In our contemporary political climate, it is often the case that people more readily argue about babies than take care of them. This political argument, however, almost always focuses solely on the pregnancy of the mother. It very rarely goes beyond that to include or take seriously the health, development, and future of the child and family. Certainly, both sides of the aisle have been criticized for neglecting this part of the issue but pro-life advocates get particularly harsh criticism on this point.
Pro-lifers may take most of the heat on the issue but it is simply false to claim that the pro-life movement does not care for mothers and children beyond pregnancy. During the month of May, pro-life advocates, manifested in the Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI) and the Go Beyond group, organized (for the second year in a row) a diaper drive for pregnancy care centers across Lancaster County. Kurt Weaver, Director of Strategic Partnerships for PFI, describes the event in this way, “The Bible commands us to serve others much like Christ Jesus served us by laying down his life… Pregnancy centers around the county are serving young moms in tremendous ways by counseling them, giving them support, and giving them essentials they need to raise a child. As a pro-life organization, we want to do all we can to support pregnancy centers and moms who are choosing life… We encouraged churches, businesses, individuals, and others to join us in donating as many diapers as possible.”
The purpose of this drive was to assist pregnancy care centers in Lancaster County with their care of newborns and their mothers. As you parents out there well know, diapers and baby wipes are very expensive. These can be items that underprivileged families and people in crisis pregnancies do not have access to. These pregnancy centers help by providing free diapers and wipes to mothers and their children up to two years of age. And so far, over 29,000 diapers and almost 3,000 wipes have been donated. Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services collected just over 12,000 diapers alone and they expect this to be enough diapers for an entire year. It is incredible to see the outpouring of love and support for new mothers and families in crisis situations from the pro-life community in Lancaster County.
So, what is it about these pregnancy centers that is causing the local pro-life community to rise up in astounding support? Well, it seems to me that it is a combination of things. First of all, as one employee of Pregnancy Resources at Cornerstone put it, their “first priority is to help people who are in a crisis pregnancy, choose life.” It is, in many ways, as simple as that. Pregnancy care centers “help people in our community by providing free & confidential ultrasounds and education to empower women to make an informed pregnancy decision. Prenatal & parenting classes to equip moms and dads to confidently parent their children,” said Julie Baum, Supporter Relations Director at Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services. These centers are interested in helping women and their families avoid abortion and not feel abandoned for that decision.
Secondly, these pregnancy centers care about far more than just the pregnancy of the mothers. They care about the well being of the mother, child, and family beyond pregnancy. This is something not often noted today. These pregnancy centers are equipped to “work with a family for the long-term.” Not only do many provide material assistance up to the age of two, but they also connect the mothers and children with other community groups that help all of the family’s needs not just its needs surrounding the pregnancy.
It is unfortunately rare in today’s world that we see organizations, such as pregnancy care centers, that are interested in the holistic aid of mothers, children, and families. It is, for them, about helping people choose life but not stopping there. One of the goods in choosing life is to see that life grow, flourish, and become good. Go Beyond and PFI, understand that. They understand that in order to truly support life we must support mothers, children, and families beyond pregnancy.
If you are interested in starting a Diaper Drive in your community, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by James Davenport, summer intern, rising senior at Eastern University