Saturday, 23 September 2023
Pregnancy help especially crucial in tough financial times Anna Shvets/Pexels

Pregnancy help especially crucial in tough financial times

The financial and material benefit provided by pregnancy help centers in the U.S. is especially helpful to clients during times of inflation, which reached over 40-year highs in 2022. 

The consumer price index (CPI) 12-month inflation rate topped 9% for all items in June 2022. The inflation rate for basic items was even higher. Food prices were up over 10%. Gasoline prices increased nearly 60%. Electricity prices increased over 13%. And gas utility prices were up over 38%. 

The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), the research arm of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, released the fact sheet, Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers Deliver Real-World Results, earlier this year. The content was compiled from CLI’s 2020: Pregnancy Centers Stand the Test of Time, an extensive study of approximately 2,700 pregnancy help centers in the U.S. 

Considering current events, key figures in these documents are as relevant today as ever.

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In 2019, approximately 2 million men, women, and youth received a total value of support of $270 million from pregnancy help organizations, provided to clients at little to no cost. 

The tangible support provided by pregnancy centers included “medical care and referrals, education, mentoring, and material support including diapers, car seats, and clothing.”

“Financial hardship, which has increasingly impacted families across the U.S. due to the rising cost of living, can limit access to essential resources and medical care,” said Tracie Shellhouse, vice president of ministry services with Heartbeat International. 

Heartbeat is the largest network of pregnancy help in the U.S. and the world.

“For more than five decades, men, women, and families have received support worth billions of dollars through free services, programs, and material help provided by pregnancy help centers,” Shellhouse said. 

“Women should never feel forced to abort because they lack support," she said. “Pregnancy help centers offer help that enables them to choose options other than abortion. I cannot comprehend why many who promote abortion oppose women having access to ‘choose’ services freely provided by pregnancy help centers.”

Tweet This: Women should never feel forced to abort because they lack support. Pregnancy help enables them to choose options other than abortion.

Data from the CLI fact sheet also corrects recent political narratives hostile to the pregnancy help movement. 

Following the June 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision, which returned the matter of abortion back to the states, several Members of Congress criticized pregnancy help centers. 

For example, in September 2022, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and several colleagues sent a letter to Heartbeat International

The letter asserted: “your organization and its affiliate CPCs are not legitimate medical providers.” 

However, the CLI study revealed that 79% of U.S. pregnancy centers are “medical” (p. 71) and “In 2019, 10,215 licensed medical staff and medical volunteers were providing care at pregnancy center locations around the United States.” (p. 26) 

The study also states:

Medical pregnancy centers or clinics perform limited ultrasounds in accordance with specific standards and guidelines set forth by medical professional bodies, including the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM); Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN); the American College of Radiology (ACR); and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Under these guidelines a limited ultrasound may be performed to “confirm the presence of an intrauterine pregnancy,” which addresses the primary reason a woman visits a pregnancy center. (p. 33)

The latest abortion data reveals that the abortion pill, or “chemical abortion,” now accounts for more than half of all abortions in the U.S

This figure could potentially increase. 

In December 2021, the FDA removed the in-person requirement to obtain abortion pill drugs. In January, the FDA permitted retail pharmacies to sell abortion pill drugs. While the FDA's approval of the abortion pill currently remains at the center of a lawsuit expected to go to the Supreme Court, the drug's prevalence is forecast to continue to rise. An increase in abortion pill consumption could increase the need for abortion pill reversal (APR) provided by pregnancy help centers and Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN), managed by Heartbeat International.

The 2020 CLI study lists APR as an “emerging outreach” provided by pregnancy centers. As of 2019, over 300 pregnancy centers provided APR services. The latest statistics from the APRN show that more than 4,000 lives and counting have been saved thanks to abortion pill reversal. 

The numbers on pregnancy help, especially viewed against the backdrop of current economic headlines further highlight the value of pregnancy help centers and their commitment to the ongoing and changing needs of men, women, and children in their communities.

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.

Sam Entile

Sam Entile is the marketing director at Waterleaf Women's Center. His additional experience includes author of Hollow Anchors of Morality, blogger at The Catholic Voyager, and creator of family-friendly Tile Comics. He has been active in the pro-life movement for several years.

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