The Morning Center, a revolutionary maternity care clinic for women, is impressing nearly everyone who catches wind of its compassionate, top-quality healthcare. Live Action News was tipped off to the Morning Center by a supporter who exclaimed, “The Morning Center [is] doing amazing work to replace Planned Parenthood and keep mothers and babies safe.” One motto of the center is “Serving Moms with Quality Maternity Care…Free of Charge.” The goal is to love the woman and the child.
Located in Memphis, Tennessee, The Morning Center chose this city for its pilot center because needy women from three states can easily access it. In just two years of operation, The Morning Center has successfully delivered 100 babies and served over 300 women with more than 1500 OB appointments, proving that a “private, patient-centered model” truly can work. The Memphis location is home to a compassionate and knowledgeable staff of 20 – including medical and administrative personnel as well as volunteers.
The work of The Morning Center dispels the myth that pro-lifers are unwilling to financially and practically aid pregnant women. Executive Director, Les Riley, explains that The Morning Center operates under a whole-person model, desiring to meet the physical and spiritual needs of women and the people who surround them:
The Morning Center was founded not only to reduce abortions, but also to bring high-quality maternity care,and the Gospel to these neighborhoods. The Gospel is not about doing the bare minimum, but going over and above abundantly, which is what The Morning Center does for their patients – the moms, babies, families, and communities we serve.
If you’re pregnant, we give you free world-class care – including hospital birth – in the Name of Christ. … We want every mom to be treated like a rich princess in the suburbs.
Women choose abortion because they do not know the love and support of the Gospel and a Christian community. The Morning Center fills the gap and partners with local churches, crisis pregnancy centers, and other mission organizations to share the love of Christ and to provide high-quality prenatal care.
The mission of The Morning Center is to provide free, full-service prenatal and maternity care to women in urban and under-served areas. The Morning Center’s mobile care unit is bringing a new day in maternity care and lavishing the love of Jesus Christ on women and unborn children who desperately need it.
Les shared the story of Gracie, “one of our patients whose life has been transformed through the love of Jesus shown to her while she has been a Morning Center patient.”
Several months ago we got a call from one of our patients who has been living in an abusive relationship. She was thrown out of her apartment by the baby’s father. After making sure she was safe for the night, we called our friends at the Mid-South Love Home who went first thing the next morning and brought this dear young mom to their place.
After living with our partnering ministry at the Mid-South love home for a few months, she returned to her home at the Warren apartments. Then, she went to life with her family. She has grown so much over the last nine months that she feels capable of making decisions that are RIGHT for herself and her baby. She has confidence that comes from her new found faith.
Gracie’s story illustrates what Les calls the “continuum of care” offered by The Morning Center. He explains that the center “takes a mother and gives her the same experience you would get at an OB – including delivering her baby – and wraps it all in the Gospel” Many times, The Morning Center is able to have “a six to eight month relationship with the mother to introduce her to other ministries” that can care for her in the ways she needs.
One of Les’s favorite stories involves a young woman who, until she reached The Morning Center, had been abandoned and abused for her entire life:
She was living in a homeless shelter across the river with her two-year-old. The father of her baby was not the father of her son, and he was abusive to her. When she became pregnant, the man turned on the two-year-old boy. This young woman lived out of a duffel bag.
As soon as she got out of the car in The Morning Center parking lot, she broke down crying. We reached out to a sidewalk counselor/Baptist pastor, and he reached out to a Presbyterian pastor, and together, they got her a car seat. A volunteer got baby clothes, a place for her little boy to sleep, and some toys. At one appointment, we noticed a hole in her shoes, and found out they were the only shoes she had. The host church we worked with got her clothes, and our practice manager took this woman home with her.
Her baby is now born; they are living in the apartment above our practice manager’s garage and going to church with her.
As illustrated by this young woman’s story, Les explains that The Morning Center stands as a “conduit for other ministries to step up and for a church to reach out to these women.”
Les and his amazing family have been involved in pro-life work for years, and have poured their lives into helping mothers and families choose life. I asked Les to share some advice on speaking about life to abortion-vulnerable mothers:
The most powerful weapon we have is the Gospel. When speaking to a woman considering an abortion, be loving, kind and understanding. Remind her that she is created in God’s image, and so is the precious baby she is carrying. Assure her that God can give her the courage to do what is right and that she will be surrounded by a community of Christians who will love and support her giving life to her baby.
No doubt Les would encourage each Christian or pro-lifer sharing these words with a pregnant mother to be educated on the practical resources for women in their own areas. (Such resources and information can be found in the articles here, here, here, here, and here.) He also advises: “Stop treating the urban poor and abortion-risk moms as statistics; they are unique and need to be uniquely loved.”
Shortly after opening, The Morning Center posted the video below to YouTube, explaining the vision and calling for others to use their own talents to help. Les explains:
The average American can make a difference in the pro-life movement by getting involved with their local crisis pregnancy centers – praying and counseling women to chose life, and serving in basic ways such as answering phones, packing up baby clothes, and the like.
Les also offered his email address for anyone who wants to aid help The Morning Center or who would consider opening one in their own area: [email protected] You can also connect on Facebook here. The vision is to “put one in every city big enough to have an abortion clinic. … Together, we can bring a new day in maternity care and lavish the love of Jesus Christ on women and unborn children who desperately need it.”