The pro-life movement has been working for decades to welcome, protect, and care for babies and their mothers. However, we know that becoming truly abortion-free cannot rely on laws, but resides in a huge cultural shift. A critical place in society that has the resources, the influence, and the responsibility to propel this cultural shift is the churches.
How can churches ensure this cultural shift? How can churches be better prepared to help a woman in a crisis pregnancy so she does not feel pressured to choose an abortion?
An overwhelming number of women quietly go to church on Sunday and the abortion clinic on Monday. A survey sponsored by CareNet, a nonprofit organization supporting more than 1,100 pregnant centers across America, found that more than four in 10 women who have had an abortion were churchgoers when they chose abortion. Click for more insightful statistics regarding churchgoing women who get abortions.
Right now, you can save this information in your phone and share with your parish and across social media: FindHelpLa.com. There, you can find your local pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and many other private and public social services. Click the “Resources” tab for listings of statewide and national resource information. The 24/7 helpline is: 1-855-449-4003.
Among others, two resources for churches to help mothers are Amy Ford’s Embrace Grace, Inc. and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ program, Walking with Moms in Need.
Embrace Grace, Inc.
EmbraceGrace.com: The mission of Embrace Grace is, “To inspire and equip the church to love on single and pregnant young women and their families.” Their vision is “For every girl with an unplanned pregnancy to have a church to go to for spiritual, emotional, and physical support.” Website visitors are encouraged to start an Embrace Grace group at their church or host an outreach centered around assembling “Love Boxes,” a box filled with items meant to inspire a woman to “be brave and choose life for her baby.” Women in crisis pregnancies who are visitors to their website are invited to join a support group program for at least 12 weeks. Youare also able to ask Embrace Grace to send an assembled Love Box to a woman in a crisis pregnancy that you know is considering aboriton.
The Louisiana Regional Rep for Embrace Grace is Dawn Smith. Contact her for more information: [email protected]
Walking with Moms in Need
WalkingWithMoms.com: This program lays out its mission: “Pregnant and parenting moms in need are in our parishes and neighborhoods. As Pope Francis reminds us, our parishes need to be “islands of mercy in the midst of a sea of indifference.” Everyone in the parish community should know where to refer a pregnant woman in need.”
The United States of Catholic Bishops created thorough guidance for individual church parishes to fold this service project in their workload of existing ministries. They created an introductory webinar, a few different action guides for the person taking charge of this ministry, an inventory tool for all found and documented local resources, and a suggested timeline of completing this and publicly advertising as a source of comprehensive help for moms in need.
When a complete and simple inventory of their local resources are made, the USCCB asks these churches to assess the results and identify gaps, and plan and implement a parish response based on their findings.
Additionally, they have a prayer and encyclical reflections program so that their church parish can be made aware of this ministry and unite with the effort spiritually.
If churches are looking for a place to start gathering local resources for moms in need, first check with the pro-life coordinator of the local diocese. Many have already begun the process of encouraging their churches to implement this program and have gathered lists of resources. Additionally, visit FindHelpLA.com for local pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and many other private and public social services. Click the “Resources” tab for listings of statewide and national resource information.
Find Your Excess
Are any of your parishioners involved in local social services and could help the church connect with moms in need? Are any members of your church feeling a call to be generous and donate to a church-fund for moms? Does anyone have a car they were thinking of selling that could be gifted to a mom who lacks travel arrangements to her prenatal appointments? Is your church talking about adoption and foster care: helping birth moms, encouraging and supporting foster-parenting and adopting, and fundraising for potential domestic-infant adoptive parents in your community? The possibilities might be endless! Connect with your local pregnancy center(s) and discuss what gaps of needs your church could meet for local expectant and parenting mothers in need.
Educate the Congregation
Churches should not waver in discussion the topic of abortion as a critical life issue. Not only will women still be able to travel to other states to get abortion and potentially access a network of black market abortion within our own state, but it also only takes one generation or even one Louisiana legislative session to lose our pro-life culture and our pro-life laws!
A few key points of education-action:
Please email us [email protected] with any questions! We are here to help!