We are a culture determined to create labels and build fences intended to categorize people’s interests, persuasions, beliefs, practices and more. These judgments and stereotypes are shallow, limiting and frankly erroneous.
Take, for instance, the label, “Pro-Life.” To many, Pro-Life and Anti-Abortion are the same thing, but they are two very, very different philosophies.
The Anti-Abortion movement exists solely to reverse a 45-year-old U.S. Supreme Court Decision and outlaw all abortions. It has nothing to do with providing quality healthcare, education, information, outreach or support. Pro-Life, which has been unfairly lumped together with Anti-Abortion Groups, is quite the opposite.
As a pro-life pregnancy center, we fall prey to the inaccurate media definition equating pro-life to anti-abortion. It should come as no surprise to anyone that pregnancy help centers support and encourage life, and therefore do not recommend abortion.
However, we educate and speak honestly about all choices, while providing time, space and services to allow a client’s choice. It is interesting to note that two recent publications indicate 64% to 74% of women report being coerced into making an abortion decision. That doesn’t sound like choice, but that’s another article.
With these facts in mind, we are wise to unpack the difference and broaden our understanding of what it really means to stand with women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Supporting women and men experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, is after all, the basic goal of every pregnancy center. We exist because of the conviction that every woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy deserves support, services, truth about all her options, and genuine respect, regardless of her circumstances.
Due to overtones associated with the politicized branding term ‘pro-life,’ the substitution of pro-woman is a more accurate word picture of the services offered at pregnancy help centers like Anchor of Hope. The thousands of pro-woman pregnancy centers in this country exist to provide support and services, both medical and social, to an underserved population. The 80,000 plus volunteers donating over 6.5 million hours annually commit their time to genuinely advocate for and empower women (and men) in difficult circumstances.
As reported in the 2018 Life Trends Report, the 1.5 million clients served each year at one of the 2,752 pro-woman centers are evidence of the fact that pregnancy help centers are providing much-needed services for women. The free services offered by these centers often go unnoticed in our communities. Not unnoticed to clients are the 250,000 free ultrasounds, material items, referrals, and more.
Finally, the impressive $400 million in combined annual budget funding for U.S. pregnancy centers does not include a penny of federal taxpayer dollars. This is what it means to be pro-woman – to give of your time and resources to help another on his/her journey. It is not standing on a corner with a sign advocating for a closely held social or moral belief. Sign-holding does have its place. It is not striving to alter legislation by changing the political culture. Although influencing the political climate by the exchange of vastly different ideals serves a democratic society well.
Being pro-woman is the heart behind what pregnancy help centers do each day when we open our doors to provide support, care, resources, medical services, and hope. Let NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws) and National Right to Life have the arena of legislation and politics. The political machines on both sides will continue to spend their millions to affect both legislation and cultural opinions. Let pro-woman pregnancy centers continue to roll up their sleeves to do the work of supporting, educating, serving, and advocating for women.
After all, that is why we exist.