Pregnancy Centers in Virginia and Nationwide Deserve Recognition, Respect

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The pregnancy center community is one of the most essential aspects of the pro-life movement in our society today. In a culture that widely embraces a woman’s so-called right to choose, pregnancy centers offer encouragement and support that can empower women to choose life for their unborn children. 

Virginia is blessed with numerous pro-life pregnancy centers that help support women and their babies. While the work these centers do is invaluable in the eyes of heaven and not able to be reduced to pure statistics, here are some of their national accomplishments by the numbers according to the Virginia Pregnancy Center Association’s 2019-2020 Impact Report

  • Virginia pregnancy centers and medical clinics provided local communities with over $2.9 million in free services in 2019; in addition, more than 14,000 women were served.
  • From 2019-2020, Virginia pregnancy centers also gave over 8,500 free pregnancy tests to women. 
  • Over 5,800 ultrasounds and 1,200 STI tests were performed by licensed medical professionals at Virginia pregnancy centers. 
  • Close to 5,000 parenting and life skills classes were provided to women and their partners. 
  • Over 160,000 essential supplies such as baby diapers, wipes, prenatal vitamins, and clothing were provided to women and their babies. 
  • In addition, 54,000 volunteer hours from over 1,100 volunteers — including more than 100 licensed medical professionals — were donated to Virginia pregnancy centers from 2019 through 2020. 

Despite this, pro-life pregnancy centers in Virginia faced a recent attack from the national pro-abortion advocacy group, NARAL, in the Virginia branch of NARAL’s recent report entitledFake Clinics Lie.” But the truth is that the good work and positive impact of Virginia’s pro-life pregnancy centers is anything but “fake.” 

As the National Institute of Family and Life Advocate’s Vice President of Legal Affairs recently stated, pro-life centers and medical clinics provide communities with vital resources.

Pregnancy centers provide these services at no cost, saving communities across the nation millions in tax dollars annually. All Americans, regardless of political orientation, can agree that pregnancy centers provide welcome essential resources during times of uncertainty.”

Anne O’Connor, NIFLA Vice President of Legal Affairs

Instead of allowing abortion industry advocates like NARAL to target the good names of these centers in pro-abortion smear campaigns, communities should rally behind pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics in gratitude for all the good they do for women and their families in the state of Virginia. 

Pregnancy centers nationwide are held to a very high standard of care. According to the latest national report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute, “Affiliates of the three largest national networks (National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, Care Net and Heartbeat International) … provide ongoing training, resources and/or services subject to an overarching national code of ethics instituted in 2009, ‘Our Commitment of Care and Competence,’ recently updated in 2019.”

The report goes on to address a requirement for truthfulness in communications as well as scientific and medical accuracy: 

“The code provides that all medical services be under the supervision and direction of a licensed physician in accordance with applicable medical standards. The code also addresses truthfulness in all communications; client information confidentiality; rigor in screening volunteers and staff; nondiscrimination; scientific and medical accuracy; a consistent life ethic; and kindness to and compassion for clients. Compliance with all legal requirements regarding employment, fundraising, financial management, taxation, public reporting, and financial disclosure is also included in the code. Pregnancy centers maintain strict confidentiality protections as guided by federal, state and local law.” 

Pregnancy centers provide women and their families with medical exams and ultrasounds, prenatal care, STI testing and treatment, fertility awareness methods, caring consultation, parenting education programs, material assistance to families, after-abortion support and recovery, and more.

Additionally, many pro-life pregnancy centers pivoted to address the essential needs of mothers and families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. As NIFLA President Thomas Glessner shared in Townhall earlier this year,

Karolyn Schrage, RN, BSN and executive director of LifeChoices Health Network wrote that while many health departments are restricting services, referrals from other health organizations are being sent their way. … Schrage also said the state department’s Senior Epidemiology Specialist wrote to her to express gratitude for her center’s ‘exceptional efforts’ and their partnership… .”

Photo of LifeChoices Health Network staff provided courtesy of Karolyn Schrage. Pictured seated left to right in the front row:  Kelsee Robinson, Mischa Long. Pictured standing in the back row from left to right: Christy Cox, Katelyn Smith, Rachel Neugebauer, Executive Director Karolyn Schrage, Cassidy Thomason, Hillary Patrick. 

In Virginia, women need life-affirming and empowering care that equips them to choose life for their baby. Women deserve the love and life-affirming support that can be found in Virginia’s pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics.

Through the love of Christ, pregnancy centers continue to build a culture of life and hope despite the dark times we have faced as a nation this year. Please visit our website to learn more about what NIFLA is doing to equip pregnancy centers and how you can help support their life-saving efforts.

This original article was written by Olivia Aveni Briscoe, a pro-life journalist and media professional. Please contact the NIFLA media team at [email protected] for interview requests and reprint permission.