Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and published author of The Book of Helen. She lives just outside of Washington, DC with her husband and their ten children.
It began with a question in my mind. Anyone on any side of the abortion discussion knows who to call if one wants to commit an abortion. But who do you call if you need help but don’t want an abortion? I knew a few pregnancy centers in my area, but what I really thought was, if we’re going to be pro-life, each of us needs to know the names and missions of our allies, as well as the name of the one we oppose.
Those who want to save the life of the unborn, and provide support to the mother with that child, do not operate under a single brand name, so I Googled to find out what resources were in my area.
Initial results showed three pregnancy centers in my area — but again, this felt singular, cold. Having three listings in the area wasn’t what we needed. We don’t have a singular brand name, because many of the efforts to help the unborn are ministries centered on a local need, and are often faith-based. As such, they are as individual as the souls who organize and run them.
What we needed was a national listing, a directory of places we could give people to show them that there were whole communities wanting to help. A centralized directory of pro-life services seemed like something the internet was made for, but it took some research just to begin the process. The search revealed many listings of listings. Here are the ones that stood out.
I found Lifecall.org, a site with a beautiful mission and story. They provide listings of shelters and pregnancy homes by state. The 2014 movie “Gimme Shelter” tells the story of how the women in the homes live out that mission. I’d found more in my area than I knew before, but none of them were so proximate as to be as convenient. The website didn’t pull up properly on my computer, but the text said to call the places and ask the people there for further referrals. I would have liked a time stamp on the site, to ensure the information was current. The question remained: What if the places listed didn’t have any room in the inn? What then? They did have a link to other shelters, and even to shelters that worked with women who struggled with drug addictions.
Care-Net.org has affiliated Pregnancy Care Centers, places women can go to get free pregnancy tests and options counseling. The Carenet Centers have a strict set of standards as to what they will not do, but the services they provide depend upon the location. These services may include limited ultrasounds, Bible-study classes, support and peer groups and parenting programs, as well as community referrals and resources for material assistance with diapers, maternity clothing, and baby equipment like strollers, cribs and car seats.
But accessing these places took some navigation of the site, as the initial page focuses on teaching people how to advocate for the unborn. It took several clicks to find the magic button, “Find a pregnancy center.”