LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The mission of the Arkansas Pregnancy Network is to save and change lives by “equipping people, empowering ministries and engaging communities toward a culture of life.”
To help reach that mission, the organization, composed of directors and nurses from several of the pregnancy care centers in the state, is launching a telehealth hotline.
Arkansas’ current law bans abortions except to save the mother’s life in a medical emergency. The law took effect when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in 2022. Despite the ban on abortions, several Arkansans travel out of state or seek to acquire an abortion pill.
“We knew that we needed to cast a bigger net to be able to catch the girl before she makes that appointment or before she goes across state lines,” said Christie Robertson, executive director of the Arkansas Pregnancy Network.
The hotline will connect the woman to a nurse that can counsel her and refer her to the pregnancy center that is closest to her. According to the Arkansas Pregnancy Network website, telehealth has dramatically increased the number of decisions for life that pregnancy resource centers see.
As part of their telehealth initiative, the Arkansas Pregnancy Network is utilizing Google Ads. When a woman searches an abortion-related question, an ad for the telehealth hotline will show up on the screen as well.
Robertson said they are currently training nurses for the telehealth hotline. The goal is to go live by the end of the year. Nurses interested in volunteering can do so via the network’s website.
During an Arkansas Pregnancy Network meeting on Nov. 17, Arkansas Baptist State Convention Community Missions Strategist Clint Ritchie presented Robertson with a $10,000 check from the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering to go toward the telehealth hotline. Ritchie said they donate quarterly to assist the pregnancy centers, but this was an extra gift made possible by the generous giving of Arkansas Baptists.
“As I visit the centers, I always ask how their local southern Baptist churches support them,” Ritchie said. “Every one of them says that those are their main supporters. To me, these women are on the forefront of the battle for life. It’s just a way for us to continue to partner on something that is valuable to Arkansas Baptist.”