We hear a lot of talk about how the right to choose an abortion empowers women. But at Care Net, we feel there is a different way to empower women.
When a woman is faced with an unexpected pregnancy, a wide range of emotions come into play. Her circumstances might not be ideal: her partner might not be the one she wants to have a baby with, she might not be financially or emotionally prepared for a child, she may have plans for her life that simply don’t include a child.
We understand that a woman facing these circumstances does not really want to have an abortion- She feels trapped by circumstances and sees the situation as a no-win scenario. Among the most common reasons cited by women are a financial burden, unreadiness, and relational struggles (presumably with the father). Faced with these struggles, she finds herself unable to add pregnancy and childbirth to the list.
And then she receives messages like: “Abortion is a safe and simple procedure.” The implication is that “The answer to your problem is safe and simple.” But this thinking is flawed. With abortion, one life has to end so another can flourish. At Care Net, we think both can flourish.
We believe that true empowerment of women starts by addressing those difficult life circumstances, enabling her to face them and become stronger and more confident. We empower her to take control of her life, rather than be limited by barriers. How do we do that?
- We empower women by giving them information. It’s an old but true adage: knowledge is power. Decision-making is driven by good information. Using the Wisconsin Department of Health Services informed consent guidebook, our nurses provide evidence-based medical information on abortion and fetal development. Our nurses and advocates provide a space for women to discuss their feelings, values, and fears while exploring current life stressors.
- We empower women by providing ongoing support. Our help doesn’t end when clients walk out the door of our clinic. We provide follow-up through phone calls and scheduling additional appointments. If they choose to parent, we provide pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting education – empowering women with skills they need to be the best mother they can be.
- We empower women by working to involve the father of their baby. Research has shown that both women and their children are better off when the father is involved in their child’s life. When the father is involved the mother benefits from a healthier pregnancy, and lower rates of postpartum depression–and better mental health overall. There is less financial burden Additionally, children receive more physical, emotional, and mental benefits when their father is present in their lives. Our Being Dad program helps fathers step into their new role through education, one-on-one counseling and mentoring.
- We empower women by removing barriers. Women always weigh abortion in the context of other life circumstances. At Care Net, we empower women by helping them overcome those barriers. Each woman has a unique set of circumstances. We actively work to help each woman find a way to remove the barriers that prevent her from saying yes to her unborn child. Some need housing, some need educational resources or employment help. Some need material resources like diapers and baby clothes. We work with each client to meet those needs or direct them to where they can find the help they need. By removing barriers, we empower her to make a decision that is honoring to both her and her unborn child.
We want every woman who walks into our clinic to feel loved, worthy and –yes- empowered to say yes to the life inside of her. She is not without resources. She is not without hope. She does not have to walk this path alone. We’ll be right beside her as she grows in confidence and overcomes challenges one by one. Thank you for joining us as we help women and men say yes to a promising future for both themselves and their unborn child.