This week the Supreme Court will hear opening arguments in a suit from Alpha Pregnancy Center, who along with about 200 other centers are moving for action against the state law requiring them to provide information to clients about free or low cost abortion options in their communities.
The pro-life centers argue that the state’s law, meant to target them, is a restriction of 1st Amendment free speech rights. They also feel as though the state is trying to turn their advisors into abortion reps. Centers who refuse to comply could face fines.
Regardless of the court’s ultimate decision, pro-life women’s centers like Alpha, and like LifeBridge in South Carolina (of which I currently serve as chairman), will never refer clients for abortion. We would rather rack up fines like Ochocinco in 2009. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Pregnancy resource centers DO explain abortion in great detail to clients. Contrary to what the state of California may believe, PRCs actually do a good job explaining all of the options facing a pregnant woman. Our advisors are adept in presenting all three options in a fair and truthful way. And there are only three: carry the baby to term, abort the baby, or find a caring home for the baby through adoption.
Unfortunately, when these options are stacked next to one another, certain options become less appealing, especially in centers where women are also give all of the resources they need to make a wise choice–including a free ultrasound of their baby. It also helps when clients feel free to express their fears, concerns, and pressures in a low-stress environment at a center that has no monetary interest in the woman’s choice either way.
I can’t speak for abortion clinics, but I wonder whether they give all three options such a fair shake? Ultimately, advisors always tell clients that the decision is theirs to make. In fact, at LifeBridge, we even provide post-abortive care counseling–even to a client who chooses to go through with an abortion but wants to talk about it afterwards in a safe place.
2. Pregnancy resource centers are pro-life by definition. I think I speak for most pregnancy centers when I say that the day we are forced to refer a client for abortion will be the day we close our doors. And even if the state of California or the United States government were to insist that we give clients information about where they can obtain an abortion or face stiff penalties, we will gladly receive the fines.
The directors, advisors, and volunteers at our centers have the courage of Shiphrah and Puah:
“Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live…So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong.” (Exodus 1:15-16,20)
Interestingly, Pharaoh’s name is forgotten on the pages of God’s Word, but these two insignificant midwives make the cut. In our modern day fight to protect women, children, and families from the prying interference of government, our centers are not afraid to defy the orders of any king. I wonder who will be remembered on that Last Day?
3. Our communities would feel the loss of pregnancy centers. Many of our centers are realizing that our clients are not just young teens who are five days late. Promoting a pro-life culture on our communities means caring about cultivating healthy relationships. It means getting involved in providing classes that help parents tied up in DSS proceedings to gain the skills they need to retain custody of their children. It means teaching couples the basic components of love in the home: repentance and forgiveness. It means realizing that the crisis pregnancy didn’t happen in a vacuum. And if we are going to change our communities, we have to have a holistic approach.
Just this past weekend, our center hosted a community baby shower for expectant mothers in our county. I would dare say it might have been the most culturally unifying lunch to take place in the state this year: blacks, whites, hispanic mothers and their boyfriends, husbands, mothers, and friends were treated to talks on sleep safety, carseats, and emotional health. Dozens of churches came together to provide volunteers to serve and eat with these mothers. Each one left with at least two baskets of gifts and a free pack-n-play or carseat.
Tell me this isn’t changing our small town of Newberry? Tell me that centers like this in thousands of little towns and big cities across the country isn’t making an impact for good in our culture? Tell me these centers wouldn’t be missed if the government succeeded in closing their doors?
But we know that would never happen. Even if every center was shut down, we would find another way. We love our neighbors too much to do nothing.
(photo credit: Wikipedia)