GRAPEVINE—On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. The court, in this 5-4 decision, saw no constitutional right to abortion and said, “… the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
Abortion is not illegal in the U.S. as we approach this historic Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (Jan. 22), but states are now able to regulate or ban abortion within their borders. For a conservative state like Texas, this means a near ban on elective abortion. It changes a lot, but it does not change everything.
The Dobbs decision does not return our society to pre-Roe boundaries. Political, commercial, and not-for-profit infrastructures have been constructed during the past 50 years. Abortion has become a revenue stream for organizations like Planned Parenthood and a call to service for a network of pregnancy resource centers across the country. None of these infrastructures will likely go away. But they will shift their strategies in light of the new legal reality.
Pregnancy resource centers in all parts of Texas celebrated the overturn of Roe but understand that the needs of the women they serve will continue. They face new challenges and opportunities now that God has answered the prayers of millions regarding abortion in America. Michelle Gregory, executive director of the Mid-Cities Women’s Clinic in Euless—one of the oldest pregnancy resource centers begun by a Southern Baptist church—said it has been a busy season.
“We experienced an overall increase, post-Roe, of about 20% in pregnancy tests and sonograms, but a 79% increase in abortion-minded patients (patients intending to abort when they visited our clinic). We also saw a 64% increase in patients who were abortion-minded when they arrived at our clinic and changed their minds to carry after our services. Praise God!” Gregory said.
Monica Gonzales is the executive director of the Pregnancy Resource Center of Grand Prairie and has also noticed an increased urgency in some patients. The increases can be seen as both an opportunity and a challenge. But Mid-Cities saw it coming.
“[We have] been praying and strategizing since the Heartbeat Act back in September 2021 so, when the time came, we would be ready for the increase in patients. I believe we were,” she said. “Part of our preparation was an education piece for our patients to help them understand how the Roe decision affects them directly and their rights, post-Roe.”
Gonzales noted that even women who don’t think they are pregnant can benefit from the most important message her center’s volunteers share.
“We are still on the same rescue mission to provide hope for the hurting by sharing the gospel,” she said.
One major change in the battle for life is the easy access to chemical abortions through pills. Online “telehealth” doctor visits and home delivery of abortifacient medicines enable women to completely bypass the need for a sonogram or free pregnancy test. It also allows abortion-minded women to work around laws that ban most abortions.
“This is a Goliath of a battle we fight, and we’re trusting God to bring it down,” Gregory said. “Texas has seen a dramatic increase in chemical abortions.”
Gonzales also mentioned the possibility of violence against clinics, beginning after a leak from the high court signaled a likely overturn of Roe.
“Three weeks prior to the Roe overturn, our Grand Prairie chief of police placed a mobile video surveillance camera facing our center and had officers patrol our area frequently,” she said.
Both directors praised the faithfulness of volunteers, donors, and churches. The Dobbs decision came down soon after the country awoke from a disruptive pandemic that left some churches and parachurch institutions struggling. Gonzales said some former donors can longer support the Grand Prairie center at their prior level, but that new donors have arisen. She also noted a new level of community involvement.
“We have developed new partnerships with mentor ministries, maternity homes, as well as social services,” she said. “We are now members of The Chamber of Commerce of Grand Prairie and Metro-Rotary Club.”
Mid-Cities has also gained new friends and supporters in this new season of prolife work.
“I believe it was a wakeup call for the church!” Gregory said. “We’ve had so many churches reach out to us to find out how they can partner with us in reaching the abortion-minded and being the hands and feet of Jesus to those facing unplanned pregnancy.”
Tony Wolfe, associate executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, praised the work of pregnancy resource centers that partner with many of the convention’s churches.
“Ongoing, sacrificial support for pregnancy resource centers is a clear demonstration that SBTC churches are not only convictional about pro-life policies but are practical about pro-life ministry as well,” he said. “I join with the prayers of the churches when I ask that God would grant favor and joy to these mothers, their children, and those precious hands that serve them in pregnancy resource centers across the Lone Star State.”