Few things are more inspiring in the pro-life movement than the generous and even heroic work of those who serve the approximately 3000 Pregnancy Resource Centers around the country. There are more such centers than there are abortion mills, and the bulk of the pro-life movement, though you would never know this from the media, consists of people providing financial, medical, legal, religious, and emotional support to help mothers avoid the temptation to abort.
But there also is the challenge. Are these centers actually reaching women who are tempted to abort? Many report otherwise. For example, a center that said they "saw 1450 women in a year" also indicated that only 450 of these women took a pregnancy test. Of those, only 150 were actually pregnant, and of those, only 15 were considering abortion. It is certainly an integral aspect of Christian service to assist pregnant mothers who would never think about having an abortion. But the pro-life movement has to be sure that its more specific mission of stopping abortion is being fulfilled. We have to attract more abortion-minded women to our centers.
A major step being taken in this direction is the effort to convert pregnancy assistance centers to the status of medical clinics. The advantage of this is that such clinics would be under the supervision of a doctor and would be able to administer a pregnancy test, use an ultrasound machine, test for STD's, and give diagnoses. A 1999 Advanced Market Research survey indicated that just over 10% of pregnancy centers were medical clinics, but nearly half had plans to convert to that status. Most importantly, for those that did convert, the percentage of abortion-minded clients they served almost doubled, and the number of abortion-minded clients who changed their minds and chose life increased by 14%.
What, then, is needed to help this effort?
1. Become informed. Consult the National Institute of Family & Life Advocates (NIFLA) (www.nifla.org), which assists pregnancy centers to become medical clinics.
2. Pro-life physicians wanted! If you are, or know of, a physician who would be willing to volunteer some of his or her time to supervise such a medical clinic, let us know! "Supervising" does not require that the doctor actually be present at the clinic.
3. Talk up the idea! Many people can assist with legal help, adjustments in the physical facility that may be needed, ultrasound technology, and marketing.
4. Legislation is being introduced in Congress to fund such medical clinics so they can obtain the best ultrasound equipment. Inform yourself and support such legislation!
NIFLA hopes to assist 1000 pregnancy centers to convert to medical clinics by the year 2010. There is no time to waste. Lives depend on it!
Finally, there is perhaps a lesson here for all who do pro-life work. We should never become self-satisfied, and should always seek to bring the best professional practices to our movement. Defenders of child-killing have done it for decades, and we have a cause far more just!