As CEO of one of the largest pregnancy clinics in Tennessee, I’ve become intimately familiar with the reasons a woman chooses life for her child — as well as the reasons she chooses to terminate.
Countless hours spent listening to the concerns, fears, and desires of pregnant women have opened my eyes to a tough reality: outlawing abortion isn’t enough to fully take it off the table.
That doesn’t mean we should ignore the importance of laws: we live in the wealthiest and most advanced nation in the world’s history. The way we treat our most vulnerable population — the unborn — ought to reflect this.
Still, the primary force in a woman’s decision-making process isn’t rules or regulations, it’s often a matter of how prepared and supported she is for the lifelong journey of motherhood.
Last week, I was speaking to one of the moms in our parenting support program. She brought up the issue of Roe, asking, “What is everyone going to do now for all these women having children? How are they going to show their support for us now that abortion is off the table?”
This came from someone who loves being a mother and pours her life into her kids despite financial insecurity, abuse, and fear. In her honesty, she captures the heart of so many who wonder: Now what?
If you’re with me in celebrating the end of Roe, I challenge you with this question: How are you actively supporting life? If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas.
Connect with your local pregnancy center… Don’t just drop off diapers.
There are over 3,000 pregnancy centers across the U.S. that exist to serve those facing an unplanned pregnancy. Many offer specialized support such as parenting classes, professional counseling, mentoring, community referrals, and yes, material goods.
Even if you’re already connected, please call or email your local pregnancy center before buying items to donate. We are inundated with new support, and though we appreciate all donations, diapers may not be what we need. The most in-demand resources might be infant formula, nurses, and most importantly, financial donations to support existing programs.
Ask how you can best help, and follow through! Don’t allow your zeal to become a hindrance to organizations that are needed now more than ever.
Support parenthood as business leaders.
I am a believer in a free market and corporate accountability by stakeholders. Many businesses are making the reactive and selfish decision to fund out-of-state abortions for women in their companies.
What if instead, we actually provided support so our employees wouldn’t have to consider abortion? Providing months of paid maternity or paternity leave may not be possible, but there are many other ways to make parenting more plausible for your staff.
Consider creating an employee adoption fund: the average U.S. domestic adoption costs at least $20,000 for most families. Allow flexible schedules for working moms and dads. Trust your employees with less restrictive time-off so they don’t have to choose between their child’s health and their own. Offer daycare stipends — or, if you’re large enough, onsite daycare. Finally, provide financial education to your staff so they can experience independence: I recommend SmartDollar.
Become a foster parent or support a healthy foster system near you.
Most abortion-vulnerable women instantly shut down at the idea of adoption. Often, their understanding of the word “adoption” has been corrupted by experiences with our foster care system.
Unplanned and teenage pregnancy is often the result of trauma within the foster care system and unstable home lives. They have seen families torn apart by broken systems and distrust the idea of someone else raising their child.
The goal of the foster care system is reuniting children with their birth parents. Consider becoming a safe, stable step along that journey. My recommended first steps are attending Show Hope’s Hope for Journey Conference on trauma-informed parenting, educating yourself on early childhood trauma (A.C.E.s) caused by disrupted attachment, and contacting your local D.C.S. office to become a trained foster home.
To help more immediately, consider dropping off baked goods or coffee to your local D.C.S. workers who may feel the greatest weight in the early years of a post-Roe world.
Be compassionate in your advocacy.
The nuances of this issue are often lost in our divided landscape. With harsh rhetoric comes renewed pain and trauma for millions of women and men with abortions in their past.
Terminating a pregnancy often results in feelings of shame, grief, anger, anxiety, and depression. Speak the truth about abortion with kindness, and check on your friends who have confided in you that they are post-abortive.
If you are able, connect them with a post-abortive support group. Our organization, Hope Clinic for Women, hosts a bi-monthly virtual support group for women to process in the privacy and safety of community.
The Work Must Continue
Ultimately, making something illegal doesn’t make it disappear. Laws must affirm truth, but they can’t eliminate the reasons women see abortion as their best or only option.
Our country has a long way to go to make abortion unthinkable, and it starts in the same way we got to this landmark moment: With small groups of people working together to stand up for the voiceless.
This weekend, we celebrated a historic affirmation of the sanctity of life. But now, the work boots go back on. There is much to be done.
Kailey Cornett is the CEO of Hope Clinic For Women in Nashville, Tennessee.