Pregnancy centers helped nearly 2 million women, youth, and men in 2017, and saved communities at least $161 million, according to a study released by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. Researchers surveyed 2,600 pregnancy centers nationwide.
Volunteer-based pregnancy centers offer free pregnancy tests, birth options consultations, sexual risk-avoidance education, prenatal and parenting education, ultrasounds, medical services, community referrals, post-abortive support, and other material aid.
Using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, researchers estimated wages for registered nurses, social workers, sonographers, and other professionals who volunteered at pregnancy centers to calculate “community cost savings.” They also factored in the cost of pregnancy tests and ultrasounds and found that the charitable donation of ultrasounds alone provided services worth $114 million.
National groups that have contributed to pregnancy centers’ ability to provide free ultrasounds include Focus on the Family and the Knights of Columbus, which together have funded more than 1,300 ultrasound machines across the nation in the past 14 years.
The study found that 96 percent of pregnancy centers surveyed also offer free clothes, diapers, and other supplies to mothers going through educational parenting programs taught by volunteers. One widely used curriculum, Earn While You Learn (used by my local pregnancy center), teaches parenting tips and childhood development to parents in exchange for points that can “pay” for car seats, cribs, strollers, or other equipment.
Seven in 10 centers offer free ultrasounds, 3 in 4 offer counseling for women suffering from post-abortion grief, and 1 in 4 offer testing for sexually transmitted infections and disease.
The authors of the study write that the free services of the centers “are helping to reclaim and rebuild a life-honoring paradigm of true reproductive health nationwide. By assisting women, men, youth, and couples they are helping to strengthen families and communities.” —S.G.