Peggy Hartshorn, founder of Heartbeat International, recently described the present day as “the most exciting – and unpredictable – time for pregnancy help centers”. I could not agree more! As we near the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I marvel at the work that God is doing in hundreds of pregnancy help centers across the nation, including Pregnancy Center West. God’s heart was surely broken on the day in which abortion was made so accessible, but He wasted no time in beginning the slow but SURE work of drawing His people back to Him.
Abortion numbers are at their lowest in decades, and researchers attribute this to education, new laws restricting and regulating abortion, and pregnancy help centers! This is amazing to hear. Since Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, men and women alike have dedicated their lives to pregnancy resource centers in order to inform the woman facing an unplanned pregnancy that abortion is NOT her only choice. The groundwork was laid and it seems that now we are making REAL progress. Why is that? I have a few thoughts:
The Ultrasound Machine: In January of 2019, the Knights of Columbus announced that they had donated 1,000 ultrasound machines to pro-life pregnancy help centers over the last ten years. More centers than ever before have an ultrasound machine in-house and this is making an astounding difference! We can personally attest to this, as we launched in-house ultrasound services in March of 2019 and have conducted nearly 400 scans since then. Before the ultrasound machine, we could only convey truth via pregnancy tests and options counseling sessions. Now we get to SHOW women the life that is within her womb and allow that reality to infuse our conversations with awe and hope. Based on our data, 82% of the women who see their baby on our ultrasound screen state they will choose life for their child!
Pro-Life Marketing Agencies: Gone are the days where our clients will find a pregnancy center because of a billboard or a radio spot. When our clients find themselves in a crisis situation, they turn to Google...so we’ve learned that’s where we need to be! With the change in landscape due to the internet and social media, pro-life marketing agencies have sprouted up and are doing massive work to advance the pro-life cause. These agencies are filled with experts in digital marketing that know how to make sure that the abortion minded woman finds a pro-life center before finding Planned Parenthood. In November of 2018, we partnered with one of these agencies: Choose Life Marketing. With their help, we have conducted 50% more pregnancy tests in 2019 than in 2018! And most importantly, we are serving the RIGHT women. We are serving the women who are truly considering abortion vs. those who are life-minded. With their help, we are getting in between the abortion minded girl and Planned Parenthood, and miracles are happening.
Layering of Love: Here at Pregnancy Center West, we often talk about a “layering of love” that we strive to provide for each one of our clients. This sets us apart from your average medical clinic! From the greeting on the phone or at the door, to the intake process with one of our compassionate client advocates, to the peaceful experience of being in our ultrasound room, to our intentional follow-up by our new Client Services Director...we hope to convey how very loved our client is every single step of the way. When a client walks through our door, we have no monetary motive. We have no quota to reach or time limit to adhere to. We have no goal other than to love this woman and this baby. And we understand that to love someone means that we have a responsibility to share truth with them. To love someone is certainly not easy – it requires great courage and there is a risk of being rejected or misunderstood. But authentic love opens the heart and leads to life.
What a joy to bear witness to the fruit of DECADES of work put in by so many people. The beauty of the March for Life is that it puts faces on all of the people – the ordinary but faith-filled people – who are doing the quiet and unseen work for the sake of life every single day of the year. These people are those who work or volunteer at pregnancy centers, but they’re also moms and dads dedicated to raising wholesome families. They’re college students who are standing up for their Christian values. They’re working folk who believe that life is precious and vote for life at the polls. They’re priests and religious who are administering the sacraments and praying for us! On January 24th, we get to see tens of thousands of individuals (who represent thousands more) say together, “We’re here. We’re pro-life. And we will continue to show up every day in order to share truth and save lives.” Let’s pray for the grace to continue showing up. I have a feeling this is just the beginning!