Do Women Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers?
There is a belief amongst some in the pro-life community that most women are unaware of the help offered by Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs). However, the facts are that most women are aware of PRCs and the help they offer. Studies also show that most women have a positive view of PRCs.
Recently CBR Executive Director Gregg Cunningham and a pro-life activist discussed this topic. Below is the reply from Gregg on this very issue. Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individual/organization involved in this discussion.
Dear Ms. Smith,
We would be willing to help you with your work but the central premise of your project is incorrect. The vast majority of American women DO know about crisis pregnancy centers and in fact have a positive view of them. Your film is unlikely to improve that already high level of awareness or already positive pubic perception.
Americans are unlikely to outlaw abortion unless they can be convinced that women in crisis pregnancy will be offered a viable alternative to abortion. Crisis pregnancy centers provide that alternative. Many of these important centers are highly supportive of women and children but most are under-funded and under-staffed because so few local churches support them. But their larger problem is the fact that the vast majority of women in crisis pregnancies don’t go to the crisis pregnancy center for help. They go to the abortion clinic. One large survey, funded by a prominent pro-family group (Family Research Council) found that some two-thirds of American women know about the crisis pregnancy center in their community and that three-fourths of that group have a positive perception of that center. They stay away in droves, however, because CPCs offer help getting through a crisis pregnancy and most women in crisis pregnancies want help getting out of their crisis pregnancy.
Help getting out is exactly what Planned Parenthood offers. That offer is irresistible to young women who don’t believe and don’t want to believe that their baby is a baby or that abortion is a matter of serious moral consequence even early in pregnancy. Most pregnant women have never seen direct videography (as opposed to ultrasound images which are lower resolution even when using advanced equipment) of a baby developing early in pregnancy. Almost none have seen the horror of an early abortion.
It has been estimated that only about 10% of crisis pregnancy centers are willing to show any abortion imagery to the very small percentage of pregnant women they see who are actually considering abortion.
The painful reality of the CPC movement is that a very high percentage of centers have essentially become private social welfare agencies. A great many of the women they service aren’t seriously considering abortion. These women have already decided to carry to term and they just want the free Pampers and used cribs, strollers, etc. that the centers dole out. This is noble work but it has little to do with abortion. The trend toward crisis pregnancy medical clinics which offer ultrasound scans and other medical services can be a help in attracting more abortion-inclined women but the effectiveness of this important development is still blunted when the center is covering up the horror of abortion.
The most fundamental operational problem which reduces the effectiveness of CPC’s is that they are more reactive than pro-active. CBR can complement the work of CPC’s by pro-actively going into the community and working to convince more women to go to crisis pregnancy centers when they find themselves in crisis pregnancies. We don’t wait for these women to come to us; we go to them. We don’t wait until they are panic-stricken over their pregnancy. We engage them while they can still be reasoned with. We use the images displayed by our trucks and planes and campus exhibits to teach these women (and the men who will impregnate them) that their baby really is a baby from the very beginning of their pregnancy and that abortion is an indefensible act of violence from the very beginning of their pregnancy. And we teach them whether they want to learn or not (most don’t).
Please feel fee to reply with questions or comments. My wife is a public health nurse who founded and directed some of this country’s first crisis pregnancy medical clinics so we are big fans of the crisis pregnancy support movement. But we believe that it has gotten badly off track.
The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform