Taking Away the Perceived Need for Abortion

Recently, the executive director of the Center for Vision & Values, Dr. Paul Kengor, explained that an Obama administration will likely eliminate the legislative and legal tools that the pro-life community has been trying to use to reduce or eliminate abortion in America (see “Pro-life Death?”). Indeed, pro-lifers may find themselves turning to the courts to protect the rights of pro-life organizations. In the midst of such huge setbacks, pro-lifers should not wallow in defeat. There are great opportunities to save unborn babies as well as empower women. There are Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) ready to lead the fight for women and the unborn.

Why do women have abortions? While the particular circumstances vary, all have in common a belief that abortion will improve their lives, or at least keep their lives from getting worse. PRCs meet women where they are to take away the perceived need for abortion.

Abortion providers are not in the business of providing abortions because they are magnanimous and want to help women. They charge high fees for their “services.” This is why they desire taxpayer funds to perform abortions. With subsidies, more clients could afford abortions. Planned Parenthood is not interested in helping women with the life issues that bring them to the clinic.

Pregnancy Resource Centers, in contrast, exist to help women with these life issues. I know the mission of PRCs well, as I serve on the board of one, Pregnancy Services of Western PA. We want our clients to understand the realities of abortion for themselves as well as their babies. When we save babies, we are also saving women from future pain and guilt. Our services cost our clients nothing. We are not in business to make money. We are in the business of helping women with the life issues that brought them to the point of considering abortion. We save babies and help women transform their lives.

Some claim that those who support women must support access to abortion. This is a misguided tragedy. Abortion is often used to hide the abuse of women. Far from being an instrument of sexual freedom, abortion is often a tool for sexual subjugation. When a man uses a woman sexually with no commitment to her, abortion becomes an easy way to hide the evidence of the abuse. Many women who consider abortion believe they are unlovable and do not get out of these abusive relationships. The caring staff of a PRC can teach a woman that she is worthy of love and that she does not have to yield to a man’s pressure to abort her child. After knowing they are worthy of love, our clients can accept referrals to other agencies that can help them get out of abusive relationships. By helping women know they are worthy of love, and that they do not have to remain in abusive relationships, we take away the perceived need for abortion.

Many of our clients consider abortion because they believe they cannot care for a child. Often these women are correct. We can help a client understand that abortion is not the solution when one is not ready to care for a child. These clients are referred to adoption agencies so the gift of life can be shared with parents who are longing for a child. They are also provided with emotional support during pregnancy and if needed during the delivery. By showing women the value of the life growing inside them, and lovingly standing with them through the pregnancy and adoption process, we take away the perceived need for abortion.

Other clients may simply need assistance to care for a child they would like to have. PRCs provide pregnancy-support companions who give emotional support and child-care instruction. As clients complete educational programs, they earn maternity and baby supplies. By providing personal support, education, and material needs, we take away the perceived need for abortion.

As nonprofit organizations, PRCs often operate on a shoestring budget with a staff consisting primarily of volunteers. Yet to reach their full potential, PRCs need stable support. For example, showing a woman an ultrasound image of her baby dramatically increases the odds that she will choose life. The perceived need for abortion is changed by recognizing the reality of the humanness of individual unborn babies. Ultrasound machines are awesome tools, but they are expensive and require a medical staff and appropriate insurance coverage.

With the closing of legislative and legal paths to reduce abortion, Pregnancy Resource Centers are more important than ever. By supporting PRCs we can take away the perceived need for abortion. I encourage you to get to know the PRC in your area. The changes that are coming in the fight for life are not reasons for despair. Those of us who are involved with PRCs see victories regularly. Yes, the pro-life movement has suffered an electoral setback. Yet, if we rally around our local PRCs, victory is at hand.

Dr. Joseph Horton


Dr. Joseph J. Horton is professor of psychology at Grove City College and a researcher with The Center for Vision & Values.

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  • DRF

    If Planned Parenthood is selling abortion, then why is it working so hard to put itself out of business? It’s organizations like PP, and not PRCs, who provide the sex ed and access to contraception that keeps abortion patients from creating repeat business.

    Too many pregnancy resource centers lie to women about the health risks of abortion and, worse, about their contraceptive options. Ask any woman who’s had an abortion if she’d rather not have gotten pregnant in the first place, and what do you think she’ll say?

    If stopping abortion means saving lives, then isn’t that more important than our hangups about sex, contraception and reproductive technology?

  • Mary Kochan

    DRF, yours is a nice theory, but not borne out by the facts. Leaving aside all arguemnts based on religion and morality for a moment, everywhere that contraception and “sex education” without “hangups” (i.e. morally nuetral) is put in place, abortion rates go up, not down.

