Did you know there are now 39 Evangelical Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) across the state of Oklahoma that provide free services to women and men in the midst of an unintended pregnancy? Five of these are connected to Oklahoma Baptists’ Hope Pregnancy Ministries. Added to these 39, there are at least six Centers in Oklahoma operated by our Catholic friends.
These centers, which are truly beacons of hope and light, offer assistance during a pregnancy and well beyond. In addition to offering help for parents and children, they also offer help to those who find out they are not pregnant. Their services come in the form of “medical consultations, baby clothing and diapers, maternity housing, job training, mentoring programs, and prenatal and parenting classes,” among others.
While these centers have long been subject to unfair ridicule and ruthless attacks from pro-abortion forces, they are facing increasing challenges in America today. A news report from Baptist Press said, “The U.S. Supreme Court will be preparing to consider a case that might determine the future of the pro-life pregnancy center movement in America. Abortion rights organizations will be hoping for a sweeping victory from the high court even as they maintain their attacks on what they call ‘fake clinics.’”
The article refers to a potential landmark case before the highest court in the land. To be specific, “NIFLA—a nationwide network of more than 1,400 pro-life pregnancy centers—is at the center of the pivotal case that the Supreme Court is expected to consider during the early months of 2018. The justices have agreed to rule on the challenge by NIFLA and two pro-life pregnancy centers to a 2015 California law that requires such centers to notify their clients of the availability of abortion services elsewhere.”
It does not take a legal scholar to see that this California law is a violation of religious liberty and free speech. Moreover, the law is onerous in other ways, including mandating that “each unlicensed center provide notice of its lack of state licensure as a medical facility.” While NIFLA appears to have the upper hand legally, we know that Supreme Court rulings do not always go the right way.
It is our job, therefore, to support these Pregnancy Resource Centers in every way possible at this key time; to stand with them prayerfully, financially and with our own volunteer hours.
Having personally volunteered at Hope Pregnancy Center, I can attest to the vital role of these centers. They truly are on the front lines of ministry and act as the hands of Jesus to people who are often in desperate circumstances. Often times, the clients just need to know that someone is there for them and going to walk with them through the unexpected journey.
Despite what their detractors may say, the people who work and volunteer at the PRCs are not just “pro-birth,” they are pro-life, all life. In other words, they care about people from womb to birth and beyond.
Time will tell if California’s attempt to squelch the First Amendment and crush Pregnancy Resource Centers fails. In the meantime, do your part: pray, give and volunteer.
In so doing, we will show the world that, as followers of Jesus, we also love the children of the world—and their mothers and fathers. We will show them that we are pro-life for all of life.