The overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court in June was an answer to prayer for pro-lifers across the nation, including for the 2,500-some-odd pregnancy resource centers that meet the physical and spiritual needs of women searching for an alternative to abortion.
That landmark legal victory, though, has led to a major need.
Pregnancy resource centers, which stay afloat with donations and are also known as “crisis pregnancy centers,” are experiencing an influx of visits from women who previously would have visited an abortion clinic instead.
In the month after Roe, Hope Pregnancy Center in College Station saw a 17% increase in the number of women seeking pregnancy testing and consultation, and a 22% increase in the number of benevolence and material support requests.
Incredibly, Hope Pregnancy Center also experienced a 157% increase in the number of male partners attending appointments with mothers.
“We need to enlarge our available space to accommodate these needs,” Carol Dodds, the executive director of Hope Pregnancy Center, said. “That will require a significant influx of large donations.”
Hope Pregnancy Center is not alone.
Jonelle Fields, executive director of the Center for Pregnancy in Friendswood (a suburb of Houston), said the overturning of Roe impacted lower-income women who don’t have the money to travel to states such as California, where abortion remains legal. Those women are now flocking to Fields’ pregnancy resource center.
“We need to be there for them,” Fields said.
Dodds and Fields are celebrating the overturning of Roe. They also are urging churches to step in the gap for women—many of them single—who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. The centers need more donations.
Often, the women who visit a pregnancy resource center supported Roe, Fields said.
“[They] are going to see it as that they have lost an option,” she said. “Unfortunately, when people find out that they are having a challenging pregnancy circumstance—an unplanned pregnancy—it can feel almost like getting a cancer diagnosis.”
Roe’s demise has led to an opportunity for pregnancy resources and churches to be the hands and feet of Christ in assisting women in need, Fields said. The centers in College Station and Friendswood offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, pregnancy consultation, parenting classes and material support—all free.
“We have to be there when they pick up their phone, when they Google, so they know that they’re not alone,” Fields said. “So they know that they can speak with someone in their time of stress.”
The goal, Fields said, is for local churches to continue the relationship with the women who enter the doors of a pregnancy resource center—similar to a runner passing a baton to another runner in a relay.
“We’re not supposed to be here for the rest of their lives,” Fields said of pregnancy resource centers. “We’re supposed to be here for the beginning and as long as we can with them and their young child—and then plug them in to more community resources, plug them in to churches so that they can have that abundant life in Christ. It’s not just that we want them to come in here and make a life choice for their baby. We want to be able to help them to see that they have value as a beautiful human being that God created and that their life means something.”
Fields encourages churches to train their members in CareNet’s Making Life Disciples program, which teaches Christians how to relate to women facing an unplanned pregnancy.
“Not everyone is properly prepared to be able to speak with grace and love and acceptance and compassion to mothers that come from very different backgrounds from them,” Fields said. “So being able to make sure that the people in the churches are trained and understanding and compassionate is so important.”
She also recommends that churches offer Embrace Grace classes for single pregnant women.
Fields said a lesson she learned as a volunteer in college still applies today.
“I was shocked when the woman who was training me said, ‘We’re not just here to save babies.’ She said, ‘If a mother comes in and makes a life choice for her child, her child grows up, she grows old and they both die without the Lord and spend eternity apart from Him—what have you done?’
“We are here,” Fields, “to be able to support people for eternity.”