Fact Sheet: Pregnancy Centers – Serving Women and Saving Lives (2020 Study)

Moira Gaul, M.P.H.  

To view the fact sheet as a PDF see: Fact Sheet: Pregnancy Centers — Serving Women and Saving Lives (2020 Study)

 

 

Updated July 2021

 

 

WHAT ARE THEY?

 

Pro-life pregnancy centers (formerly known as crisis pregnancy centers and also as pregnancy care or resource centers) are faith-based, community-based, not-for-profit organizations which first began to appear in the U.S. in the late 1960s, as abortion was becoming legal, to provide care and resources to assist women with immediate and ongoing needs related to unexpected pregnancy. Their focus on alternatives to abortion, also known as life-affirming services, was and is designed to empower a woman to welcome her child into the world. Today, pregnancy centers provide an expanded range of essential and professional care encompassing support services, medical care, and resources, usually at no cost to the women, men, and youth they serve. Personalized care is provided within a respectful, compassionate, and supportive environment by trained workers/individuals.

 

In 2021, there are approximately 3,000 pregnancy center locations in the U.S. (counting medical mobile units as separate locations).

 

WHAT DO THEY DO?

 

Provide essential and professional care to vulnerable women and youth on a free or low-cost basis typically including:  pregnancy testing; options consultation (including education on parenting and adoption, parenting and child raising, and abortion); medical services (early obstetrical ultrasounds, medical exams, STD testing and treatment, and increasingly other health services); prenatal and parenting education; material assistance; sexual risk avoidance education; after-abortion recovery support; referrals for medical care; and linkages to vital community and public health resources. Care is provided by trained workers and licensed professionals through a holistic health paradigm taking into account emotional, social, mental, spiritual as well as physical health. By providing practical assistance and links to needed resources, pregnancy

 

centers improve health outcomes for women and promote health and well-being for themselves, their children, and their families.

 

WHAT’S THE IMPACT?

 

Data from 2019 shows that pro-life pregnancy centers served close to 2 million people, with services and material assistance with a Total Value of over $266 million.[2]

 

2019 Findings for 2,700 centers in the U.S.[3]

 

  • 8 in 10 locations (or 2,132) offer Free Ultrasounds
  • 486,213 Free Ultrasounds Performed
  • 731,884 Free Pregnancy Tests
  • 967,251 Free Consultations with New Clients
  • 810 Locations offer STD Testing
  • 563 Locations offer STD treatment onsite
  • 291,230 Clients Attended Parenting and Prenatal Education Classes
  • 21,698 Clients Attended After-Abortion Support and Recovery Sessions
  • 305 Locations offer Abortion Pill Reversal
  • 2,525 Locations offer Material Assistance such as baby items (including diapers, baby clothing outfits, new car seats and strollers)
  • 120 Medical Mobile Units with Ultrasound (at least) rolling on the road to bring services to women out in the community
  • 14,977 Paid Staff (25 percent of whom are licensed medical professionals)
  • 53,855 Volunteers (12 percent of whom are licensed medical professionals)
  • 10,215 licensed medical professionals involved as pregnancy center workers (paid staff and volunteers combined)
  • Exceptional Client Satisfaction – Consistently high client satisfaction rates reported to pregnancy centers reflect that women, men, and youth who visit centers feel respected, valued, and well cared for.[4] Client satisfaction reported to two national networks in 2019 continues to validate excellence in care at affiliated pregnancy centers around the country. At Care Net affiliated pregnancy centers on average per center, 99.19 percent of clients/patients who completed a written survey indicated that their overall experience at the center was positive. One network has noted the “satisfaction rating is higher than that of Netflix, Chipotle, and the iPhone.” Heartbeat International affiliated centers equally reported positive client satisfaction of 99.6 percent on average per center through client exit surveys. This accounts for about 2,100 pregnancy centers.

 

WHO VALUES PREGNANCY CENTER WORK?

 

Federal and state governments recognize and value the impactful work of pregnancy centers. State health departments actively refer to pregnancy care centers in at least 20 states.[5] State-level resolutions honoring pregnancy centers have been passed in at least 21 states.[6] Centers are recipients of some government monies through “Choose Life” license plates in at least 29 states and the District of Columbia, state-funded or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) block grants funds in at least 8 states, Alternatives to Abortion state funds in 13 states, Sexual Risk Avoidance grant monies, and limited Medicaid reimbursement in 17 states[7] – but at least 90 percent of funding for pregnancy centers is raised locally at the community level and more than 80 percent of centers receive no government funding at all.[8]

 

UNDER ATTACK

 

Pregnancy centers have been under attack by pro-abortion advocates since first opening their doors. A 2015 California law, dubbed the Reproductive “FACT” Act, which forced life-affirming pregnancy centers to display information, including a phone number, on how women can obtain a free or low-cost abortion, was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. The Supreme Court ruling was a victory for free speech protections. Similar laws in Maryland, New York and Texas have been found unconstitutional at the federal court level. Pervasive attacks against pregnancy centers in academia have increased over the past decade.  Efforts to demonstrate and validate the essential, highly valuable and impactful care provided at centers remain vitally important to protect the life-saving work they do.

