By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
Allie was despondent and was considering having an abortion when she met Jackie, a pregnancy resource center counselor.
Allie was desperate to talk to someone, and Jackie was more than willing to lend a listening ear. The young woman cried as she told the counselor that her parents had given her an ultimatum: If she did not abort her child, she would have to find another place to live.
This was not Allie’s first pregnancy. She had been forced by her mother earlier in her life to have an abortion, ending the life of what would have been her first-born child. During her second pregnancy, she suffered the tragedy of miscarriage.
Now facing a third pregnancy, Allie had finally found someone who was willing to give her non-judgmental support. Allie later noted that the counselor was “the first person to ask her what she wanted to do.”
The young woman found a job and an apartment, aided by a counselor who believed in her. She also changed her mind about having an abortion, seeing the baby “as a gift.”
This is just one of the success stories of Pennsylvania’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program, which recently celebrated its milestone 25th anniversary. The program has now served more than 320,000 women and their families, and the number continues to grow.
Through kindness and emotional and material support, counselors accompany women on their pregnancy journeys. The program demonstrates the fact that, if just one person is willing to support a woman in her pregnancy, she is far more likely to choose life for her preborn child.
The program is all about empowering women so that they can make life-affirming decisions for themselves and their families. The services are free and confidential, and delivered in an environment that represents a calm amidst the storms that face many women—especially during a pandemic.
Pregnancy centers such as Tender Care are truly the hidden gems of the heartland of America. They are helping to build strong families and vibrant communities, one woman at a time. In an age when callousness and chaos often dominate the news, these pregnancy centers stand ready to serve with devotion and a spirit of humility. As they support women, let us support these centers, which are doing so much to better the circumstances of women in the United States.