As Democratic politicians continue to claim that crisis pregnancy centers harm women through lies and coercion, one woman has credited such an organization with saving her life.
Pro-life pregnancy centers have received the ire of Democratic politicians following the U.S. Supreme Court's June 24 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that overruled the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, with one senator even pushing for such organizations to be shut down.
The targeting of pregnancy centers does not sit well with Gina Marie, a mother who has been helped greatly by a pro-life pregnancy center. She came across a blog post stating that pregnancy centers are "fake" and encouraged people to vandalize them, as many have been vandalized in the months leading up to and after the Supreme Court's ruling.
In October 2019, Marie received help from Aid for Women, a pro-life pregnancy center with several locations in the suburbs surrounding Chicago, Illinois. After all that the organization had done for her, Marie told The Christian Post in an interview that she just "lost it" after seeing the blog post. The post prompted her to take to Facebook to share her experience.
"I was like 'Anyone and everyone who thinks that pregnancy centers are not real, they are very real. Me and my children would not be here today, literally would not be here today. I would either be dead or in prison if it wasn't for Aid for Women,'" she wrote in the post.
"I took that super personally because they met me in a spot in my life where I was kind of willing to just literally give up," she said. "And now that I got where I'm at today, it's just like, 'Oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh,'" she said.
Marie first discovered Aid for Women after learning she was pregnant in her late 20s. In the months before reaching out to the group, Marie was homeless and living out of hotels, unable to afford the one where she was staying when she found out about the pregnancy.
She met the baby's father at a bar. When she told him about their child, he threatened to tell the police that she raped him if she didn't have an abortion.
At the time, Marie struggled with an addiction to drugs and alcohol and had spent time in jail, which caused her family to distance themselves from her. She got in touch with her mom, who asked to meet her at Denny's. After meeting Marie at the restaurant, her mother provided her with Aid for Women's phone number.
"When I found out I was pregnant, it was a huge life change," Marie said. "My whole entire life was about to change. I thought that it was going to end, but it turns out that was exactly what God wanted."
At first, the expectant mother was skeptical about what the organization could do for her, thinking it was just a phone number. But she called them, and within a week, she moved into Heather's House, one of the center's maternity homes for women.
In addition to providing Marie with housing, the Aid for Women staff drove her to and from job interviews, which she had started applying for immediately after moving into the home. She got a job at an animal hospital within a week of living at the home, and the staff continued to drive her to work.
"They also drove me back and forth to the grocery store, the doctors. They even paid for me to go back to school for a couple of semesters," she recalled.
Marie gave birth to her daughter in February 2020. But she also has a son born in December 2010. While at Heather's House, Aid for Women drove Marie to visit her son, who has been living with his grandparents for around four years.
"They paid for my therapy. They paid for some dental work," she said. "Pretty much whenever there was a need, they met it and took care of it."
Marie says that even now, the staff continues to help her. She has remained friends with the organization's director, who she talks with regularly about paying for her therapy.
"They have given me diapers or gas cards if I needed it," Marie said. "They're still super involved in my life."
Marie is going to school full-time and studying sonography while working part-time at her daughter's daycare. She will graduate from school in two years. Additionally, Marie expects her son to live with her and her daughter within three months as she and her parents work on a transition plan.
According to a 2020 report released by the national pro-life lobbying group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America and its research arm, the Charlotte Lozier Institute, 2,700 pregnancy centers nationwide provided almost 2 million people with free resources at an estimated value of nearly $270 million in 2019.
A 2017 CLI report estimated that the free resources pregnancy centers offered clients saved communities nearly $161 million annually.
Despite the benefits these groups provide pregnant women and their families, there is in Congress to crack down on what Democrat lawmakers call the "deceptive tactics" of pro-life pregnancy organizations that dissuade women from having abortions.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., introduced the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act, which claims that pregnancy centers advertise themselves as "providers of comprehensive health care" to prevent abortions.
If passed, the bill would "direct the Federal Trade Commission to prescribe rules prohibiting disinformation in the advertising of abortion services."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a cosponsor of the bill, went as far as to claim that pregnancy centers "torture" women and should be shut down.
In a July 6 Twitter post, Warren expressed concern that pregnancy centers outnumber abortion facilities "3 to 1" in Massachusetts.
"We must do everything to protect Americans seeking reproductive care," Warren wrote.
Democrat members of Congress also called on Google to make it more difficult for users to find pro-life pregnancy centers online.
The politician's efforts against pro-life centers come as several pro-life organizations nationwide have been targeted with firebombings and other acts of vandalism after a draft opinion was released in May showing that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The CompassCare pro-life pregnancy center in Amherst, New York, was firebombed on June 7. The act was alleged to have been carried out by activists affiliated with Jane's Revenge. This group also claimed responsibility for other acts of vandalism, including the firebombing of a pro-life lobbying group's office in Madison, Wisconsin. CompassCare re-opened about two months later in August.
After the firebombing, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a law asking the New York State Department of Health to conduct a study and issue a report "examining the unmet health and resource needs facing pregnant people in New York and the impact of limited service pregnancy centers" that don't refer patients for abortion.
CompasCare CEO Jim Harden told CP that the bill essentially was the state government's way of saying that it will not be "investigating the arsonists but investigating the victims."
"[It's] not just a physical attack but a legislative attack and a PR attack as well as leveraging ... chief law enforcement officers and attorneys general to attack pro-life pregnancy centers," Harden said. "We haven't done anything wrong and the only thing we've done is provide ethical medical care and comprehensive community support to women in need for free without any state or federal money being invested in us."