Many accuse the pro-life movement of only caring about bringing a baby into the world. Those on the pro-choice side may say that we don’t offer women support during her pregnancy, directly afterward, and beyond. Standing in direct opposition to this claim are pregnancy resource centers (or PRCs).
PRCs are the frontlines of the pro-life movement. A young woman finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and wants to know her options. She may search the internet for an abortion clinic, but come across information for a PRC instead. All recourses offered by PRCs are free of charge to the women in their community. These costs are covered by donors and grants.
There are three main ways that a PRC seeks to help women in unplanned pregnancies: relational support, medical procedures, and education/counseling.
A young woman in an unplanned pregnancy feels like her world is crashing in around her. She needs someone to talk to, to process things through. Once she makes an appointment or simply walks into a PRC, a client advocate will connect with her. A trained volunteer will listen and offer information about her options. This may be the first place that a young woman ever feels truly cared for and heard. If she returns to the PRC, staff will greet her, care for her, and offer a listening ear, always.
Not all PRCs are certified to offer medical procedures, like ultrasounds. “Going medical” is both time and cost intensive, and some PRCs are simply not ready for the jump. They focus instead on providing free, self-administered pregnancy tests, options counseling, and educational programs (see below).
Licensed medical physicians and staff oversee Medical PRCs. According to their state’s standards, they provide free ultrasounds and often other services like STI screening and treatment. Some may even be full health clinics that provide prenatal care to clients.
Many PRCs offer free courses on topics such as relational health, what to expect during pregnancy, parenting, and financial planning. Clients can take these courses and are awarded points or “bucks” that apply toward the PRC’s boutique. A section stocked with donated items such as diapers, baby clothes, cribs, toys, etc. Often titled “Earn While You Learn”, this set up allows clients to grow in their knowledge and confidence, while simultaneously collecting the items they will need for their baby.
Some PRCs also offer abortion recovery programs for those dealing with the grief of having participated in an abortion.
SAVE THE STORKS AND PRCS
Save the Storks closely connects with many PRCs across the country. We partner with medical PRCs to provide Stork Buses to help get their resources further into their communities. We also provide workshops for PRC staff, and grants to help them go medical and raise money for Stork Buses. Save the Storks even offers a yearly retreat for PRC executive directors to refresh and inspire them in their work.
Pregnancy resource centers often come under scrutiny from pro-choice advocates, who may claim that they are fakes or frauds. Not all PRCs are the same, but most provide a welcoming atmosphere for their clients, medically accurate brochures, videos, and information. All medical PRCs employ licensed professionals to administer services.
For more information about pregnancy resource centers and what they offer, check out Unplanned Grace, a wonderful book written by Save the Storks staff. Filled with engaging stories, it also highlights dozens of other types of organizations providing real, wholistic healthcare to women facing unplanned pregnancies.