As we approach the dawn of a new millennium, exciting challenges await the pro-life ministry of pregnancy help centers. To meet these challenges, a powerful vision has been given that will put crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) on the offense and dramatically increase their effectiveness. The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) believes that the conversion of many current CPCs to licensed medical facilities will transform their operations, making them dynamic competitors with the abortion industry for the hearts, minds, and souls of abortion-vulnerable women.
NIFLA has published a manual for centers that choose to convert to licensed medical facilities. "The Pregnancy Help Medical Clinic" contains all of the steps for converting to one of four models of operation. Included in this manual are checklists, organizational flow charts, and a sample manual of policies and procedures that will satisfy federal OSHA standards.
A major challenge to life-affirming pregnancy help centers in the next decade will be to find new methods to attract abortion-minded women. CPCs are reporting a disturbing trend. Each year, statistics reveal a decreasing number of truly abortion-vulnerable women as clients. Interestingly enough, however, there has been an increase in the number of clients who are not abortion-vulnerable, but simply want material resources such as furniture, maternity clothes, or baby accessories.
One center reported that in 1994 they had 1,200 client visits. Out of these visits, 450 pregnancy tests were given, of which 150 were positive. Out of the 150 positive pregnancy tests, only 15 clients were reported to be abortion-minded. Similar statistics are being reported by other centers around the country.
Of course, every woman in need who comes to a pregnancy help center is important, regardless of her attitude toward abortion, and should be helped. However, CPCs were originally organized to reach the abortion-minded woman and save her and her baby from abortion. The concern is that CPCs may no longer be attracting as many of their potential clients as they once did.
The good news is that leaders of CPCs that have made the conversion to medical clinics are reporting a reverse in this trend. Pro-life pregnancy help medical clinics are providing new services that attract abortion-vulnerable women, including immediate pregnancy confirmations and on-site medical attention. Further, with the use of ultrasound to confirm pregnancies and the Doppler to allow the woman to hear her baby's heartbeat, clinics find that there is often an immediate bonding between the mother and her unborn baby. That bonding between mother and baby becomes a powerful force to persuade the mother to choose life.
Three major centers in Seattle, Southern California, and Baton Rouge have converted to medical clinics and provide encouraging results. These examples are just a small sample of the success stories.
- Seattle: Life Choices of King County converted their pregnancy help centers to medical clinics two years ago. Their clinic statistics for the first year reveal:
*A 40 percent increase in the number of women seeking a pregnancy test.
*85 percent of those who came for a pregnancy test were seriously considering abortion.
*The abortion rate in King county was reduced 12 percent in the areas where pregnancy help medical clinics are located.
*100 percent of the men who were pressuring their girlfriends or wives to abort changed their minds after seeing their unborn child on the ultrasound screen.
- Southern California: The Right to Life League of Southern California operates 14 pregnancy help centers. In 1990, their center in Torrance was converted to a medical clinic. Some of the significant results are:
*In 1990, prior to conversion, the center saw a total of 381 clients. In 1994, they saw 1,119 clients -- a 194 percent increase.
*In 1990, the center received 1,652 calls on their 24-hour emergency hotline. In 1994, after becoming a medical clinic, they received 2,579 -- a 56 percent increase.
*Between 1990 and 1994, a 300 percent increase was seen in the number of women who were considering abortion but changed their minds after coming into the clinic.
- Baton Rouge: The pregnancy help center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, converted to a medical clinic in 1993. The clinic will see only abortion-minded or abortion-vulnerable patients. The physician uses a Doppler to detect the baby's heartbeat. The clinic reports that 100 percent of the clients who heard their babies' heartbeats have chosen life. This clinic has recently obtained an ultrasound machine and will now be offering free sonograms to abortion-minded women.
The Conversion Process
NIFLA has published a manual for centers that choose to convert to licensed medical facilities. "The Pregnancy Help Medical Clinic" contains all of the steps for converting to one of four models of operation. Included in this manual are checklists, organizational flow charts, and a sample manual of policies and procedures that will satisfy federal OSHA standards. This publication comes with a disk for your computer so that you will have the policies and procedures manual at the push of a button. In addition, throughout the year several training conferences are conducted by NIFLA to provide centers with the steps and details of the transformation.
Center board members and directors often are pleased to learn that the expense of conversion is not as great as they had assumed. In fact, the plan can work for nearly any center, regardless of its size of operation.
Our mission in the days ahead will be to challenge the abortion industry for the hearts and minds of abortion-minded women.
There are approximately 3,000 pro-life pregnancy help centers in the United States today. Imagine the impact we could have on the abortion numbers in this country if, by the end of the decade, 1,000 of these centers converted to medical clinics and were using such tools as the ultrasound and the Doppler to enable abortion-minded women to see and hear the life within them? Is it possible that we could convert these centers to medical clinics by the end of 2010? NIFLA believes that it is. Is it possible to develop them to such a degree that, on average, they would each be seeing 1,500 abortion-vulnerable women a year or a combined total of 1,500,000 annually? NIFLA believes that it is! The results would be a dramatic reduction in the number of abortions, money taken away from the coffers of the abortion industry, millions of lives saved, and parents and children brought into the family of God.
Thomas Glessner is the President of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates. For details, contact NIFLA, P. O. Box 42060, Fredericksburg, VA 22404, phone: (540) 785-9853.