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Preparing for Miracles
In the wake of the Dobbs V. Jackson ruling that deemed the right to abortion unconstitutional, Hope Pregnancy Center is celebrating life and readying for the work ahead.
BUNDLE UP BABY – Village Baptist Church volunteer, Sydney Porter, serves as a facilitator in Hope’s Empowered Parenting Program. During this class, Porter teaches expectant parents how to swaddle babies.
White has served for 15 years with Hope Pregnancy Center, a part of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children. She began as a volunteer before eventually becoming the organization’s leader. Currently, there are Hope Pregnancy Centers in north Oklahoma City, south Oklahoma City, Edmond, Tulsa and Ardmore.
The centers seek to assist women, men and families as they navigate unplanned pregnancies. White says staff and volunteers discuss three options with clients — parenting, adoption and abortion — with no judgment. Their ultimate desire is that those who seek guidance and support from the centers choose life for their unborn child.
Hope Pregnancy Center began to receive phone calls from women in Texas soon after what is known as the “Texas Heartbeat Act” was signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in May 2021. The law bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks after conception.
“We spoke to a lot of women on the phone from Texas who were afraid to go to Texas crisis pregnancy centers because of the new law,” White says.
The Texas Heartbeat Act sparked the creation and passage of pro-life legislation in numerous states across the country. The Oklahoma Legislature passed its own series of pro-life laws, including a law banning abortion at conception.
At the national level, the Supreme Court ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson and effectively declared that the constitutional right to abortion does not exist. White, like the rest of the country, knows the ruling has the potential to dramatically alter the pro-life landscape.
LITTLE LESSONS – Empowered parenting participants are shown the developmental stages of their child utilizing life-like fetal models. A mother-to-be holds it close to her heart while intently listening to the teacher.
To meet this need, Hope has increased its medical staff so more ultrasounds and pregnancy tests may be conducted. This is significant because 82 percent of the centers’ clients who have an ultrasound choose to have their baby instead of abortion.
Karen Alley, director of the Tulsa Hope Pregnancy Center, sees a specific need for medical volunteers, as well as more men to become center volunteers. Their presence would help Hope fulfill its mission to stand with women and men beyond the point of decision in a crisis pregnancy.
The centers have also conducted staff training to connect with young parents through Hope’s Empowered Parenting program. These weekly classes walk individuals and couples from early pregnancy all the way through the first year of the child’s life. Weekly classes are held to prepare expectant moms and dads.
A pilot fatherhood program recently began, which pairs fathers in need of support and encouragement with men from Oklahoma Baptist churches. Hope’s leadership believes this new program is important because about 20 percent of the centers’ clients are married.
Young, who serves as associate vice president of development for Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, says people began reaching out to express their support as early as May, when the Supreme Court’s draft opinion suggesting support for the overturning of Roe v. Wade was leaked.
“The first thing we noticed was friends, donors, businesses and churches who had supported us over the years, saying we’re praying for you,” Young recalls. “And then, once the decision did come out, it was just wonderful. We had people calling and leaving voicemails for us, sending text messages to staff and volunteers.”
MENTORING FATHERS – Warren Pybas, a Hope volunteer from Quail Springs Baptist Church, instructs two young fathers on the importance of being involved in the lives of their children.
“While performing a surgical abortion here in Oklahoma is now illegal, changing the law does not change the heart,” Young says. “There are many women who still feel abortion is their best option. We want to reach them first, before they go out of state to obtain a surgical abortion or before they order the abortion pill.”
Young adds that donations and pledges of support demonstrate something significant about the pro-life community in Oklahoma.
“Often in the media, we hear the message that all we want to do is save the baby, and that’s not true,” she says. “Our mission statement is to help young men and women have hope and choose life. We want to help them think through all of their pregnancy options and know they have alternatives to abortion. Many times when women choose abortion, it’s because they don’t believe they have the financial capability to raise a child. They are encouraged to know Oklahoma Baptists and others who care about them will walk alongside them long after the baby is born.”
Hope is already preparing to make more changes in 2023, namely increasing after-hours staff who will be available to talk to people seeking guidance on the weekends.
White says that though she doesn’t know exactly what the future holds for the pregnancy centers, she is determined that Hope’s committed staff and volunteers will continue providing support to women, men and families.
“I love this work,” she says, smiling. “I love getting to be a witness to miracles.”
Your Giving Helps Parents Choose Life
Hope Pregnancy Center brings light and life to a world faced with uncertainty by providing solutions to difficult decisions stemming from unplanned pregnancy. WatersEdge can help you multiply your financial gift in support of Hope. You can also be a part of the organization’s mission by praying and volunteering.