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Determining Whether to “Go Medical” -- A Board Assessment Survey

January 2003
By: Thomas Glessner

Pregnancy help medical clinics are surfacing as one of the most powerful tools in reaching abortion-vulnerable women. Life-affirming medical clinics are obtaining exceptional results in the following areas:

• Increasing the overall number of clients
• Attracting more abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable women
• Empowering women to choose life
• Increasing donor support
• Gaining credibility in the community

Many centers around the country are now wrestling with the prospect of converting to medical clinics. Many questions arise during this decision-making process. The survey contained in this article is meant to provide guidance for boards of pregnancy help centers in making the decision whether or not to "go medical."

The Board Survey

When determining whether or not to convert operations into a medical clinic, the board of directors of the center should conduct the following survey. When undertaking this internal assessment, the board of directors and staff should set aside a complete day for evaluation and planning. Perhaps a one-day retreat would enhance discussion and honest, critical thinking. The goal of this time should be to critically analyze the present effectiveness of the center and to seriously plan for the future.

In making this assessment the board should ask and answer these questions:

1. Client Visitation

How many clients are being seen on a monthly basis?

Of these, how many are abortion-minded or abortion-vulnerable?

Has the number of abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable clients been increasing or decreasing over the last two years?

Of the total number seen each month, how many are hoping for a positive test?

2. Client Calls

How many abortion-minded or abortion-vulnerable women call on the 24-hour hotline every month?

Of these, how many make an appointment?

Of these, how many actually come into the center for the appointment?

Have these numbers been increasing or decreasing over the last two years?

3. Client Decisions

Of all abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable women seen each month, how many are choosing life?

Has this number been increasing or decreasing over the last two years?

4. Client Services

How many client visits each month are for support services only, such as maternity clothes and baby accessories?

Has this number been increasing or decreasing over the last two years?

These questions deal with the issue of whether or not your center is attracting and serving abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable women. Many centers around the nation have reported a disturbing trend that they are seeing a decreasing number of abortion- minded clients each year. Centers that have converted their operations to medical clinics, however, report that they are attracting at-risk clients in record numbers. By providing increased medical services on site, pregnancy help centers attract more women in crises, and these women are more likely to schedule and keep appointments.

If your center has seen a two-year trend of decreasing numbers of at-risk clients, perhaps it should seriously consider converting its operations into a medical clinic.

NIFLA has produced The Life Choice Project (TLC), a program to help centers "go medical." The TLC package has all the resources necessary for your center to make the conversion to medical clinic status. Included in this package is a trained consultant who has successfully converted a pregnancy center into a medical clinic. In addition, training in ultrasound is available for your nurses, and a discount may be obtained on new ultrasound equipment.

For more information on TLC, contact Beth Chase, director of TLC, at 206-321-9580 or contact the NIFLA office at 540-785-9853. You may also obtain information on TLC at NIFLA's web site, www.nifla.org.

Thomas A. Glessner, J.D., is president of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA).



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