Pregnancy Resource Centers offer reliable healthcare options

What Planned Parenthood doesn’t want you to know about local, life-saving support for women

By Brittany Smith

The United States is home to more than 3,500 pregnancy resource centers (PRC). These local, nonprofit organizations provide a variety of services, like ultrasounds and free pregnancy tests, for women facing an unplanned pregnancy.

Critics of PRCs often label them as “fake clinics,” accusing them of lying to women about abortion.

In reality, these clinics provide many of the same services as Planned Parenthood, such as STD testing, pregnancy tests, and ultrasounds. In addition, PRCs also provide resources for pregnant or parenting moms, as well as access to baby clothing, diapers, counseling, and parenting classes.

Save the Storks recently spoke with Rich Bennett, President and CEO of Life Network, a pregnancy center in Colorado Springs, Colo., to discuss the resources PRCs provide in their communities and debunk some of the myths surrounding the care they offer.

One of the criticisms leveled at PRCs is that they are not real medical facilities, or run by licensed medical staff. What are the requirements for these clinics?

No state of Colorado medical board goes around licensing pregnancy centers. The people who get licensed are the people who work there. At Life Network we have a licensed physician.  We have five registered nurses on staff. Our registered nurses are sonogram trained and certified and go through an extensive 50- to 100-scan training process where they are observed the entire time.

Are there PRCs that are considered medical?

A PRC is considered a medical facility once it has an ultrasound machine and medically trained professionals to provide the diagnostic ultrasounds. Medical PRCs are not going to diagnose someone beyond that. If a nurse at Life Network saw something that didn’t seem right on the ultrasound, the nurse would refer the woman to a doctor who would be able to diagnose her and provide follow up care.

Does every PRC provide the same level of resources?

Most PRCs do little to no prenatal care. But among Planned Parenthoods there is a continuum of what some of their centers do. PRCs are on a similar continuum. Some simply provide counsel and support. Some do ultrasounds with nurses overseen by a physician.

We fall into the medical category.  We also provide STD testing and treatment as well. Some PRCs are stepping into deeper levels of medical care.  They provide OB care for women who choose to parent.

One of the biggest criticisms aimed at PRCs is that they lie to women about abortion, or don’t present it as an option by licensed professionals. 

We have two licensed counselors in the building three days a week. It’s also not unusual for client advocates with a counseling background to be working in a center and talking to women about their options.

Unlike at an abortion clinic, though, we’re going to very carefully talk through all three options to a mom and a dad facing an unplanned pregnancy. This includes: choosing to parent, making an adoption plan, or choosing an abortion. We’re always going to make sure a woman understands the implications of abortion for her child, and for her mental and emotional health.