The Need for Pregnancy Resource Centers
Stanton Healthcare Belfast is the main Pregnancy Resource Centre in Northern Ireland. In this article, Ingrid Skop M.D., an ob-gyn, explains why the services provided by these centres are so important...
As an obstetrician and gynecologist practicing for over 30 years, delivering over 5,000 babies, I have cared for many women with unintended pregnancies. The creation of a child is often a surprise for a couple, but for the majority, the surprise quickly gives way to pleasant anticipation of the coming baby. For women who may be experiencing an unstable relationship or financial or other social struggles, however, this news may initially appear to be a crisis. That’s where the vital work of pregnancy resource centers comes in, providing the material, medical, and emotional resources women need to continue their pregnancies with courage and hope.
The abortion industry, by contrast, preys on women facing unintended pregnancies, promoting abortion as the only solution and promising it will reset the clock and erase the difficult circumstances. I have seen far too many women make the rushed decision of ending the lives of their unborn children, only to experience regret later, often accompanied by mental health complications such as anxiety, depression, substance and alcohol abuse, and even self-harm.
Yet, a recent peer-reviewed study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that 60% of women surveyed who chose abortion would have instead preferred to have given birth to their child if they had received more support from others or had more financial security. Almost one-fourth of the women described their abortion as “unwanted or coerced” and 43% described their abortion as “accepted but inconsistent with their values.” Hence, the critical need for pregnancy centers that provide resources to support women in crisis pregnancies.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute, in collaboration with Care Net, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates and Heartbeat International, recently released results from its report on the work of U.S. pregnancy resource centers titled “Hope for a New Generation.” The report shows just how extensive the resources and services provided by 2,750 pro-life pregnancy centers are. In 2022 alone, centers met with clients more than 16 million times, provided goods and services valuing $358 million, and served nearly 975,000 new clients. Pregnancy tests, wipes, formula, baby diapers, parenting education and ultrasounds were provided at no cost. Of those served, 97% reported a positive experience.
I have been personally involved with a local pregnancy center, Any Woman Can, as a board member and medical director for a decade. Most importantly, I have utilized AWC’s resources for my patients when they have come to me in distress with an unanticipated pregnancy and uncertainty about what to do next. Just as the other approximately 3,000 pregnancy centers around the U.S. do, AWC comes alongside these women in their crises.
In some cases, a woman may present to a pregnancy resource center for help after she has consumed the first pill in the dangerous abortion drug regimen but regretted her decision. In that circumstance, high dose progesterone has been proven to stop the progesterone-blocking effect of mifepristone and allow many pregnancies to continue to live birth. Pregnancy centers can refer to a local pro-life physician who can provide that intervention.
AWC and other pregnancy centers also provide emotional support, giving the woman a shoulder to cry on as she considers her situation. They also give support to the baby’s father, who may be young or financially insecure, desiring to meet his responsibilities as a father but unsure how to do so. In addition to the abundance of material resources mentioned previously, many centers provide relationship counseling, mental health counseling and parenting classes to ensure the young woman or couple are healthy and prepared to care for the new child.
Many centers will help women navigate the often-confusing network of governmental support agencies such as Medicaid insurance for prenatal care and WIC for nutritional supplementation. They can even refer to local non-profits for other needs such as housing assistance or substance abuse treatment.
Needless to say, I have seen just how invaluable these pregnancy resource centers have been for mothers in need.
I love caring for both my patients—a woman and her unborn child. I am grateful to have the opportunity to provide clarity for women in the crisis of an unintended pregnancy and that I have excellent local pregnancy resource centers to assist me in this work. These beautiful organizations walk alongside my patients, saving the life of the unborn child and potentially saving the emotional, mental, and even physical health of the mother.
For more information on the work of Stanton Healthcare, please contact 028 9033 2882; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or log on to StantonBelfast.org