By Gayle Irwin
Faithfulness plays a significant role in the work of pregnancy help ministries, according to a Tennessee pregnancy medical clinic staff member, whose community experienced a dramatic decrease in the number of abortions performed in her community.
When Life Choices Pregnancy Medical Clinic in Memphis first began more than 25 years ago, nearly 13,000 abortions were performed in the county, said Rachel Davis, Community Outreach Coordinator.
“Since then, the abortion rate has not only declined every year, but it’s also made a 70 percent decline from 1986,” she said. “We know that our ministry has played a huge part in that number coming down. We’re very proud of that and what the Lord has done.”
Life Choices has two locations in Memphis, one next door to Planned Parenthood. Davis sees not only her center’s faithfulness in this but also God’s faithfulness.
“It was definitely God’s divine hand,” she said. “We weren’t seeking it out – it just kind of happened that there was a space set up already and exactly what we needed. So, that’s where we went.”
Sharing the Gospel and meeting client needs are also fundamental and strong aspects of faithfulness at Life Choices.
“All the information that we give our clients, all of the ways that we relate to them, from the client advocates who are seeing the clients, to the nurses that are giving them their medical services, we’re all ready to give an account of the Gospel,” Davis said.
“We know it’s very Biblical when you meet people’s physical needs and also their spiritual needs – that’s how Jesus did his ministry,” she said. “He saw a need in that person’s life, and he met that need. But he didn’t just leave them where they were; he called them out of whatever was their lifestyle, their hurt, their brokenness, their sin, and he gave them the offer of a new life with him. So, that’s what we do.”
Hearing the Gospel and experiencing the compassionate care help clients make life-affirming choices, Davis added.
“We know that when a woman makes a choice for Christ, not only is she changing her own life, but she’s changing the trajectory of her unborn child’s life as well,” Davis said. “Faithfulness is our overall big picture, and everything operates from that.”
Faithfulness weaves into client contact, which builds relationships, Davis said.
“When our client advocates see a client, they are committing to contacting that woman at least once a month via text, phone, or e-mail, whatever that looks like for that specific client,” she said. “They’re following up with that woman until she has her baby … starting within 24 to 48 hours after that first visit.”
Each advocate has about 200 active clients they are following up with, receiving “the information, love, and care they need,” she added.
Life Choices sees about 1000 clients a year.
“For 2021, we had 889 babies born, and we know that because of that follow-up,” Davis said.
Education and empowerment also play strong roles and those come through services offered.
Life Choices became a medical clinic about 20 years ago, and provides pregnancy testing, STD testing and treatment, and limited obstetrical ultrasound. A parenting program, called Baby Prep, offers mentors who walk alongside women who choose life as well as classes about breastfeeding, budgeting, and labor and delivery. Client contact continues after the baby is born.
“We want to keep that person in our realm and definitely be speaking into any needs that they have,” Davis said. “We are in our clients’ lives as long as they need and want us.”
Sarah is an example. She learned she was pregnant while in college – with triplets. Life Choices stepped up to help the overwhelmed young woman.
“We walked with Sarah through her pregnancy and helped her do what she could do to be able to stay in college,” Davis said. “She was put on bed rest very early so we made sure to help so that when she got back on her feet, she was back in school. She finished her degree; in fact, she graduated with a double major, and so now she’s looking for a job.”
Sarah’s story with Life Choices isn’t over now that she’s job-hunting.
“We want to make sure she feels empowered to continue to raise her children,” Davis said, “so if that means helping her look for a job, making sure that she has reliable transportation to get to those job interviews, or needs childcare for those job interviews, we want to make that happen.”
For some women and their partners, parenting isn’t the best option. Life Choices comes alongside those people as well. The center serves as a licensed adoption facility in Tennessee and Mississippi. The birth mother chooses the family.
“Every aspect of their life is gone over with a fine-tooth comb,” Davis said. “It’s varying degrees on how involved the birthmother wants to be, and that’s definitely her choice, but the letters and pictures and things of that nature are required for a certain amount of time. If the birth mother wants to continue that, then the adoptive family does.”
“Adoption is biblical,” she added. “If you’re in Christ, you’re adopted. Jesus himself was adopted – his earthly father was Joseph, and so we see that God is writing a story of adoption in all of us that are in Christ.”
Prayer also critical
Faithfulness positively impacts centers, clients, and community, and one strong step to faithfulness is prayer, Davis said.
“We begin our days at both centers with a team prayer, for our clients, for us,” Davis said. “We’re helping others, but we carry our own stuff too. We consider everybody walking through the door a divine appointment, whether they’re a client or they’re the mail person. God has them in your center for a reason.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.