Families, religious institutions and friends have been helping women with unplanned pregnancies since people started planning to have children. The help given, its effectiveness and the lives of children have been a mainstay of English literature.
When states began to legalize abortion in the 1960s, nonprofit and often religious organizations opposed to abortion offered an alternative. These crisis pregnancy centers, or pro-life pregnancy centers as they are increasingly called, provide women with unplanned pregnancies with the support they need to give birth to their children to raise on their own or by adoptive parents.
Christine Thornley, executive director of Crisis Pregnancy in Egg Harbor City, said providing an alternative to abortion is a vital service. “The main reason people turn to abortion is because they feel alone and no one is there to help them, but we are,” she said.
Her center and the Hope Pregnancy Centers in Ocean City and North Cape May are non-profit, faith-based organizations operating as social services. Among the free items they provide to expectant mothers or mothers are pregnancy tests, diapers, baby clothes and accessories, most of which have been donated. They are also ready to meet their spiritual and emotional needs.
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There are about 3,000 pregnancy centers in the United States, including the mobile medical units they operate, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of Susan B. Anthony List, a nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce and eventually end abortion. . A 2017 survey found that the centers provided free services to almost 2 million people.
The centers performed a free ultrasound of the unborn child for nearly half a million clients that year. Ultrasounds have recently been added to the services available at Hope Pregnancy Centers, which are affiliated with the Options for Women Crisis Pregnancy Center in Cherry Hill.
The centers also offer parenting and prenatal education classes, post-abortion support for women, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases often accompanied by on-site treatment.
According to the Lozier Institute, a quarter of the 15,000 paid staff at pro-life pregnancy centers are licensed medical professionals. Another 54,000 people work there as volunteers, 12% of whom are licensed healthcare professionals.
Centres, including those in South Jersey, provide referrals to social service agencies and non-profit organizations for help in areas such as housing, addiction recovery, adoption, food insecurity and free or low-cost health care.
They do not offer abortion referrals.
In the decades-long war over legalized abortion in America, women with unplanned pregnancies are the battleground and the opposing forces are abortion providers on one side and pro-life pregnancy centers on the other. ‘other.
At the behest of legal abortion advocates, in 2015 California ordered pregnancy centers to educate their clients on how to obtain free or low-cost abortions. It was struck down as an unconstitutional restriction on free speech by the US Supreme Court in 2019, and similar laws in other states have been struck down at the federal level.
Pregnancy centers and legal abortion clinics provide all the services desired by many women. Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision on the current challenge to federally legalized abortion, pregnancy termination procedures seem sure to remain popular and widely available.
Surveys have revealed that clients of pro-life pregnancy centers are extremely satisfied with their experiences. Those affiliated with Care Net and Heartbeat International — which comprises two-thirds of U.S. pregnancy centers — in 2019 had exit survey satisfaction rates above 99%.
Pregnancy centers will surely remain a beloved and familiar part of America too.