Providing medical services to abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable clients has proven to be an effective way not only to serve the needs of these women, but also to empower them to choose life. Through medical services such as ultrasound, these women are introduced to the humanity of their unborn children and thus bond with these children very early their pregnancies.
While there are various models available that enable a center to provide medical services to their clients, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) strongly recommends that centers convert their operations to medical clinic status and provide such medical services on site. Referrals to competent doctors are, of course, valuable to provide. However, such referrals are not as effective in reaching abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable women as providing medical services on site.
When a client is given a referral to a doctor for medical services, like ultrasound, there is no guarantee that this client will follow through with the appointment. It is certain that she will have enormous pressure to abort once she leaves the pregnancy help center. Unless she has been given compelling reasons while at the center to continue her pregnancy, she may very well succumb to this pressure by choosing abortion rather than following through on the physician referral.
Indeed, many centers report that more than 50 percent of all clients referred to a doctor for an ultrasound do not follow through with the appointment. By providing medical services, such as ultrasound on site, abortion-minded clients are immediately provided the information needed to bond with their unborn children and make the decision for life before leaving the center.
Four reasons why a pregnancy help center should seriously consider becoming a medical clinic and provide services on site are:
1. Becoming a medical clinic increases the number of abortion-minded clients served.
The number one question that needs to be answered for an abortion-minded client is: "Am I pregnant?" Until she receives an answer to this question, a discussion of further topics makes no sense. Only a medical diagnosis of pregnancy can answer this question. A self-test performed at a non-medical pregnancy center does not answer this question. In such a case, the client needs to receive a referral to a doctor who will provide a medical diagnosis. (Will she follow through on the referral or will she obtain the diagnosis from an abortion clinic or an abortion-referral agency?)
A pregnancy help center can only provide a proper answer to this question by being a medical clinic under the supervision of a licensed physician and by providing a medical diagnosis on site. When a center can legally do this, the number of abortion-minded clientele of the center will increase; it can now provide an immediate answer to the question that is on this woman's mind.
Leaders of pregnancy help centers that have converted to medical clinic status are reporting a substantial increase in the overall number of abortion-minded women served. They credit the increase in such clients to the credibility associated with being a medical clinic and with their ability to provide a diagnosis of pregnancy.
2. Becoming a medical clinic empowers abortion-minded women to choose life.
As licensed medical clinics, pregnancy help centers can provide immediate on-site services that will empower women to choose life. Primary among these services is ultrasound confirmation of pregnancy. This medical service opens to each woman a window to her womb, enabling her to see and bond with her unborn child. When this happens, abortion becomes a non-issue for most women.
Pregnancy help centers that have successfully made this conversion report dramatic increases in the numbers of abortion-minded clientele choosing life. Some centers are reporting that over 90 percent of all such clients choose life in a medical clinic setting where ultrasound is used. This is compared to only 20 percent of clients choosing life before the centers became medical clinics.
3. Becoming a medical clinic increases donor support.
Supporters of pregnancy centers want to give to a program that has results. When supporters understand the impact that "going medical" has upon the ability of the center to reduce abortions, they become excited and increase their giving. Furthermore, new donors are more easily attracted to the medical clinic model as they see its effectiveness.
Centers have reported dramatic increases in their revenue over the years as they operate as medical clinics and communicate their successes to their supporters. These centers have seen incredible jumps in giving at their annual banquets when the banquets concentrate on the power of medical clinic conversion and how it will enable the centers to reach more abortion-minded women.
4. Becoming a medical clinic increases credibility in the community.
By converting to medical clinic status, pregnancy help centers avoid the "bogus clinic" label that the abortion industry has used against them. Professionals (school nurses, social workers, doctors, and others) report that they are more willing to refer women to a bona-fide medical clinic than to a traditional pregnancy help center. The medical clinic title communicates that the institution provides professional and quality services.
NIFLA stands ready to assist pregnancy help centers in converting to medical clinic status through a variety of resources and training materials. For more information on such resources, go to their website at www.nifla.org.
Thomas A. Glessner, J.D., is president of NIFLA and can be contacted at NIFLA@aol.com.