by Dr. Laura Lewis
How can a woman make a decision about her pregnancy without information and without tangible options?
For years I have tried to communicate the message that pregnancy care centres are actually “pro-choice”. That might seem shocking to some. But choice, by definition, means an act of making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. In order for choice to happen, there has to be an available alternative – something to “choose” – and that is what pregnancy care centres provide, information on all of the options a woman has to choose from.
I recently read a blog by Rebecca Klein, Executive Director of a pregnancy care centre in Florida. She clearly communicates the truth of what a “pro-choice” centre looks like.
“I work at A Woman’s Choice.This name was chosen because it represents the truth that in an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, women have a choice to make, and it is their choice. Hundreds of other pregnancy centers across the nation operate like we do, acknowledging that a woman’s pregnancy decision is a choice, and we are not in the business of taking that choice away. In fact, we are designed to equip women in making that choice.
Like many in the mainstream media, in pregnancy centers we believe in the power of women. We believe that women are beautiful, intelligent, and capable of virtually doing anything they choose. And we want to empower women in those things. Choice is a precious thing. And I believe every woman (because I happen to be one) wants to make good choices. So, to make a good choice, in any situation, she must arm herself with all of the needed facts and information about what is at stake. She must consider every angle in order to come to the best conclusion and decision.
This is true of the most simple of choices to the most complex, at least for most women. Whether I am considering what shoes to buy (and I do love to buy shoes), I have much to take into account – current style and fashion, comfort, durability, price, practicality and more; or if I am contemplating a new career path or course of study, the list of data is longer and far more significant. The fact of the matter, however, is that I need the data to make a good choice.
So imagine if, as a woman, I find myself in an unplanned pregnancy and faced with a rather significant choice. The stakes are high. It is not just a pair of shoes we are talking about here, or even a new career. This choice is life-impacting, for my life and another. So in this case, even more so, I want to be sure to consider all the facts, all the information, and all the options so that I can make a decision that I will have full confidence in. I want to make a decision that will ultimately give me peace. That is where the pregnancy center comes in. We are in the business of equipping each woman with information about all of her options when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, to empower her to make a choice she can live with.
“But aren’t you pro-life?” I can hear the question already, in response to my pro-choice assertion. And the simple answer is yes, we are pro-life. Pregnancy centers exist because we believe in the value of every human life, and because of that, we want women to consider carefully the choice they are making when it comes to life. And yet, it still remains her choice. No one can take that away from her. Because it is my belief that God created us to have choice.”
These penned words describe the intention and heart of pregnancy care centres. They also represent the desire of all that we do at CAPSS on a national level. We believe in the value of every life, including the woman’s.
There are labels that have been placed on pregnancy care centres. However, we believe the false labels are due to a lack of awareness and understanding about the important care provided by centres.
The author of the above article concludes with these words:
“…Maybe it is not so much that we are “pro-choice,” as the term is known in our culture. But the fact is that the world we live in was created to give us choice in all things, so even when it comes to the issues we tackle in our work, we acknowledge there is choice. Every woman has a choice. Every man has a choice. This is an unavoidable truth. So then, it is our desire to make sure that when facing an unplanned pregnancy, those women and men are given an opportunity to make their choice equipped with all the information, support and help that they need to make the best choice possible.”
“Equipped with all the information, support, and help they need to make the best choice possible” – this is what pregnancy care centres provide and this is what makes “pro-choice” a more accurate label.
~ Dr. Laura Lewis is the Executive Director of CAPSS.