Roderick (Rod) Murphy has been running Problem Pregnancy Center of Worcester, Mass., so successfully for decades he hopes his model will be used nationally to save babies from abortion.
He has written a book for opening and running such centers — Stopping Abortions at Death’s Door (Taig Publishing; available through Amazon) — and personally guides people under the Frontline Life Centers banner. He spoke to the Register about his idea.
Tell us about your successful crisis-pregnancy center.
Problem Pregnancy of Worcester (ProblemPregnancy.org) has been across the street from Planned Parenthood for 31 years. We moved three times when they moved.
We have developed a method of saving babies. Planned Parenthood kills about 2,500 in Worcester a year. We save about 200 or more a year. We’re very successful.
We do this with all volunteers and sidewalk counselors. Nobody gets paid. Nobody gets a nickel — ever. We’re open six days a week with volunteers.
The money we raise we use to help the women with their real problems.
They are going to get thrown out of the house if they don’t get abortions. We help get them to a maternity home here. Or we pay for the rent [for an apartment] for them or pay for tuition or, in some situations, for a plane flight to be with their mothers.
This kind of a plan has worked for us for 30-something years.
How are you exporting your successful plan and model to start or help others start free pregnancy centers?
I travel and talk to people in various places. I wrote a book about this. People call me because of it. So I started this organization called Frontline Life Centers to help others.
Where have you brought the Frontline Life Centers model?
We started one in Springfield, Mass., with the Pioneer Valley pro-life groups. It’s called New Woman’s Center in Springfield. Then I helped to start one in Manchester, N.H., called the Pennacook Pregnancy Center, across the street from Planned Parenthood.
Even though they are modeled on Frontline Life Centers, they choose their own names?
All these crisis-pregnancy centers are independent and run by the people in their cities.
Where else are you bringing your ideas and expertise beyond New England?
People email and call to ask questions. We were in Indianapolis after people called and asked me: "Can you tell us what to do?"
Recently, I spoke in Plattsburg, N.Y., at a kick-off dinner for 40 Days for Life. We’re trying to open a pregnancy center there, in a building available next to Planned Parenthood. I’ve been talking with people in Bradenton and Tampa, Fla.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Norwich, Conn.; and Fairbanks, Alaska.
Your book, Stopping Abortions at Death’s Door, is like a how-to manual to start a pregnancy center. Is it difficult to start one?
The idea is you can start lean because you do not need a whole lot of money. You rent the space, and I can help negotiate with real estate agents or help set up a nonprofit corporation and get the insurance. That’s what I’ve been doing. It’s all in my book.
We need to get the money [donations]. These people usually don’t have much money, and they need cash. In Manchester, N.H., we paid the first month’s rent.
What’s mostly necessary for people who want to start a crisis-pregnancy center is that they’ve got to believe they can do it. I tell them to have confidence.
Besides your book and talks, how do you help people gain such confidence?
Frontline Life Centers trains their counselors in Worcester. They shadow our counselors, so they get "battle training."
What is the biggest problem? Donations?
People keep asking me for money, for help. In August, in Toronto, we gave $1,000 because they [the crisis-pregnancy center] are trying to move to another location closer to the abortion site there. That was the first check I gave them.
So I necessarily need … people who are interested in helping me [through donations].
What else is a major part of your Worcester headquarters?
We’re almost all Catholic, and we have a chapel in the building with the Eucharist there 24-7. All the bishops here have liked us. We’re peaceful — but no pushovers.
Joseph Pronechen is a Register staff writer.
Or write to: Frontline Life Centers, PO Box 7422, Worcester, MA 01605-7422