Pro-life work does not stop when abortions do.
For the first time in nearly 50 years, a state – Texas – has been allowed to prohibit almost all abortions. Since Sept. 1, abortion facilities across the state have stopped aborting unborn babies once their heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Tens of thousands of babies’ lives could be saved from abortion in Texas every year if the new heartbeat law remains in effect.
It’s a day the pro-life movement has been preparing for for decades, and now that it is here, pro-lifers remain hard at work, ready and eager to help mothers and babies in need.
While abortion activists and politicians are still pushing abortions, pro-life advocates are reassuring Texas women that there is help and hope for them and their babies.
Heartbeat International spokeswoman Andrea Trudden told LifeNews that Texas has more than 200 pregnancy resources centers that provide free services to mothers in need. She said that total does not include maternity homes and other resources for struggling families.
Trudden said their toll-free hotline OptionLine has not seen a huge uptick since the Texas law took effect – though they have had a few harassing calls. But they did see a major increase in online traffic to their website, which allows people to search for pregnancy resources by city or zip code.
No one knows how long the courts will allow the heartbeat law to stay in effect, but Trudden said they expect to see a spike in calls seeking help in the coming weeks. She said they also are surveying pregnancy resource centers in Texas and nearby states to better understand their needs right now.
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Pro-life organizations that provide additional support beyond what pregnancy resource centers do also are reaching out to help Texas mothers who otherwise might have aborted their unborn babies.
“We want to help and are prepared to help. We have been preparing for a post-Roe world and us as a pro-life movement need to stand in the gap right now for these women and their families and show them the love they need,” Pam Whitehead, the director of ProLove Ministries, told LifeNews.
Whitehead’s organization runs Loveline, which provides material and financial support – everything from household items to rent to help finding work and health care – to pregnant mothers in difficult situations. It recently also opened a maternity home in Texas to provide a safe, secure place for pregnant women with small children to transition out of crisis.
“We’ve seen a significant increase, more than 400%, in calls and texts to Loveline since September 1,” including many from Texas, Whitehead said. “It’s been very busy but also incredibly rewarding to meet these women where they are, helping them with their tangible and emotional needs, and ultimately showing them genuine love and care.”
Though pro-life laws do help stop abortions, the pro-life movement knows that legislation is just one part of the overall mission. And for now, killing unborn babies in abortions remains legal in the rest of the country. As a result, abortion activists and politicians are working to send vulnerable, desperate Texas women to other states for abortions, and some abortion groups are selling abortion drugs through the mail.
Emily Berning with Let Them Live, which offers financial assistance and other support, told LifeNews that they are working to reach abortion-vulnerable women online and address the underlying problems why they are seeking abortions.
“With 73 percent of women choosing to have an abortion due to their current financial situation, there is an actionable real world solution that will drastically decrease the demand for the abortions,” Blair said. “Financial assistance and generosity to mothers in need saves babies. We see this every day at Let Them Live from all across the nation. Mothers make life affirming choices when we decrease their financial and emotional burden through generosity and love.”
Texas pro-life leaders and lawmakers have kept this in mind, too, as they worked to pass the heartbeat law and other pro-life legislation. Earlier this year, Texas lawmakers increased support for pregnant and parenting mothers and babies, ensuring that they have resources to choose life for their babies. This included $100 million for the state Alternatives to Abortion program as well as additional funding for the Healthy Texas Women program.
“We’re concerned about not just saying no to abortion but supporting women who are facing unexpected pregnancies or other difficult circumstances,” John Seago, legislative director of Texas Right to Life, told The Atlantic earlier this month. “That needs to be the pro-life vision for the state of Texas. Part of our core agenda every session is increasing funding to these programs that support women and their families”
Other pro-life organizations, including CareNet, Human Coalition, Students for Life, 40 Days for Life and many others, want Texas mothers to know that abortion is not the answer either. Students for Life’s Standing with You Initiative, for example, helps connect students on campus to pregnancy and parenting resources. And 40 Days for Life is getting ready for its fall campaign, starting Sept. 22, where pro-lifers stand on the sidewalks outside abortion facilities to pray and offer help to mothers in need.
Shawn Carney, president and CEO of 40 Days for Life, which is based in Texas, said support is coming from the churches as well. He pointed out how pregnancy resource centers alone outnumber abortion facilities by five to one in Texas, and pro-life advocates, churches and lawmakers all have been working to increase support in tandem with passing laws to end abortions.
“This new law is a light of hope,” Carney told LifeNews. “It’s a great victory, and it’s great for the unborn, but it’s certainly great for women as well. We don’t need abortions, and abortion isn’t good for women.”
As always, pro-lifers across the country can help Texas moms and babies by donating resources, volunteering with a pregnancy center, 40 Days for Life or other pro-life organization, and praying. Trudden also encouraged pro-lifers to take the time to find out what pregnancy resources are available in their local communities. OptionLine has a searchable list here.
“Find out the services they provide, so, one, you are now a resource to help women in your community, and, two, you can get involved,” Trudden said. “We also ask for prayer. It is the easiest thing but it also is the most powerful thing.”