Blayne Wittig was a 19-year-old college student when she found out she was pregnant.
She had gone to the campus health clinic for what she thought was the flu. When her pregnancy test came back positive, it was a shock.
The nurse at the clinic was compassionate, but her form of compassion was to point Blayne in the direction of the local Planned Parenthood for an abortion.
There was no conversation.
There were no other options given.
There was no attempt to understand Blayne’s background or current circumstances.
One option – to get an abortion – was presented as Blayne’s only hope in what felt like a hopeless situation. As a young woman away from home for the first time and without any other support system around her, Blayne accepted the nurse’s recommendation without question. And when she became pregnant a second time in college, the choice had already been made. She got another abortion.
Blayne’s story is not uncommon. Too often, young women facing unplanned pregnancies are rushed to an abortion facility without ever having time to fully process the words, “you’re pregnant.”
Pregnancy centers want to help change that.
These centers exist to step in during those first moments after a woman finds out she is unexpectedly pregnant. They want to help the women they serve process this new information and help them to consider all of the options – not just one option. They provide the women who come into their clinics a safe place where they can find support, share their fears, and ask questions without pressure or judgement.
Now, as a Christian, Blayne feels called to use her experiences to help other women. She doesn’t want other women to be forced to make the same mistakes that she did. That’s why she now serves as the executive director of Options for Women of California—a pro-life pregnancy center in Concord, California.
The staff at Options for Women wants to help women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy talk through their options and make the most informed choice they can. They want to come alongside the women that walk through their doors and be “the village” that helps them give life to their child. They want the women that walk through their doors to know that they are strong and capable, and that they are not alone.
It’s similar to the mission of many of California’s pro-life pregnancy centers.
But a California law seeks to force these pregnancy centers to advertise for the abortion industry. The law requires these pregnancy centers to communicate that California offers free or low-cost abortions and a phone number where women can call to get more information. Among other requirements, the government has mandated that pregnancy centers post signs in their own waiting rooms or provide brochures that communicate this information.
Not only does this go against the mission of these pregnancy centers, but it directly contradicts what Blayne and others are trying to do. Instead of allowing the pregnancy center staff to get to know the woman and her situation, they are forced to discuss abortion the very first time they talk with her. The law compels these centers to offer a “solution” right away – a solution they do not want to facilitate.
Pro-life pregnancy centers are happy to talk with women about all of their options, including abortion. But they are also committed to telling the truth. And truthfully, abortion can only bring harm – to the baby, of course, but also to the mother.
Blayne would know. She has had to deal with the aftermath of two abortions and heal from the pain they caused.
That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom argued against the law at the U.S. Supreme Court on March 20, representing the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) and their affiliated pregnancy centers in California.
A government that has the power to force pro-life pregnancy centers to communicate a message that violates their beliefs and contradicts their mission should concern us all.