Analysis

STUDY: Women who visit pregnancy resource centers less likely to choose abortion

abortion,

Pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) provide a lifeline for pregnant women in dire situations, offering free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, baby supplies, parenting classes, and information on adoption, medical care, and financial aid.

Nevertheless, abortion advocates are often quick to demonize PRCs for portraying “misleading information.” The reality is that unlike big abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, PRCs haven’t bought into the narrative that abortion is good for women, instead aiming to support pregnant women and their babies, born and preborn.

And, according to recent research, PRCs are helping women get the emotional and material support they need to continue their pregnancies, despite the many myths surrounding these organizations.

Women turn away from abortion after visiting pregnancy resource centers

In a culture that touts things like “abortion is healthcare” (it is not), PRCs offer real support for struggling pregnant women looking for an alternative to abortion and assistance to continue their pregnancies.

In July 2021, PLOS One published a study titled, “Pregnancy outcomes after exposure to crisis pregnancy centers among an abortion-seeking sample recruited online.” The study surveyed 857 women who were pregnant and seeking abortion and then conducted a follow-up survey about four weeks later. The study aimed, in part, to determine whether a PRC visit is associated with abortion or continuing the pregnancy four weeks later.

Of the group surveyed, approximately 30.3% thought they visited a PRC during the four-week period. In reality, one in four of these women mistakenly visited an abortion provider at what they thought was the location of a PRC. 

This is an interesting finding, considering PRCs are often lambasted by abortion advocates for posing as abortion providers, despite the lack of evidence to support that claim. In particular, NARAL has argued that PRCs purposely hide their anti-abortion views so they can lure women into their facilities, ignoring the fact that these organization typically clearly list the services they provide and explicitly state they do not refer for abortion. The only abortion-related service PRCs offer is post-abortion counseling, and they are very open about that. The argument that these organizations are posing as abortion providers couldn’t be further from the truth — they are there to offer emotional and support to pregnant women, as well as post-abortion healing, and they are unapologetic and clear about that mission. 

READ: Report slamming pregnancy centers as a ‘public health danger’ is lacking in facts

According to the study, the actual percentage of women who had visited a PRC was 13.1%. Of this group, 29.5% of women planned to keep their babies after their visit. The study noted, “Pregnant people have obtained material resources and emotional support at PRCs, which may have played a role in encouraging them to continue the pregnancy.”

Sadly, the study ultimately encounters the same pitfalls as abortion giants like NARAL. The study’s authors posited in the conclusion that the higher rate of pregnant women choosing not to abort after visiting a PRC must be at least in part because these centers are lying to the women who visit them.

“PRCs may be providing resources to people who are considering continuing their pregnancy and/or they may be misleading people about the care and referrals they provide related to abortion,” the authors wrote, with no proof to back up the assertion that women are being misled. “Pregnant people need access to accurate information, decision support, and resources to make the pregnancy or abortion decision that is best for them.”

What the authors fail to note is that none of these women said they visited a PRC thinking it was an abortion provider, but one in four did visit an abortion provider thinking it was a PRC. So, who is really lying to women here? 

PRCs offer support that may encourage women to continue their pregnancies    

In the United States, there are approximately 2,700 PRCs compared to somewhere between 700 and 800 abortion providers. Pregnant women can obtain material resources and emotional support at PRCs, which can play a role in encouraging them to continue their pregnancies. 

Abortion supporters often criticize PRCs because they outnumber abortion facilities, arguing that women without resources who can’t travel to an abortion facility may see a PRC as their only option. But many women choose abortion because they feel they have no other choice — they lack the support and resources to continue their pregnancies and later support a child. PRCs fill that gap by providing the material and emotional support that women may not be receiving elsewhere. 

As Secular Pro-life aptly noted, “Abortion advocates will sometimes accuse pro-lifers of not really caring about women or about children after they’re born; they’ll also sometimes argue that abortion clinics (particularly Planned Parenthood) offer a full range of services for women to choose from. But these arguments are undermined by the idea that if a woman has decided to carry a pregnancy, she is more likely to turn to a [PRC] for help.”

But because PRCs do not provide abortions, they often become the target of smear campaigns by abortion advocates. A few of these myths even found their way into the research paper, including the claims that PRCs provide inaccurate information to women, reinforce an abortion stigma, specifically target Black and low-income women, and that they manipulate search engines to show up in searches for abortion providers.

These myths have been debunked by Live Action News here, here, and here.

The lies perpetuated by the abortion industry clearly indicate they are missing a critical piece of information — women typically do not want to choose abortion. They are often coerced by their partners or lack the emotional and financial support to continue their pregnancies.

Far from misleading women, PRCs offer options to women and refuse to buy the lie that killing preborn children is the only choice.

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