Pro-life pregnancy centers have been offering hope to a growing number of frightened pregnant women in Texas, reassuring them that aborting their unborn babies is not their only – or best – option.
Since September, it has been illegal to kill unborn babies in abortions once their heartbeat is detectable in Texas. As a result, abortions have dropped as much as 80 percent, and pro-life leaders estimate the law is saving about 100 unborn babies’ lives every day.
For months, the nearly 200 pregnancy centers across Texas have been seeing an increase in calls and visits from women seeking pregnancy tests and other resources, according to Christianity Today.
“Before, we would see them at 6–8 weeks of pregnancy,” Tonya Thomas, executive director of Pregnancy Help 4 U in Keller, told the magazine. “Now, we’re seeing them right at four weeks—as soon as they think they should have their period. … They know time is of the essence.”
Many pro-lifers told the magazine that more women are coming in desperate and frightened, and pregnancy centers are doing all they can to reassure and support them and their babies.
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But some get angry at the pro-lifers who are just trying to help. Vincent DiCaro, chief outreach officer of the pregnancy center network CareNet, said he heard about a few clients who blamed the pregnancy centers for the abortion ban.
“Many of our centers have said it’s a very challenging environment,” DiCaro told the magazine.
Here’s more from the report:
“They’re hostile, in a hurry, and don’t want to answer questions,” said Deborah McGregor, chief executive officer of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Central Texas, which is located across the street from a Planned Parenthood in Waco.
Women generally come into the clinics to get free pregnancy tests or an ultrasound to find a heartbeat. Some don’t have health insurance to cover a doctor’s appointment. Thomas recounted the story of a woman who came to Pregnancy Help 4 U after the local Planned Parenthood quoted $95 just to see her. Unable to pay, she turned to the center for help.
“Our client advocate asked if she had considered adoption, and she hadn’t,” said Thomas. “She had literally thought abortion was her only option, but we were able to relay that information … have a spiritual conversation, and she left in tears.”
McGregor said many of their clients choose life for their unborn babies, but, even when they do not, the center still offers to help them. Most pregnancy centers provide counseling, Bible studies or other services to post-abortive mothers and fathers.
Ultimately, their goal is to love and support families in need, and many women recognize this after walking through the pregnancy center doors.
One woman, Erika S., told Christianity Today that Pregnancy Help 4 U helped her choose life for her baby during a very difficult time in her life. She said they encouraged her and helped her find financial resources to pay for medical bills and baby supplies.
“They talked with me, prayed for me, and made me feel like it was going to be okay,” Erika S. said. “I don’t know what I would have done without them. I might have gone through with [the abortion] … so I hope more centers like this open up around the state.”
Thomas said they just want women to “feel they are being cared for and that we don’t have anything to gain from their visit.” She said her desire is for God’s love to shine through their work and help abortion-minded women find peace in choosing life for their babies.
When Texas lawmakers passed the heartbeat law last year, they also recognized the struggles that many pregnant mothers face.
In addition to passing the abortion ban, they also increased support for pregnant and parenting mothers and babies, ensuring that they have resources to choose life. Among other things, they voted to invest $100 million into the Texas Alternatives to Abortion program, which provides free counseling, parenting classes, diapers, formula, job skills training and more, 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 of Texas Right to Life told The Atlantic last year. “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.”