It may surprise some people to learn that there are close to 90 pro-life pregnancy centers and clinics in Southern California. Women and families in need are welcomed, respected and provided material resources as well as referrals for healthcare, housing, education, employment, childcare and other services.

According to statistics available from Guttmacher Institute, 59% of women who experience abortion have at least one child already; 75% are poor or low-income; and 85% are unmarried. The population of women seeking abortion today is changing, and pregnancy clinics/centers do well to anticipate and meet their needs.

At a recent gathering of pregnancy clinic directors, we discussed this changing dynamic. The directors agreed that they are seeing many more women who already have children and that housing is the number one concern for the pregnant women and families they serve. The housing crisis making headlines throughout Southern CA has disastrous ramifications for women who are expecting children, and is very often the driving factor to despair and abortion.

Pregnancy clinics/centers with homeless clients try to find space at maternity homes, but they are few and far between, often with long waiting lists. And many don’t take kids. Waiting for Section 8 housing, or even resources through 211, is often not an option for pregnant women whose needs are immediate.

So, what can we do?

I offer one shining example among many. Pregnancy Pathways, an exemplary pilot program in Edmonton, Canada, began when ERs were seeing large numbers of pregnant women arriving in labor, having received no prenatal care living on the streets. The program offers supportive housing with resources these moms need to thrive. Pregnancy Pathways received a huge boost when a landlord heard, in a radio interview, that the program was in need of housing and decided to donate his 18-unit buildingto help moms in need.

Taking a cue from Edmonton, let’s adopt the idea that helping pregnant women and families living at the poverty line is a joint effort. Pregnancy clinics/centers should not bear this responsibility alone. Get to know your local clinic/center. Go visit. Find out what they do. More importantly, find out what they need. You might just have the referral or the resource that they could offer to a mom that would lift her burden and allow her to say yes to life. 

Fighting legislation that damages pregnancy centers and clinics is a good fight. We pray for the success of those efforts. Equally important is the local, on-the-ground collaboration that builds up a community and offers a social safety net, provided by the people of God, to moms and families in need.

Full story at Angelus.