Twenty-nine states enable taxpayer funding to go to pregnancy resource centers (PRCs, often called crisis pregnancy centers), which are usually antiabortion organizations that aim to dissuade women from abortion. Some abortion rights advocates have called for the elimination of PRCs. However, we know little about why women visit PRCs.
We analyzed deidentified intake survey data from first-time clients to a secular, all-options PRC located in Indiana between July and December 2015 on their reason(s) for seeking services, material resources provided and content of any peer counseling. We analyzed visitor logs of all (not just first-time) clients for repeat clients. Frequencies were computed in Excel.
A total of 273 first-time clients visited the PRC during the study period. Their most frequent reason for seeking services was free diapers (87%), followed by baby clothes/items (44%). They most frequently discussed parenting resources/referrals in peer counseling (55%). Only 6% of clients discussed pregnancy options and only 2% discussed abortion during peer counseling. Nearly half of the PRC's total clients were repeat visitors.
PRC clients largely sought parenting, not pregnancy, resources. The underutilization of pregnancy-options counseling and high demand for parenting materials and services point to unmet needs among caregivers of young children, particularly for diapers. Our findings are limited in their generalizability to typical PRCs, which are conservative Christian and antiabortion. Nonetheless, our results suggest the need to rethink the allocation of resources toward funding or eliminating PRCs solely for the purpose of influencing women's decisions about abortion.
Understanding the services women who go to PRCs seek (i.e. diapers and parenting support) can help women's health advocates better meet those needs, notably in contexts that are nonjudgmental about women's pregnancy decisions.
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Published online: April 13, 2016
Accepted: April 6, 2016
Received in revised form: April 4, 2016
Received: January 25, 2016
© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.