 

High standards in care have become a centerpiece of pregnancy center services. Affiliates of the three largest national networks (Care Net, Heartbeat International, and NIFLA), as well as eight other networks, provide ongoing training, resources, and/or services subject to an overarching national code of ethics instituted in 2009, “Our Commitment of Care and Competence” (CCC), recently updated in 2019.[9]

 

The code provides that all medical services be under the supervision and direction of a licensed physician in accordance with applicable medical standards. The code also addresses truthfulness in all communications; client information confidentiality; rigor in screening volunteers and staff, nondiscrimination, a consistent life ethic, and kindness to and compassion for clients. Compliance with all legal requirements regarding employment, fundraising, financial management, taxation, public reporting, and financial disclosure are also included in the code. Pregnancy centers maintain strict confidentiality protections as guided by federal, state, and local law.

 

Other pregnancy center parent organizations, even if not officially recognizing the CCC, require their affiliates to abide by high standards of care which prioritize integrity in client care, a consistent life ethic, and adherence to legal and regulatory guidelines.[10]

 

SUMMARY

 

Pro-life pregnancy centers in the U.S. providing essential and professional care are now over 50 years old.[11] They are model, community-based organizations found in virtually every type of community – rural, urban, suburban, college settings, even as mobile medical units – across the country. The multitude of medical, education, and support services pregnancy centers provided to women, men, youth and babies are evidence of the impact and measurable good centers are achieving. The growing cadre of licensed medical professionals as staff and volunteers involved at pregnancy centers now number over 10,200 in 2,132 centers and are emblematic of their medical success. The nearly 54,000 volunteers at centers nationwide reflect investment by citizens and professionals who esteem the work being done.

 

In addition, referral to a community provider or the direct provision of abortion pill reversal (APR) at pregnancy centers gives “tangible hope” to women who regret starting the chemical abortion process and seek to stop it. Expanded outreach for victims of human trafficking, clients challenged with opioid addiction, and women and men struggling with past abortion experiences through after-abortion support and recovery efforts are examples of the ways pregnancy centers in the U.S. are meeting critical needs of people in their communities and helping to provide hope and healing.[12]

 

Pregnancy centers are a shining example of how “Love Saves Lives” and stand on their strong record of care. Read more at www.lozierinstitute.org/pcr2020.

 

 

[1] Portions of this fact sheet are drawn from “Pregnancy Centers Stand the Test of Time,” the second edition in “A Legacy of Life and Love” report series, published in October 2020. Available at www.lozierinstitute.org/pcr2020.

[2] See www.lozierinstitute.org/pcr2020, p. 16.

[3] See www.lozierinstitute.org/pcr2020, p. 16-18.

[4] See www.lozierinstitute.org/pcr2020, p. 66.

[5] Brief of Amici Curiae March for Life Education Fund, Charlotte Lozier Institute, National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus of the Susan B. Anthony List, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, filed January 12, 2018 with the U.S. Supreme Court. P. 20ff. https://lozierinstitute.org/pro-life-groups-file-brief-in-pregnancy-help-centers-conscience-case/

[6]  See Positive Pregnancy Center Resolutions Sweep the Country (heartbeatinternational.org), Tennessee Resolution Honoring the TLC Community Center (HR 299) – Rewire News Group, Resolution honoring crisis pregnancy centers passed by Ohio House: How they voted – cleveland.com, West Virginia Pregnancy Center Coalition Praises the West Virginia Senate Honoring Pregnancy Care Centers (heartbeatservices.org), https://www.care-net.org/center-insights-blog/ky-resolution-2018; Michigan HR 104 – A resolution to declare May 13th, 2021, as Pregnancy Resource Center Awareness Day in the state of Michigan   

[7]  See www.lozierinstitute.org/pcr2020, p. 92.

[8]  Ibid.

[9] “Our Commitment of Care and Competence.” Updated 2019. Heartbeat International. Available at: https://www.heartbeatinternational.org/about/our-commitment.

[10] www.lozierinstitute.org/pcr2020, pgs. 63, 66.

[11] See A-Half-Century-of-Hope-A-Legacy-of-Life-and-Love-FULL.pdf (pcdn.co), p. 4.

[12] See www.lozierinstitute.org/pcr2020, pgs. 69-85.

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