When it comes to pro-life pregnancy centers, abortion minded outlets like The New York Times tend to take a rather negative view. So, it was rather refreshing to see a rather positive piece on Options, a pro-life pregnancy resource center (PRC) in Tennessee.
Pro-life PRCs exist across the country to help support mothers and couples who have an unplanned pregnancy. Depending on the capabilities of the center, some PRCs can provide pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, baby clothes, classes, Bible studies, post-abortion counseling, mentoring and other supportive measures that can help mothers, couples and families find support and hope during and after an unplanned pregnancy.
Although a woman might want to parent her baby, sometimes the concerns of life and financial hardships can make her consider an abortion. Places like Options come in at the right time to provide a free pregnancy test, much needed spiritual and emotional support, baby supplies and peer counseling that many new mothers need.
Wendy Ramsey, who runs Options, shared with The Times, “Circumstances don’t make a woman what she is. My heart is for women to know their worth, that they have a purpose, and that life is not too hard or extreme for them to meet the purpose that they want to do.”
Despite the passion that Ramsey and others have at Options for vulnerable women, there was a decidedly pro-abortion slant to the piece. For example, The Times quotes the extremist pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America, which says that places like Options are full of “anti-choice extremists” who “lie to and mislead women to prevent them from considering an abortion.” Organizations like NARAL and Planned Parenthood consistently call places like Options “fake clinics,” although that term does not apply in this case at all.
The majority of women who come to Options have already decided to have their babies but need help with baby supplies, parenting classes or life skills like how to get a job. There is even a shower for women who need that basic necessity.
Options is incredibly direct in what it does. In fact, one of the first quotes from Ramsey explains the scope of services at her location. “We are very open about what we do here—I guess more so, what we do not do here. We are not a medical facility, we do not perform abortions and we do not refer abortions. You can see that on the form here.”
In this case, NARAL doesn’t have a leg to stand on, but that doesn’t stop The Times from slipping in some of its pro-abortion views. Throughout the entire article, the phrase “pro-life” was only used one single time in a quote by Ramsey. The only phrase that was used to describe people like Ramsey and other pro-life supporters is anti-abortion, which is decidedly negative. Words have power, and the vocabulary that newspapers use can influence the way people think.
The article also has a sentence that says, “Volunteers (at Options) do not force women to hear fetal heartbeats or show them gruesome photos of aborted fetuses.” For PRCs that offer ultrasounds, hearing or seeing the heartbeat is entirely optional and most women want to experience it. They want to know more about the baby they are carrying, and it helps solidify the connection between mother and child. When it comes to the second point, it’s nice to see The Times acknowledging that abortion is gruesome, since it is, but most PRCs aren’t interested in shock value as much as reaching and caring for vulnerable women.
Perhaps the best part of the article is when Ramsey stated that the most important aspect of Options is leading women and men to Jesus Christ. “I can’t lie,” she said. “Ultimately, I just don’t think that there can be an abundant life without Jesus. If they say that’s manipulative and a secret tactic, then I will not apologize for it.”
The New York Times doesn’t always get it right, but in this article, the author did a pretty good job at not condemning the great work of Options in Tennessee. While it could stop using phrases like anti-abortion and subtilty referring to places like Options as “fake clinics,” the article gives a great platform to the fantastic work of PRCs across the country and its mission to help vulnerable women and couples see a child as a blessing and not a burden.
Learn more about how Focus on the Family supports pregnancy resource centers through our Option Ultrasound program.