A Half Century of Hope, A Legacy of Life and Love: Pregnancy Center Service Report, Third Edition

Moira Gaul, M.P.H., Mai W. Bean   

To view this summary as a PDF, see: A Half Century of Hope, A Legacy of Life and Love Pregnancy Center Service Report, Third Edition: Executive Summary

 

The full text of this publication can be found at: http://lozierinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/A-Half-Century-of-Hope-A-Legacy-of-Life-and-Love-FULL.pdf

 

Executive Summary

 

Introduction

 

A Half Century of Hope, A Legacy of Life and Love commemorates 50 years of life-saving and life-changing pregnancy center outreach.  This 80-page report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute represents the third edition of the pregnancy center service reports titled A Passion to Serve, published by Family Research Council in 2009 and 2011.

 

As legalized abortion was gaining ground in the United States, the first free-standing pregnancy center in North America opened its doors in 1968 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Offering compassion and practical assistance to women facing unexpected or unwelcomed pregnancies, U.S. centers, led by people of faith, initiated the same non-judgmental, confidential, and free outreach model pioneered in Canada.

 

The classic definition of a pregnancy center was soon established as a community-based entity that 1) provides intentional alternatives-to-abortion services on-site and 2) follows a compassionate model of care respecting the dignity and privacy of women.

 

Through the leadership and guidance of national as well as smaller networks, pregnancy centers have grown into a global movement. The 2018 CLI report highlights: a detailed analysis of the impact of 2,600 of the estimated 2,750 centers in the U.S. in 2017; powerful personal stories with several dating back 30 to 35 years ago, now bearing witness to the birth of a third generation impacted by pregnancy center outreach; initiatives including the National Maternity Home Coalition; outreach to special populations and assistance in real-time; developments such as the Abortion Pill Rescue, formerly called the Abortion Pill Reversal Network; changes in adoption; and mobile medical units.

 

Service Summary

 

Pregnancy centers across the country completed one of two online surveys distributed by their national network, parent organization, and/or pregnancy center state coalition or regional leader. In 2017, pregnancy centers provided nearly 2,000,000 people, primarily women and youth, in the United States with free services, with estimated community cost savings of at least $161 million annually.

 

Women, youth, and men received services including pregnancy tests, life-affirming options consultation, sexual risk avoidance education, parenting and prenatal education, ultrasound and medical services, community referrals, and material support.

 

Highlighted 2017 results include: more than seven in 10 locations offered free ultrasounds with over 400,000 performed; one in four locations offered STI/STD testing; 295,900 moms and dads attended parenting courses; and, 24,100 clients received after-abortion support.  In addition, it is estimated that 67,400 volunteers gave of their time at pregnancy centers, of which 7,500 are estimated to be medical professionals.

 

Standards and Pregnancy Centers as Model Community-Based and Faith-Based Organizations

 

Affiliates of the three largest national networks (Care Net, Heartbeat International, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates), as well as eight other networks, provide training, resources and/or services subject to a national code of ethics instituted in 2009, “Our Commitment of Care and Competence.” Volunteers who interact with clients at pregnancy centers represented in this report are required to complete specialized training which focuses on integrity and quality of care, where honesty, compassion, and empathy towards clients are paramount.

 

Community-based pregnancy centers through their service accomplishments contribute to positive outcomes in maternal and child health, women’s health, and family well-being. They are increasingly being recognized for their impact and standing in communities across the country. As providers of alternatives to abortion, pregnancy centers have sought to accomplish their objectives and mission in ways that have made them models of community- and faith-based action.

 

Conclusion

 

The scope of services and healing work of pregnancy centers are helping to reclaim and rebuild a life-honoring paradigm of true reproductive health nationwide. By assisting women, men, youth, and couples they are helping to strengthen families and communities. The life-changing encounters and experiences at pregnancy centers across the country tell a compelling story of strength through support and service.

 

 

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