Testimony of Jeanneane Maxon, Esq., Americans United for Life
On House Concurrent Resolution 31; a resolution commending the work of pregnancy care centers in New Hampshire and across the United States.
January 27, 2012
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
The life-affirming impact of pregnancy care centers (also known as “crisis pregnancy centers” and “pregnancy resource centers”) on the women and the communities they serve is considerable. Each year, the reach and influence of pregnancy care centers grow as more centers open, as public opinion on abortion increasingly shifts to a pro-life ethic, and as centers receive more favorable attention for their important work. Today, thousands of pregnancy care centers operate across the country including here in New Hampshire, serving women with compassion and integrity and offering them positive alternatives for unplanned pregnancies.
More than 2,500 pregnancy care centers across the United States including those in New Hampshire provide invaluable free services to hundreds of thousands of women facing unplanned pregnancies. Services offered by centers typically include:
- Free pregnancy tests;
- One-on-one, nonjudgmental options counseling;
- Temporary housing, food, clothing, furniture, and other material assistance;
- Childbirth and parenting classes;
- Ultrasounds, pre-natal vitamins, and other medical care;
- Education and employment counseling;
- 24-hour telephone hotlines; and
- Referrals to health care, adoption agencies, and other support services.
In 2010, pregnancy care centers served over 2.3 million people. A conservative estimate of community cost savings for these services during 2010 is well over $100 million. In addition to specific cost savings, pregnancy care centers drew on the help of 71,000 volunteers who performed an estimated 5,705,000 uncompensated hours of work in 2010.
Helping achieve positive health outcomes in their communities, pregnancy care centers maintain high professional standards. Over 2,300 pregnancy care centers are affiliated with national organizations such as Care Net, Heartbeat International, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). As a condition of affiliation with these national organizations, pregnancy care centers are required to abide by the “Commitment of Care and Competence,” a detailed ethical code of practice. Furthermore, these national organizations maintain medical advisory boards, and affiliates are provided with conference and training opportunities, legal updates and manuals, policy and procedure manuals, medical service manuals, and other materials reviewed and approved by legal and medical professionals.
Importantly, pregnancy care centers provide women with compassionate and confidential counseling in a nonjudgmental manner regardless of their pregnancy outcomes. Women who have used the services of a center reported a 98% positive effect, including 71% who had a very positive effect, according to a survey of 630 women conducted by the Wirthlin Group. Of those women who were aware of pregnancy care centers, 87% believed they have a positive impact on the women they serve, including a majority of those who identified themselves as “pro-choice.”
House Concurrent Resolution 31 provides this legislature and the people of New Hampshire with an important opportunity to voice their strong support for pregnancy care centers and their unique, positive contributions to the individual lives of women, men, and babies—both born and unborn.