Pregnancy help centers in the U.S. were responsible for saving more than three-quarters of a million lives at risk for abortion in a five-year time span, a new report says.
In June, Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) released a report from data collected during a five-year period that highlights the positive impacts pro-life pregnancy centers have on women, families, and unborn lives.
The study found that "since 2016 more than 800,000 human lives have been saved through the community-based care of pro-life pregnancy centers, which provide local women with tangible support to address challenges related to pregnancy."
“More than any other group, pro-life pregnancy centers are best equipped to support women facing unintended pregnancies in a post-Roe America,” said CLI associate scholar Moira Gaul.
The report, “Lives Saved Impact at U.S. Pregnancy Help Centers,” covered the years 2016 to 2020 with data collected from pregnancy centers affiliated with Heartbeat International, Care Net, and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). Within that time, CLI researchers discovered an estimated 828,131 unborn lives were saved from abortion from the services and programs offered by pro-life pregnancy centers, such as medical-grade pregnancy tests, limited obstetrical ultrasound, abortion pill reversal, lay counseling, and in-house and community resources.
“On average, pregnancy centers consistently have client satisfaction rates over 95% leading to many ‘word-of-mouth’ referrals to pro-life pregnancy centers,” said Gaul, lead author of the analysis, “meaning that the 800,000 lives saved just since 2016 represent a significant number of women who received support and then told their friends and families about the compassionate and cost-free care they received.”
CLI's research found that currently there are more than 2,700 pro-life pregnancy centers providing support for pregnant women, including offering medical care and referrals, education, mentoring, and material support. This community-based support is offered through nearly 15,000 staff and almost 54,000 volunteers, including 10,200 licensed medical professionals (both staff and volunteers).
Ultrasounds, fathers are key in pregnancy decisions
Providing ultrasound offers increased opportunity to help save unborn lives, the study noted. Choosing life without an ultrasound happens with abortion-minded women 26 percent of the time, but with ultrasound the percentage increases to 46 percent.
The father of the baby plays a key role in many pregnancy decisions. When an ultrasound was conducted and the father of the child was present, 52 percent of abortion-minded women chose life, according to the study.
Ultrasound and presence of the father are critical elements in a woman’s decision, agreed Beth Diemert, Heartbeat International’s director of Affiliate Services.
“Having a verification of a viable pregnancy is a much-needed service for a woman in an unexpected pregnancy, especially if she's in a decision-making process, giving her a realistic picture of what's happening inside of her,” Diemert said. “And not just sounds, but to actually be able to view that baby.”
“And the father – I’ve seen as high as 84 percent of women say they would have made a different decision if the father of the baby was involved and supportive,” said Diemert. “So, centers opening their doors to fathers of the baby, with services for him and being able to have him present at the ultrasound, are other ways that we serve clients to give them all that they need when they're making their decision.”
Why women abort
Within the report, researchers noted women generally offer six different reasons for choosing abortion:
1. Interference with school or career and therefore, not ready for a child (or an additional child)
2. Financial struggle
3. Single motherhood and/or relationship difficulties
4. Health of woman and/or unborn child
5. Negative opinions and perceptions about adoption.
6. [Negative] Opinions on adoption
Many of those fears and concerns are alleviated with the help of pro-life pregnancy centers.
“Provided with access to care, tangible resources, information, advocacy, and targeted referrals, countless mothers have shared their stories about how they are very thankful they decided to have their babies and are flourishing even through the most difficult circumstances,” CLI’s report said.
The number of pregnancy centers has increased across the world in recent years, with Heartbeat noting a rise in affiliate numbers, and that also contributes to the number of lives saved and the number of women and families helped when an unplanned pregnancy occurs.
“We've seen such tremendous growth in the number of centers and the number of women that centers are serving, abortion is not needed,” Diemert said.
APR adds to lives saved
Centers offering abortion pill reversal and the number of physicians providing that service has also increased tremendously during the past few years, the CLI reported noted. This service offers women another choice – the opportunity to save her unborn after taking the first abortion pill.
The number of medical professionals providing APR grew from 400 in 2017 to more than 1,100 this year, according to the CLI report.
In 2017 about 150 unborn lives were saved through APR, and in 2021 the number of babies saved through the progesterone protocol jumped to 1,000.
To date, nearly 3,000 babies have been born thanks to APR during the past decade, CLI’s report indicated. The Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN), managed by Heartbeat International, has that number currently topping 3,000.
“Women report when they call the abortion pill rescue network hotline that they regret having taken that first pill, and we have the ability to serve them in a reversal process should they choose to do that,” Diemert said. “We have providers all over the country that make that happen along with pregnancy centers working hand-in-hand, and we're seeing a 64 to 68 percent success rate with reversals.”
The significant increase in lives saved through APR during the past few years “is a result of us being gifted the APR reversal process by Dr. George Delgado and enacting it with Option Line so that people are able to access that service hotline as opposed to one doctor's office,” Diemert added.
Helping women and men choose life
As more services and programs are added to pregnancy centers’ provisions to help women and families, including fatherhood programs and mentoring young women, partnerships are formed with churches which include programs like Embrace Grace, alliances with civic and local entities, such as housing options and career and educational opportunities, more women will find help and hope to continue their pregnancies.
“Medical professionals and workers at these PHC locations are readying to meet the increased needs in a post-Roe America to help embrace a culture of Life,” CLI’s report concluded.
“The report is a tangible piece of evidence to the good work that pregnancy help centers do,” Diemert said. “This data shows the power and value of pregnancy help.”
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Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.