PHOTO BY TOM WEIGAND
Many centers are acknowledging frustration over the fact that their ministries are becoming more social welfare agencies than cutting edge forces to reduce abortion.
During the past decade, pregnancy help centers have reported that they are seeing fewer abortion-minded women annually. They also report an increase in the total number of women seeking services other than pregnancy tests. The mission of pregnancy help centers is to reach abortion-minded women and provide them with life-affirming alternatives to abortion. However, many centers are acknowledging frustration over the fact that their ministries are becoming more social welfare agencies than cutting-edge forces to reduce abortion.
The exciting news is, however, that when pregnancy help centers convert to medical clinics, this trend is reversed. Centers that add ultrasound, pregnancy diagnosis, and other medical services are attracting more abortion-minded women. After a pregnancy center makes the conversion to a medical clinic, it is better able to compete with abortion clinics because it now offers medical services desired by women contemplating abortion. Through the use of ultrasound, a window to the womb is opened so that these women will bond with their unborn babies and choose life.
The Life Choice Project
The Life Choice (TLC) Project is an initiative of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) to convert pregnancy help centers to medical clinics, enabling them to offer ultrasound, pregnancy diagnosis, and other medical services. The conversion of pregnancy help centers to medical clinics has resulted in their seeing an increase of abortion-minded clients and an increase in the number of those clients choosing life.
TLC offers to pregnancy help centers all the essential resources to successfully convert to medical clinic status. Included in the TLC package are: an ultrasound machine with all accessories, a medical clinic conversion manual, a compilation of policies and procedures, specialized ultrasound training for nursing staff, ongoing consultation on medical clinic conversion, consultation on fundraising, and medical malpractice insurance at a reasonable price.
The following are examples of the results of conversions to medical clinics:
Dallas, Texas — The Pregnancy Resource Center of Dallas converted to medical clinic status in 1998. Since then, they have reported a 66% increase in the total number of clients, a 74% increase in the number of pregnancy tests, a 151% increase in abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable clients, and a 243% increase in the number of clients that carry to term.
Columbus, Ohio — Located in a city with university students, this center estimates that prior to its becoming a medical clinic, 80% of abortion-minded clients chose abortion after counseling and education only. Now, after receiving an ultrasound and a free physician consultation, of those clients whose pregnancy outcomes can be documented, approximately 90% choose life.
Seattle, Washington — Life Choices of King County began offering ultrasound in 1994. In 1998 they completed a study of 78 abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable clients who received an ultrasound that year. Of this number, 70% chose to carry to term. In contrast, 50% of all pregnancies in Seattle end in abortion each year.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana — Loving To Care Ministries in Baton Rouge has for nine years been a pioneer and leader in the movement to encourage pregnancy help centers provide medical services. This center reports that 98% of their abortion-minded clients who receive an ultrasound examination choose life.
Imagine the impact if 1,000 pregnancy help centers convert to medical clinic status by the year 2010 and if each medical clinic sees an average 1,500 abortion-minded women a year. If we achieve this goal, 1.5 million abortion-minded women each year will receive life-affirming medical services, such as ultrasound. By opening up the windows to the wombs for these women, such medical clinics will dramatically reduce the numbers of abortions occurring annually.
Author Randy Alcorn recently endorsed TLC saying:
I have a great love and respect for the work pregnancy help centers are doing all over the country. I had the privilege of serving on the board of a local center for four years. Converting these centers to medical clinic status through The Life Choice Project is a tremendous way of increasing the possibility of saving many more babies' lives.
A friend of mine, an ultrasound nurse at her center in Georgia, shared the following story:
I came in and began to scan Brooke. Her baby was most cooperative to show even her mom's untrained eye that she was alive, very active, and doing well inside of Brooke. She opened and closed her mouth, had the hiccups, laid back as if in a beach chair, stretching her little legs. She even held up hands so Brooke could count her fingers. Brooke was visibly touched realizing the life inside her.
When the scan was over I asked Brooke what her plans were. She replied, "I am going to have my baby." I asked if the scan made a difference. She said, "Big time. I just came in here for a pregnancy verification to go have an abortion." She now knew that indeed she was carrying a child, not just a mass of tissue as imagined.
This story made me even more a believer in the merit of ultrasound, bonding the mother's heart to that of her baby.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mr. Glessner is the president of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (www.nifla.org).