Pregnancy Resource Centers (formerly known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers) get a lot of attention from both sides, on social media, and in representations on TV and in film. These representations aren’t necessarily accurate. There’s a lot of misinformation from both the pro-choice and pro-life sides about what these clinics are and what they do. In fact, many people refer to them as “fake abortion clinics.” Unlike Planned Parenthood, there’s no national “brand” for Pregnancy Resource Centers. They’re all privately owned and operated, usually by a small group of volunteers and nurses. Because they all have different names and branding, they can sometimes come off as being shady or “tricking” women into thinking they are abortion clinics. These centers aren’t covered by the media very often. Unless you’ve visited one or volunteered at one yourself, it can be hard to know exactly what goes on at a PRC. Here are the facts:
The Resources Offered At PRCs Are 100% Free
Because every PRC is owned and operated by different people, the resources offered at each one vary. The one thing that is the same across the board, is that these resources are totally free to patients. Some of the most common resources found at PRCs include pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD tests, classes/counseling, connections to unemployment offices and low-income housing assistance, free childcare, free clothes/diapers/formula/etc.
Most PRCs Have At Least One Medical Professional On Staff
Even though PRCs are volunteer-based, most try to employ at least one nurse that can perform ultrasounds and other, more involved, health tests.
PRCs Operate Using Mostly Volunteers
In order to keep their resources free, the majority of people who work for PRCs are unpaid volunteers. The training to become a volunteer is very involved. It usually takes at least 8-12 hours of the course of a weekend. The volunteers learn how to legally administer pregnancy tests, offer counseling and resources, protect patients’ privacy, connect women with resources to get them out of abusive relationships, find employment and housing assistance, etc.
While PRCs Are Often Religiously Affiliated, Most Do Not Push A Religious Agenda
The majority of PRCs are operated through a religious organization or church or are supported by a church, but the women who use the resources have the option to choose if they want the religious support or not. The PRC I volunteered at offered Christian-based counseling and classes, as well as secular ones, and it was up to the woman which classes she chose.
While Most Are “Anti-Abortion”, The Main Goal Is To Offer Free Resources
The majority of PRCs have literature on all options the woman has (including abortion). The volunteer may try to counsel the woman towards choosing life, but the main goal is to educate the woman. If a woman decides to have an abortion, the PRC will educate the woman on all laws she needs to know and the rights she has as an abortion-seeking patient. PRCs are a wealth of knowledge and will help you make the right decision.
There Are More PRCs Than There Are Planned Parenthoods
There are a little over 600 Planned Parenthood clinics in the US. That seems like a big number but it’s dwarfed in comparison to the number of PRCs. There are over 2,000 PRCs in the United States. You can use this website to find your nearest PRC.
Even If A Woman Ultimately Chooses Abortion, The PRC Will Continue To Offer Resources And Assistance
Most PRCs offer post-abortive counseling that can help a woman heal after her abortion. They will also continue to offer resources to the post-abortive woman that aren’t related to her child.
The Resources Don’t Stop With The Baby
A number of the resources PRCs offer have nothing to do with the baby. Some examples of these resources are:
Connections to Unemployment Offices
Connections to free or low-income housing
Helping the woman apply for WIC, Food Stamps, etc.
Couples counseling for mom and dad