Pregnancy Center Attacks Harm Women in Need | Opinion

Last week, pregnancy center staff in Asheville, North Carolina, arrived to see the words "if abortions aren't safe, neither are you" scrawled across the side of the building in red, and other menacing messages spray painted on windows and doors. A center in Buffalo was firebombed, its windows smashed, the office destroyed by fire and ash. Heads of the Democratic Party aren't saying anything to stop the terrorism.

"I want to tell you, [Justice Neil] Gorsuch. I want to tell you, [Justice Brett] Kavanaugh," said Senator Chuck Schumer in a recently resurfaced video from 2020. "You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price."

Activists have taken him literally. These attacks are the latest in a string of terrorist acts against pro-life centers, including at least three firebombings claimed by radical pro-choice activist groups in recent weeks.

The attackers associate pregnancy centers with the pending Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, though most of their staff aren't involved in the political side of things. Far from sitting back to celebrate a SCOTUS victory, pro-life advocates are hyper-focused on providing for women, just as they always have been. For them, the work doesn't stop—it increases.

As abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood close en masse in abortion-restrictive states, pregnancy centers open and expand access to care like never before. For this sin, they have become the targets of radical groups like Jane's Revenge and Ruth Sent Us.

The threats will not deter pro-lifers from loving and serving women. In Texas, the Prestonwood Pregnancy Center recently opened new locations, offering pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD testing, educational classes, counseling, and other services.

Already, these pregnancy centers were the only place many women could get free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, references and material resources like diapers and formula. Abortion clinic counterparts like Planned Parenthood turn away women who request complementary help. As one pregnancy center director told me, "some clients walk in here because they can't afford an appointment at the local abortion clinic."

Multiple potential Planned Parenthood clients echoed similar stories of non-accommodation in comments on a recent TikTok video. "I went to [Planned Parenthood] when I was pregnant and they asked if I wanted to keep him," said one woman. "I said yes, of course, and they told me to go elsewhere."

In blue states, abortion clinics will continue to offer more of the same, and the procedure will remain widely available. In Illinois, now deemed an abortion "safe haven," 75 percent of patients at the Planned Parenthood nearest O'Hare Airport come in from out of state.

Abortion protest Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court is seen past the sign of an anti-abortion protestor in Washington, DC, on June 6, 2022. Stefani Reynolds / AFP/Getty Images

With the prevalence of the abortion pill, which is more widely accessible than ever before, abortion numbers will remain high nationwide. Yet activists are so enraged by state restrictions, they're willing to destroy facilities that provide critical aid to women in need, most of whom want to keep their babies.

When they're not fending off radical activists, pro-life organizations are busy crafting new services and legislation to empower women as they look toward a post-Roe world. According to a survey of clientele from Human Coalition, most women considering abortion say they would prefer to parent "if their life circumstances were different." Thanks to the pro-life movement, these alternative circumstances are manifesting in the form of innovative technology and comprehensive networks to ensure care and resources are prevalent and easily accessible.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America is launching an initiative called "Her Pregnancy and Life Assistance" to help pregnant women find the medical, social, and material support they need. This will include a database website with local resources, networks, connections, and child care.

Human Coalition, meanwhile, is working to pass Every Mother Matters legislation in every state, aiming to ensure access to assistance programs for at-risk pregnant women. The organization is also launching a comprehensive resource app that will connect women with local centers, material goods, funding sources, government programs, and more, making it easy for women to find and access things they need.

Care-net, the nation's largest umbrella network of pregnancy centers, recently launched Making Life Disciples, a massive effort to connect every church with a local pregnancy center. It hopes to reinforce every center with larger, more sustainable support systems via churches that can offer wide pools of support to women with deeper, long-term needs.

Other inventive ways of meeting needs for women include programs to "sponsor a baby," which provide free resources and counseling for moms, and centers that regularly compile Amazon wish lists for moms (which are often filled within minutes.) There are also maternity homes, local support groups, and government grants available with counselors willing and able to help navigate the process.

These kinds of grassroots solutions are the lifeblood of the movement and illustrate the kinds of sustainable programs unencumbered by political whims. Combined with bipartisan policies on innovative paid leave legislation and the Medicaid Children's Health Insurance, this means both sides can work together on maternal health regardless of Roe's status.

Attacking pregnancy centers creates a culture of fear and impedes the empowering work they do to provide families with necessary parenting tools. The work of pro-life organizations directs desperately needed resources toward women in need.

It's time for both sides to condemn the terrorism against pregnancy centers and assist those who are doing the hard work that ensures women thrive in motherhood, expected or not.

Ericka Andersen is a freelance writer in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the author of the upcoming title Reason to Return: Why Women Need the Church and the Church Needs Women. You can find her work at ErickaAndersen.com.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.