Defending and Supporting Pregnancy Help Centers

The real reason why pregnancy help centers are so opposed by abortion zealots is because they expose one of the biggest mendacities of the abortion industry: that pro-lifers only care about the baby in the womb, not the mother, and stop caring once the baby is born.

Spray-painted messages are seen at the Mother and Child Education Center in Portland, Oregon, on June 26 after the property was vandalized by demonstrators the night of June 25.
Spray-painted messages are seen at the Mother and Child Education Center in Portland, Oregon, on June 26 after the property was vandalized by demonstrators the night of June 25. (photo: John Rudoff / AFP via Getty Images)

Since the leak of what became the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in May, pregnancy help centers — crisis pregnancy centers that help pregnant women with free medical care, ultrasounds, counseling, personal support, maternal and job training, adoption referrals and sometimes even free room and board — have come under two forms of attack. 

The first has been violence from domestic terrorist groups and pro-abortion vigilantes, as several centers across the country have been firebombed, had windows shattered, plastered with graffiti from groups like Jane’s Revenge and Ruth Sent Us, or otherwise vandalized. 

Jane’s Revenge has claimed responsibility for various arson attacks, threatening that if pregnancy help centers did not close voluntarily, it would be “open season” on them, and would result in damage worse than what can be “easily cleaned up as fire and graffiti.” They’ve left menacing messages on the outer walls of various centers: “If abortion isn’t safe, then you aren’t either.” 

The second attack has been verbal assaults from abortion promoters like Senators Elizabeth Warren, D- Mass., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who have accused pregnancy help centers of deception and torture and introduced federal legislation to try to empower the Federal Trade Commission to regulate and levy draconian fines against them. 

“In Massachusetts right now,” Warren said in early July to a Boston television station, “those crisis pregnancy centers that are there to fool people who are looking for pregnancy termination help outnumber true abortion clinics by three to one. We need to shut them down here in Massachusetts and we need to shut them down all around the country.” She added, “You should not be able to torture a pregnant person like that,” loath to use the word woman but not to insult pro-life women and men. 

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined the seemingly coordinated effort, tweeting out a danger alert on July 6 — complete with a scary “Warning!” meme emphasizing the point — stating, “Beware of crisis pregnancy centers that try to prevent people from accessing abortion care.” 

According to 2019 data from the Charlotte Lozier Institute surveying 2,132 Pregnancy Help Centers nationwide, these centers served close to 2 million people with free services and material assistance valued at more than $266 million. Altogether they offered 967,251 free consultations, 486,213 free ultrasounds, and 731,884 free pregnancy tests; 291,230 clients attended free parenting and prenatal education classes and 21,698 attended free after-abortion support and recovery sessions; 810 centers offer free STD testing, 563 free STD treatment onsite and 305 free abortion-pill reversal treatment. Nearly every location offers free material assistance like diapers, baby clothing, car seats and strollers. They’re staffed by 14,977 paid employees (25% of whom are licensed doctors and nurses) and 53,855 volunteers (12% licensed doctors and nurses). 

Though not included in the Lozier Institute data, many centers also offer free job training and referrals, help with mothers’ medical appointments throughout pregnancy, and even, when needed, process access to housing where they can stay during pregnancy and for the first several months after their baby is born. 

So why are they being attacked? Jane’s Revenge says it’s because pregnancy help centers “impersonate healthcare providers in order to harm the vulnerable.” Senator Warren has said because they try to “fool” people with lies, “misleading statements related to the provision of abortion services” and “disinformation,” and because they somehow “torture” those who enter their doors. Attorney General Healey said it was because they “prevent people from accessing abortion care.” 

What are they talking about? These critics claim that pregnancy help centers’ billboards, internet postings and telephone book entries advertising things like, “Pregnant? Need Help?” or “Considering abortion? Need help?” are misleading, because, we can assume, they believe the only help need by a pregnant woman, including one thinking about ending the life of the baby boy or girl growing within her, is the bloody end provided by Planned Parenthood. 

They also complain that some pregnancy help centers use color schemes similar to Planned Parenthood, leading some women, they say, to think that pregnancy help centers are franchises of the nation’s largest abortion provider, as if the baby colors that Planned Parenthood uses to mask its baby destruction chambers should not be used by centers that actually cherish babies and want to help children come safely to birth and life. 

Similarly critics are outraged that when pregnant women go to most pregnancy help centers, they receive ultrasounds, which show that what is growing within is not an infection, wart, clump of cells or baby orangutan, but a human being, their own flesh and blood, at the same stage of existence they themselves once were in their own mom’s womb. Studies show that 90% of moms who see the sonogram of their child choose to let their child live. 

If women are thinking about abortion, they also normally receive information about the health consequences of abortion, from the psychological trauma many women experience after abortion, to scientific studies about the link between abortion and breast cancer and other health consequences — truths that the abortion industry tries to pretend don’t exist or are fabrications, much like it tries to feign that abortions are healthcare rather than the ruthless, deliberate destruction of human life. 

The real reason why pregnancy help centers are so opposed by abortion zealots is because they expose one of the biggest mendacities of the abortion industry: that pro-lifers care only about the baby in the womb, not the mother, and stop caring once the baby is born. Pregnancy help centers — which have obviously become even more needed after Dobbs, when access to abortion will become more difficult in many jurisdictions — give compelling witness to the many ways that pro-lifers love both mom and baby not only during pregnancy but long after, especially women in financial difficulty, or who have suffered rape, incest, human trafficking, abandonment by boyfriends and family members and other horrors. 

Another mostly unspoken reason why some abortion enthusiasts oppose pregnancy help centers is because they think — like the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger — that abortion is not only a good choice for individual women, but has a good eugenic outcome for society in eliminating those children that are socially unwanted. The success of pregnancy help centers, of the ultrasounds they offer, of the Good Samaritan care they give for both mother and child, all lead to more socially “undesirable” babies being born and fewer pregnancies ending in death. In their opinion, abortion is simply a good thing — good for our “planet,” for our cities, for our economies, for “pregnant persons” and even for the victims, lest they born in deprivation. And such militants can’t stand the existence of institutions that recognize that abortion is the greatest human rights abuse of our day and are trying to work to save and help both vulnerable mothers and endangered children. 

That’s why it’s necessary for us, in the wake of Dobbs and in response to the physical, verbal and legislative attacks pregnancy help centers are undergoing, to defend them, support them, expand them, volunteer at them and help vulnerable women find them.

A billboard reads, ‘Welcome to California where abortion is safe and still legal’ on July 12 in Rancho Mirage, California. The billboard was paid for by Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. The number of travelers from outside states seeking abortions increased 900% at Planned Parenthood clinics in San Bernardino and Orange counties the week following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case.

‘Pregnant Persons’ and State Abortion Laws

A month after the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs, effectively sending the legalization of abortion back to each state to legislate, we take a look at what’s happened in the national abortion policy debate and what states to watch. Lauretta Brown, the Register national correspondent, will report. Then Senior Editor Joan Frawley Desmond discusses another intense topic: “pregnant person.” That’s right — not “pregnant women” but generic “pregnant persons.” How has the transgender movement and the pro-abortion movement conflicted over what it means to be a woman?