NASHVILLE (BP) – Pregnancy care centers across the United States are working to combat the spread of misinformation so staff can continue to serve well those experiencing unplanned pregnancies. The overturn of Roe v. Wade caused a surge of anger and violence directed toward pregnancy care centers, so staff and volunteers must work harder to reach women in unique ways. Even though laws may change, the work and mission of the centers has not.
Lisa Cathcart, executive director of Pregnancy Care Center in Old Hickory, Tenn., told Baptist Press that “pro-life voices matter right now.” Many people do not understand the purpose of pregnancy care centers and the services that they offer. Cathcart said that the work of pregnancy care centers is “not political work, but spiritual work as [we serve as] domestic missionaries. It’s relational and transformational, not transactional. Our work is modeled after Jesus’ ministry. We are dealing with hearts and minds.”
Scott McConnell, director of Lifeway Research and a Pregnancy Care Center board member, said, “Roe doesn’t change pregnancy care centers’ posture.” When anger rages from all sides, it’s easy to get lost, he said, adding: “the battle is not against flesh and blood as it says in Ephesians. Show compassion because radical shifts cause anger, but do not become consumed by it. Identify in Christ, not in a position.”
As the center anticipates an increase in clients, Cathcart said they need “creative and practical” help from community partners and churches. “The number one need right now is childcare” she said.
The center has unveiled a new website page called “our work continues” with more information about how to get involved and ways to help, such as volunteering and donating.
“Women’s needs are the same. They are still facing challenges in their lives that cause them to seek abortion” Cathcart said.
Jill Waggoner is the content editor for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and also a board member of the Pregnancy Care Center in Old Hickory. She said the church has a unique role to play in the pro-life movement.
“We need teachers down to the lowest level to be teaching a pro-life ethic and God’s heart behind the flourishment of human life,” Waggoner said. “We need them to explain that we [as the church] have a role in helping the vulnerable and advocating for preborn. Churches are critical in helping to equip and think well.” However, she added that pro-life advocates “must remember the abortion wounded as we speak and talk about these issues.”
In states where abortion is now highly restricted, like Tennessee and Louisiana, the truth about pregnancy care centers matters more than ever before.
“Now that Roe is overturned and abortion is illegal in states like Louisiana, the role of pregnancy care centers is magnified,” said Claire Lemoine in an interview with the Louisiana Baptist Message.
Lemoine is the director of the Miss-Lou Pregnancy Care Center, set to open July 18 in Vidalia, La., on the border with Mississippi, where abortion is now outlawed completely.
“Until all hearts on this side of heaven are transformed into the truth of what life is and how it should be protected, we will always have unplanned pregnancies and women who desire to have an abortion,” she said.
Pregnancy care centers’ goal is to support both mothers and fathers before, during and after pregnancy, Lemoine told the Baptist Message.
“It is so important we love on mothers in a way that encourages them to choose life,” she said. “I hope adoption becomes a normal part of the conversation. I hope that women that come here for services and support will be empowered to carry the child and we can dispel the darkness they find themselves in.”
Angie Crawford is director of Alpha Pregnancy Care Center in Hopkinsville, Ky., a state where abortion is now restricted after 22 weeks into pregnancy. She told Baptist Press she relies on God’s strength to help her.
Despite Roe’s overturn, the flow of clients seeking help at Alpha has been consistent, Crawford said, but she has been answering many questions about what pregnancy care centers do. “We need prayers for ability to speak in love and boldness,” she said,
In addition to prayers, pregnancy care centers need financial and physical support.
“All services offered here are free,” Crawford said, “so financial support is always used. Please send people our way. We want to welcome and help more people who aren’t necessarily in a crisis pregnancy situation to help raise awareness.”
“This is a time to be sensitive to the Spirit. We want to keep doing what we’re doing but [we are] praying that the Lord shows us how to tweak that to best meet needs. The heart of what we have been trying to do hasn’t changed: to support women in vulnerable times and be the hands and feet of Jesus.”