Women need to feel supported when facing an unplanned pregnancy, and medical pregnancy clinics are often first in line to help meet the needs of a woman and her child. Clinic staff members are typically the ones to assist women who are facing negative pressure and judgement.
Sometimes it takes several visits to change a woman’s mind. Even though Betsy* ultimately chose abortion after having two ultrasounds at the Choices clinic in Joplin, Missouri, she definitely noticed and appreciated the unflagging support of the clinic staff.
“They didn’t turn their back on me,” she says. “They just kept telling me I was loved.”
The next time Betsy became pregnant, she returned to Choices. And this time she carried her baby to term.
Many such pro-life medical clinics provide pregnancy tests, STD testing, ultrasounds and post-pregnancy assistance, but it’s the emotional and practical support offered by clinic staffers that make the biggest impact on the clients and their partners. This relational approach, combined with one-on-one counseling, is what gives many women the strength and encouragement they need to carry a pregnancy to term.
A client’s relationship with the clinic can also open the door to additional resources. Choices and other centers like it offer practical supplies like including baby wipes, diapers and newborn clothes. They also provide parenting classes and referrals to organizations willing to help with financial planning and housing assistance.
Just as personal relationships are a key factor in helping a woman to choose life, surrounding her with support from a local church helps give her hope for a more promising future. Church members often serve pregnancy centers as staff members, volunteers and donors, but churches are also a positive source of friendship and redemption through Christ.
The staff at Choices appreciates how some local churches have created small groups for single moms, helping to meet their emotional, relational and spiritual needs. On occasion, some churches have even provided personal mentoring to women in need.
By cultivating relationships with women facing a crisis pregnancy, Christians have a unique and profound opportunity to love like Jesus did – a chance to demonstrate love to a woman whose closest friends and family members might be more concerned with their own interests rather than the well-being of her and her child.
Investing in the lives of others requires time, patience, energy, hope … and faith. When it seems like there’s no more left to give, that’s when believers turn to Christ as the source for all that we need.
Jesus made our priorities clear through both His actions and His words: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40, NIV).
Indeed, we give our best to Him when we give ourselves to those in need.
* Not her real name
Jenny Knowles and her husband are adoptive parents to two sisters through foster care.