By Jen Taggart
“Megan” walked up to an abortion clinic to see people praying during 40 Days for Life on a Wednesday, but did not interact with them. She scheduled an appointment for two days later on a Friday and thought, “I wonder if there’s any hope for me.”
That’s when she Googled “pregnancy help” and found Sacramento Life Center. She called the pregnancy center to tell them she was at the abortion clinic, and did not have a ride to the center.
Fortunately for Megan, the center had a solution: Lyft, a popular transportation network company that matches passengers with vehicles via its mobile app.
“No one in her life was supporting her to have the child, but knowing the Life Center and all the resources were here changed her mind,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director of the Sacramento Life Center.
“Many of our clients are on the margins and if we had a no-show, it was due to transportation issues,” Leatherby said. “The bus system in Sacramento is horrible, it takes people hours to get here.”
When Leatherby heard about a nearby hospital implementing a Lyft program for their patients, she decided that was exactly what her pregnancy help center needed.
“The very day we said ‘Let’s do it, let’s sign up,’ we had someone who needed a ride to an appointment,” Leatherby said. “And so we were like ‘Okay, this is a gift from God.’”
Lyft’s business program allows organizations to schedule rides for people to reach a location that the business chooses. The business plans, schedules, and pays for the ride. This program has allowed the Sacramento Life Center to schedule in advance for clients to be picked up for their appointments, or they can schedule for clients to be picked up last minute.
The Lyft program has been helpful for many clients, including women who have no transportation due to homelessness, women who may need to get multiple children on the bus, or women who have to carry large bags of diapers, baby clothes, and other resources home.
Sacramento Life Center served about 1,800 clients in 2018 with pregnancy testing, ultrasound scans, options counseling, material assistance, STD testing, and more. Since starting the Lyft program, they’ve been able to offer round-trip rides to 2-3 clients a week at no charge to the client. Rides normally cost the Sacramento Life Center $20-25 round trip per client, and the center has applied for a grant to fund the program.
“It’s a really dignified way to help women feel like they matter, that they’re important enough to bring them in when they don’t have transportation,” Leatherby said. “A lot of our clients are not licensed or don’t have cars, and it’s just one more thing that we can (do to) relieve a little bit of stress when they’re in a stressful situation.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.