As Texas mothers increasingly turn to pregnancy centers for support, one pro-life charity is working to expand its outreach to rural women in the state.
The First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center in Texarkana plans to launch a new mobile unit by the end of the year to provide free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling and eventually educational classes to women in need, KTBS News 3 reports.
First Choice director Kristie Wright told the news outlet that they know many women have trouble finding transportation to their Texarkana facility.
“Unfortunately, they might be able to get a ride to the abortion clinic easier than they are to town to see us. So we want to be able to go to them,” Wright said.
Like most pregnancy centers, First Choice runs solely on donations from individuals to provide its free services, including diapers, car seats and other items. It is one of many pro-life organizations working to expand services to mothers who otherwise might have had abortions but for the new state heartbeat law.
The law, which is the first of its kind to be allowed to be enforced, prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Pro-life leaders in the state estimate the law is saving as many as 100 babies’ lives every day.
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Across Texas, pregnancy centers, maternity homes and other pro-life charities have been seeing an increase in calls for help since the law went into effect Sept. 1, according to Fox News.
Here’s more from the report:
Loveline, a Houston-based charity started by former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, told Fox News it saw a 50% nationwide increase in calls in the month after Texas’ law was enacted on Sept. 1. Thirty-three percent of those came from Texas.
Houston Pregnancy Help Center (HPHC) provided data on Thursday showing that it saw increases across multiple categories from September 2020 to the same month this year. For example, ultrasounds increased 50% (244 to 365). It also saw a 42% increase in client visits (1,026 to 1,466) and over 20% increases in pregnancy tests performed, in “abortion-minded” or “abortion-vulnerable” clients, and in women who chose not to have abortions.
Most pregnancy centers provide help both before and after the baby is born, often up until the child is 3 years old. Their services are free and non-judgmental, and most offer post-abortion counseling to women who abort their unborn babies as well.
“We’re going to serve her if she continues the pregnancy, and we’re going to serve her if she decides to terminate the baby,” HPHC CEO Sylvia Johnson told Fox News. “We’re not going to pay for the abortion and we’re not going to refer her to an abortion clinic. But if she chooses to terminate her pregnancy, that does not stop us from helping her maybe with her other children, maybe in the future — that’s who we are. That’s our heart.”
Along with passing the heartbeat law earlier this year, Texas state lawmakers also increased support for pregnant and parenting families, 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.
Supporting moms and babies is something pro-lifers, both through state funds and personal donations, have been doing for many, many years. A new report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that pro-life pregnancy centers provided nearly $33 million in services, materials and support to Texas women and families in 2019 alone.
These services included:
111,061 free packs of diapers
3,153 free, new car seats
146,440 free baby clothing outfits
14,637 STD/STI tests performed by registered nurses
34,082 clients received free parenting education
62,233 free ultrasounds performed by registered nurses/medical sonographers
104,207 free pregnancy tests
3,230 clients received free post-abortion support and recovery services
The $33 million does not include the housing and monetary assistance provided to clients who are referred to local churches, community organizations and other agencies, according to the institute.
“These aren’t just statistics. These are tangible expressions of a community’s love for the vulnerable, the confused, the conflicted, the hurting, and the courageous women facing a pregnancy in difficult circumstances,” said Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan. “These statistics represent over 5,000 grassroots volunteers and over 1,200 staff, including licensed medical professionals, who enter into the lives of these women and families to embrace, support and care for them. In a time of great uncertainty, pro-life pregnancy centers are igniting points of light in the darkness.”
Texas is paving the way, both through legislation and community support, for an end to the killing of unborn babies in abortions and restoring a culture that respects and values every human life.