Pro-life pregnancy resource centers (PRC) are a lifeline for women and young couples across the country who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. This week, Focus on the Family is concentrating on PRCs and how other pro-life Americans can help support women who are in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy.
“I think the focal thing is that we are there for those young ladies who are facing unplanned pregnancies,” Toni Clarke, executive director for PRC Assure Women’s Clinic, said in a roundtable with Focus President Jim Daly and other pro-life leaders.
“Those young ladies who don’t know what to do. We just come alongside them to help them as they’re making that decision and then once they make the decision, whether they’re going to keep that baby or sometimes even not, we’re still there for them.”
That’s at the heart of PRCs. These selfless advocates come alongside women and encourage them by providing them with material resources, counseling, parenting classes, mentoring and other avenues of support to help them through their pregnancy and oftentimes for a set period of time afterwards, usually around two years.
“The first thing she’s going to encounter is someone with a smiling face at the reception desk,” Clarke said. “Just a warm presence for her because, you know, she’s already in turmoil. And so, when she comes in, we just want to calm her down and just kind of relax her.
“Sometimes, they think they have one option, and so we’re going to make it very clear to her that she does have more than one option. We’re going to talk about adoption. We’re going to talk about parenting, and we’re going to talk about abortion. And so, we’re going to give her the ultrasound and the pregnancy test without cost. We really just want to be alongside her for anything that she needs.”
For women who choose abortion, most PRCs also offer post-abortive counseling, helping women from their 20s to their 70s process the trauma of that life-changing and life-ending decision. Sometimes, there are even post-abortive sessions for men to process and heal from their involvement in an abortion.
“We firmly believe the best alternative to abortion is another person,” Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International, said. “It’s really all about loving someone into a life-affirming decision and helping them walk towards it. We’re working on all types of trainings and working towards the movement of pregnancy health.
“We call it the love approach, and so we really want to walk with them so that really no woman ever finds themselves so alone or desperate that the only choice that they can imagine is terminating the life of their child.”
Life is an incredible gift, and sometimes women need encouragement in order to see how their pregnancy isn’t the end of something, but a beautiful beginning.
“A lot of times their friends, in that moment, don’t know whether to say congratulations or I’m sorry, so they kind of just distanced themselves,” Amy Ford said, the president and founder of pro-life ministry Embrace Grace, which seeks to “help women and men experiencing unplanned pregnancies find a place of belonging within the church through support groups.”
Ford continued, “And so being able to say, you know, we’re here with you. No mom should ever have to walk alone and we’re here to walk alongside you.”
For more, check out the second episode in a six-part series for See Life 2021, here.