There are lots of articles and many discussions on what pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) do and what they say they provide versus what they actually offer women facing a pregnancy decision. At Life’s Choices, our goal is to be transparent and honest while offering practical help and support to women and their partners in difficult situations.
Here are a few of the myths some have spread or believed about pregnancy centers in contrast with the truth about what clients actually experience at Life’s Choices’ offices in Kutztown and Hamburg, Pennsylvania.
Pregnancy centers trick women into coming into their offices with false claims of medical services.
At Life’s Choices, we clearly state our limitations of services. From our website to social media posts to answering calls, we share openly what we do offer (pregnancy tests, confirmation ultrasound, STD testing and treatment, classes, and materials) and what we do not offer (prenatal medical care, referrals for abortion, contraception, professional counseling).
Our limited range of medical services are overseen by a medical doctor and our staff includes licensed medical professionals such as registered nurses and registered diagnostic medical sonographers. Representatives facilitating testing for sexually transmitted infections have completed Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other trainings provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. We can provide a list of local doctors and can assist clients needing to sign up for medical assistance by walking beside them through the application process if they so desire.
Pregnant clients are advised to begin routine prenatal care with an obstetrician and we offer a list of referrals if needed. Regular clients are encouraged to make and keep medical appointments, and we always ask clients to check in with their doctor on lesson content.
Pregnancy centers spread false information about abortion.
We are diligent in training our staff to use reputable, evidence-based sources and information when talking to clients. We provide objective information on the different types of abortion available, and use sources including information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC.
We follow a client-led, permission-based model. This means we don’t impose upon clients information they do not want or need. Instead, we ask open questions and provide information with that client’s permission. We strongly believe that guilt and pressure should not be a factor in talking to a woman in a crisis pregnancy situation.
Pregnancy centers don’t care about women after they have the baby.
This could not be further from the truth about Life’s Choices and like-minded pregnancy centers. Our client representatives build relationships with clients (and sometimes their extended family) through the course of the pregnancy. Once the baby arrives, our support does not end. Clients can continue to meet with their rep and receive any services for as long as they wish. Some clients continue to meet with us regularly for years after the birth of the baby.
Pregnancy centers require clients to be a person of faith to receive any assistance.
We do not force religion on anyone.
Life’s Choices is a faith-based organization and we are open about this, explaining to clients that our faith motivates us to provide help and hope to anyone who walks through our doors. However, we are also clear that any person — regardless of their faith, gender, race or any other factor — is welcome here and does not need to adhere to or agree with our beliefs to receive any of our services.
Pregnancy centers are politically fueled.
Life’s Choices is not political in nature. In fact, our staff agrees to avoid political activism upon date of hire. Our focus is helping people in our community, and we believe politics divide enough as it is. We aim to take political division out of our work and discussion and instead focus on the client and her needs in the moment and days ahead.
We are also not politically funded. As a non-profit, we receive funding through donations from individuals and community groups. We also raise money through fundraisers throughout the year. No political party pays our bills nor has any say in our philosophy or services.
Pregnancy centers that offer “free” services do so with many strings attached.
No client is ever asked to pay anything for our services, and we also do not collect insurance information or funds.
We do offer a selection of items clients may need. Diapers are our most popular item. Others include wipes and other toiletries, clothing and blankets, toys, and formula and food. Most of these items are donated by our community. Anyone in need can come in once a quarter (every three months) and walk away with the items they need. Those interested in taking classes can earn more items if they choose, but this is not required for quarterly assistance.
Due to space restrictions, we do not stock large items (eg. furniture) and our clothing sizes only run to 2T. However, we provide referrals and/or vouchers to clients needing items we don’t stock to like-minded organizations in our communities. We also provide referrals to other services, from homeless and housing support to medical and counseling services.
It truly takes a village to support pregnant woman, and we are glad to be part of this network of support for women, men and families in Berks County, Pennsylvania!
If you’re seeking to know more about pregnancy centers, we encourage you to reach out and ask us! We are grateful to be able to serve our community, and we love what we do. To learn more about our organization’s purpose and mission, we share more about what “crisis pregnancy centers” are here.
Whether you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or simply seeking support in your pregnancy, as a parent or in your relationship, we welcome you to contact Life’s Choices today for help and support at no cost to you. We are here to offer judgment-free, compassionate and confidential care, and we would love to be a free resource for you.