How Pregnancy Centers Serve Women in the Midst of Crisis
By Natasha Smith
What happens to women facing an unplanned pregnancy in the midst of coronavirus shutdowns? Pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) step up to ensure women receive the support they need. Crisis has never stopped pro-life individuals and organizations. If anything, coronavirus, pandemics, and unplanned events inspire PRCs to become even more creative in their service to women, men and families.
Here are seven ways PRCs are responding.
1. Virtual Appointments, Parenting Classes and More
When Sarah called Birth Choice of San Markos, CA, she was thinking of abortion. She felt pressure from her mom and indifference from her dad. She said Planned Parenthood seemed rude and impatient with her on the phone, but Birth Choice was different. Monica, who answered the phone, happened to be in the same program at the same school as Sarah. Sarah quickly felt comfortable, understood and supported by Monica as they talked.
Monica set up a teleconference intake. Sarah also received videos and brochure PDFs through text to help her understand all the facts about parenting, adoption and abortion.
The nurse at the PRC was under shelter-in-place restrictions, making an ultrasound impossible. But the support, love and conversations she had over the phone and over text with Monica made all the difference. Sarah realized she could choose life and fulfill her dreams.
Sarah joined the PRCs virtual Earn While You Learn program which includes prenatal and parenting classes. The program helps her with her current children and financially assists her with needed supplies. With the points she earns through attendance, Sarah can order items from the PRC and pick them up at the drive-through service at Birth Choice.
2. Mobile Delivery: Supplying Moms No Matter What Barriers Coronavirus Raises
With closures due to coronavirus, many PRCs are delivering supplies directly to moms in need. Bridget, in Philadelphia, just had a baby and was afraid of exposing her child to the virus. Alpha Care Pregnancy Center used their mobile medical unit to deliver all the baby items she needed as well as food supplies for her whole family. Alpha continues to deliver supplies and provide support to those who prefer not to exit the safety of their homes.
The Pregnancy Resource Center in Maryville, TN also delivered supplies to moms. They learned of a shortage in diapers and wipes in their community. Families either couldn’t access the supplies or were afraid to go to stores. So this PRC filled their mobile medical unit with baby supplies and combined their effort with local food distribution initiatives. Together, the community supported each other through the crisis and provided help for new moms, babies and families.
During the month of April, Life Care Center in Ottawa, KS delivered 370 packages of diapers and 164 wet wipe packets along with 53 cans of formula.
A staff member said, “What stands out most to me was the woman with tears in her eyes who wanted to pay us for her supplies. We assured her that we were just spreading the love of Jesus by meeting their needs today.”
3. Helping Fight Anxiety
“Thank you for helping me know I’m not alone.” Bekah said. “I’m so thankful to know that you, and everyone at Elizabeth’s Hope is there for me.”
During the pandemic, Bekah’s anxiety increased. But her anxiety escalated dramatically when she found out she was pregnant.
She’d been on the verge of panic. But Elizabeth’s Hope Pregnancy Center in Chillicothe, OH made all the difference for her. She’d call the nurse who gave her accurate information about the current state of COVID-19 in her area. She also received information on how to navigate healthy practices to maintain physical and mental health.
4. Free Ultrasound and Pregnancy Care
Due to coronavirus health restrictions, Planned Parenthood in Eureka, CA temporarily closed. Claire worried she may be pregnant and felt like she needed an abortion. The only place open for pregnancy services, including free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, was the Pregnancy Care Center of the North Coast. The clinic staff ensured Claire received the care she needed. She got to meet her 16-week-old baby on the ultrasound screen. The staff gave her all the information about her options and Claire went home undecided.
A week later, the OB doctor called the center requesting Claire’s first ultrasound. When she’d left a week ago, the staff was not sure what Claire would ultimately decide. But having heard all her options and receiving the support of the PRC, Claire chose life. She found prenatal care and connected with the PRC for continued support.
5. Providing Accessible Care Despite Coronavirus
Kassandra already had an abortion appointment scheduled when she decided to stop at the Arkansas Pregnancy Center. With COVID-19 and an unexpected pregnancy, Kassandra’s anxiety was through the roof. Abortion seemed like the only solution. Through all the screening precautions, coronavirus symptom checks, face masks, and limited staff at the clinic, Kassandra felt loved and heard. She didn’t keep her appointment at the abortion clinic but rather continued connecting with the PRC. The PRC staff was there for her through calls and texts. Even though isolation was hard, Kassandra never felt alone.
6. Choosing Life a Second Time – Abortion Pill Reversal
Robin’s two children were all she could handle. Another child seemed impossible with coronavirus shutting everything down, so she obtained an abortion pill and took it. The abortion pill takes a few hours to begin blocking nutrients to the baby and cause a miscarriage. In that time, her mind started to race and her heart filled with regret. She did a Google search and found Heartbeat International’s Abortion Pill Rescue (APR) Hotline. When she called, she learned that a PRC, Loving Choices in Fayetteville, AR, offered the progesterone treatment that could save her child’s life. It was a race against time.
Robin rushed to the PRC and felt relief when her ultrasound revealed the beating heart of her baby. The PRC immediately gave her the abortion pill reversal regimen. This regimen bolsters the woman’s body with progesterone, combatting the effects of the progesterone-blocking abortion pill. Currently, the success rate of APR sits at sixty-eight perfect. Forty-eight hours later, the clinic staff performed another ultrasound on Robyn. The child was still alive! Robin’s pregnancy was saved, and Loving Choices continues to support her as her delivery date approaches.
7. Changing The Hearts and Minds of Abortion-Determined Women
Amy was 21 when she found out she was pregnant again. She didn’t feel financially or emotionally ready to parent. Plus the coronavirus pandemic underscored her fears.
Amy had one abortion a few years ago and felt like that was her best option this time around. She made an appointment with Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center to get a free ultrasound rather than paying for it at the abortion clinic.
The pregnancy center staff informed her about abortion side effects and procedures. “No one told me all this when I had my abortion before,“ she told the staff. She never saw that ultrasound or knew how far along she was.
When Amy saw this ultrasound, she literally sat up on the exam table and exclaimed, “Wow! That’s a life!”
She could not believe what she was seeing and had no idea that at 7 weeks her baby would have a heartbeat. She stared in amazement at the ultrasound images on the screen.
“This changes everything,” she said.
Amy decided to parent her baby and is joining the Earn While You Learn program at Fayette Pregnancy Care Center in Georgia.
Want to Get Involved?
If these stories inspire you, learn more on our website. Or give your local pregnancy resource center a call to see how you could support them directly. We honor and cheer on the amazing staff who keep pregnancy centers open and women and families thriving through difficult times.