement/training, and medical assistance. And because they are community organizations, they are in touch with programs and agencies in their area to assist women in need.

There is a battle being waged against pregnancy centers, trying to stop them from helping women facing an unplanned pregnancy. These arguments are often being made by businesses who might lose profits if their clients chose not to abort. But, they are often made by people who are genuinely concerned for women, but who have a vastly different philosophical approach to meeting their needs.

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