    Secularists (people who do not want to bring morality into the discussion) cannot really explain this. All they can do is rail that the problem must be the hang-ups that kids are getting from their parnts and so we must get to them ealier — like at 3, 4, or 5 years old to get rid of the parents’ brainwashing.

    We have an explanation that has to do with what human beings really are and what really drives them. We are enfleshed souls whose vocation is love. That call to love — more than mere animal appetite — drives us to desire intimacy. Contracepted love thwarts intimacy. Fornication thwarts intimacy. Often the very act of getting pregnant is driven by a woman’s desire for an intimate relationship, not just with a man, but with a baby.

    We are not “hung up” aboout sex. We are putting it in the place it deserves: a very important and holy place. We realistically recognize its power.

    PP is not trying to reduce abortions. They are trying to create sex addicts out of our children because that is how they will stay in business.

  • krby34

    DRF – I am 41 years old, attended public school (not a Catholic school – wasn’t a Catholic until 1999 long after high school), completed a 12 week required class on Human Health that included 3 weeks of sexual productivity at the age of 15. The course included information about “the pill”, IUD, diaphragms and condoms and how some of these are made available for free at the county health office just 6 blocks from the local high school. All you had to do was go ask. Oh yeah and they even helped us understand how “terrible” having a kid was because we had to pretend to have one (they gave us a raw chicken egg to keep safe) for just a week and show how it would change our lives forever!!! The terrible sacrifices we made for these little parasites, our schedules were a mess the whole week! Everyone was required to take the class as a sophomore at some point in the school year.

    That means for 25 years public education has been providing information about those things you profess PP to be providing. Knowing this information then we can figure that nearly every woman in her reproductive years (after the age of 15 from my story but I hear they are starting to teach this stuff in middle school now) should already be aware of these resources. Yet they choose not to use them and/or do not use them properly in such a way to get the level of “safety” the tools say they provide (better than 95% effectiveness when used according to instructions).

    If the “tools” and the awareness are already there then why do so many abortions still occur? That is the point of this article. Because sex is not used as God intended; by committed partners as part of a full relationship which includes much more than just lustful satisfaction and is open to new life.

    So if PP is truly so concerned about preventing pregnancy why do they continue to provide options which after 25 years do not seem to lower but rather increase the number of abortions over the last quarter century? Lets follow the money. PP makes a large portion of its annual income from its abortion services which it charges a hefty fee for, not from its free or low cost “pregnancy prevention programs.” Why continue a “pregnancy prevention program”, even if it is low cost, if it has little to no effectiveness? Answer = it makes money for other parts of the business!

    If people don’t use sex for lustful fulfillment (Also called abusive behavior, the types of behavior this article discusses.) then they have it properly in a relationship open to life and abortion is not necessary. PP would not make all the money it does in its abortion services. If people are told sex is good anytime and there are things to make it “safe” from disease (STD rates higher than 25 years ago too!) and pregnancy then they use sex more often and during times in a woman’s cycle where pregnancy can occur. More times sex occurs the more often failure is likely to occur and the statistical 5% failure rate will bring more business to PP in its high earnings business, abortion services.

    I compare it to the home computer printer business. Why do companies give away a printer that costs them lots of money to produce for free with purchases of computers? Or sell it for at or below production cost? Because you don’t make lots of money selling one printer you make the money selling the consumable items for nearly the same price you sell the printer at because you sell the ink and toner cartridges several times per customer.

    Why give away condoms that cost you money? Because then people will have sex and condoms will fail. When the condoms do fail the people will come to PP, the helpful partner providing them counseling and supplies about having good sex without consequences, for help with getting rid of a little problem that came up after having that sex PP said was so good. KACHING$$$

    I can share with a woman a sure fire way not to have an unwanted pregnancy. Know yourself and know your partner. If do not want a child then do not have sex. It never fails, it is shown scientifically 100% of the time. I know then you are going to say but then there is rape where she doesn’t have these options. I would bet she didn’t have the choice for a condom either. Sorry some things in life are not fair but encouraging selfish and self satisfying behavior doesn’t solve the problem of rape either. Rape is a whole other topic and frankly is not as large of an issue with abortion as many would like to believe and it would get smaller if people wouldn’t hide it with abortions because rapists could be convicted with physical evidence from the crime.

  • plowshare

    DRF repeats the popular pro-abortion canard about “Too many pregnancy resource centers lie to women about the health risks of abortion” without mentioning a single alleged example. Such claims are worthless, because there is nothing tangible in them to refute.

    Contrast that with the figures given in a website referenced today in Catholic Exchange:

    According to the statistics published by the national centre of gynaecology and midwifery, around 10-15% of abortions in Russia have complications, leaving 7-8% of operated women sterile.

    And here is an article from Time Magazine, reporting about the
    increased risk of premature babies after abortion:

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