If you’re looking for a crisis pregnancy center, you’re probably unexpectedly pregnant. I know this can be a scary and overwhelming time, and you need accurate and helpful information as you consider steps forward. My name is Megan Cohen and I’m an attorney and this is my blog. I’m here to help if you need me.
The purpose of this article is to answer:
- What is a crisis pregnancy center?
- What types of services do they provide?
- Why visit a crisis pregnancy center?
- Should I avoid a crisis pregnancy center?
What is a crisis pregnancy center?
A crisis pregnancy center is a pregnancy support center. You may have seen their billboards or other advertisements. Frequently these ask: “Are you Pregnant? Scared?” and include a toll-free number to call for support. Crisis pregnancy centers provide counseling services to pregnant women who are unsure whether to parent their unborn child.
Crisis pregnancy centers are not medical facilities.
These support centers are not licensed and regulated, and the people who work there are usually volunteers. They generally are not licensed doctors or nurses. Most of these pregnancy centers were started and run by religious groups such as Birthright. Their mission is to prevent abortion by counseling women about adoption and parenting.
Because they aren’t medical facilities, crisis pregnancy centers are not licensed or regulated by the state. This means that the care they provide is not guided by medical standards. Their advice may not be accurate medically. For instance, they may say that abortion is a deadly procedure for the mother. However, statistics show that abortion is safer than childbirth. Their counseling services are free; however, they may not be confidential. Only licensed medical facilities, doctors, and nurses are required to keep patient contact confidential. Crisis pregnancy centers are not required by law to keep their patient conversations confidential.
What types of services can you get at a crisis pregnancy center?
Most crisis pregnancy centers provide the following services (this is not an all-inclusive list):
- Free pregnancy test
- Ultra sound to confirm pregnancy, not make medical diagnosis
- STD testing
- Counseling regarding parenting and adoption
- Maternity clothes and some baby items
- Parenting classes
You can’t get ongoing prenatal care or an abortion at a crisis pregnancy center.
Crisis pregnancy centers are not medical facilities, so you can’t get ongoing prenatal care. Generally speaking, there are no doctors or nurses on staff, unless they are volunteers. You also cannot get an abortion at one of these centers.
Additionally, the counselors will not discuss abortion as an option. They also will not refer you to an abortion provider. This is because they are religious based and their mission is to prevent abortion.
Why visit a crisis pregnancy center?
There are a lot of good reasons to visit a crisis pregnancy center:
- Emotional support
- Guidance in considering parenting
- Religious beliefs are in-line with yours
- Free pregnancy verification
Volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers want you to parent your baby or consider adoption, not abortion. They will provide a lot of emotional support and encouragement as you consider these options.
These centers provide parenting classes and they can help you think about what parenting would look like. They may have resources for you to obtain maternity clothes, diapers, and formula. Some centers may be able to refer you to financial resources, like how to apply for WIC and TANF and state funded insurance.
If you are against abortion in general, and would never consider this as an option, a crisis pregnancy center will likely be a good option for you to get support. They also provide community of people who share your beliefs, even if they can’t provide you with medical care. For some women, this could be reassuring.
A pregnancy verification is really important. You need this in order to apply for state and local government services for yourself and your baby. If you aren’t able to visit a regular doctor and you aren’t comfortable with a free medical clinic, you can get a pregnancy verification at a crisis pregnancy center.
Don’t go to a crisis pregnancy center if you are considering or want to learn more about abortion.
Crisis pregnancy centers don’t want you to have an abortion. They will not explain this option other than to potentially scare you with misleading and sometimes inaccurate information. While some centers’ websites indicate they will refer you to medical care, it will not be to a doctor who is an abortion provider, like Planned Parenthood.
Where can you go if you want to learn more about adoption?
Consider contacting me. I’m an attorney and a birth mother who placed my son for adoption several years ago. (Read my story here.) I know what you’re going through and I can help. I work with women all over the country to find a family to adopt, make an adoption plan, and take you through every step of the process. My services are absolutely free to you whether you choose to move forward with an adoption or not. Our conversations are always confidential. I hope to hear from you soon!