Written by: Meg Carnahan
My name is Meg Carnahan, and I have the honor of holding the position of director of the Women’s Centers of Ohio through Elizabeth’s New Life Center. Throughout my seven years with Elizabeth’s New Life Center I have had the opportunity to work with some of the bravest women I have ever met. The clients who walk through the doors of our eight locations are at the center of everything we do. Many of you are familiar with the work of pregnancy resource centers and the services that we provide. At our centers we provide free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, material assistance and education. Instead of sharing with you the details of the services we provide I would like to share with you the why behind what we do.
Approximately two years ago we had a client who was in her twenties who came to us for a pregnancy test and ultrasound. While reviewing her intake paperwork she informed the consultant that this was her fourth pregnancy but it would be her first child. She chose to have an abortion with all three of her previous pregnancies. She, however, had decided to carry this baby to term. She said that before it was never the right timing but she was ready now. While receiving her ultrasound she completely fell apart and began to sob. The scanner began to comfort and reassure her that everything would be ok. The immediate thought of the scanner was that the client must be considering abortion again. But that wasn’t it. After calming down the client was able to explain her strong emotions. Right now she was 9 weeks pregnant and that was as far along as she was with each of her previous pregnancies and abortions. Although this was her fourth pregnancy and her fourth pregnancy ultrasound this was the very first ultrasound that she saw for herself. As she saw that perfect little baby bouncing around inside of her she was hit with the realization that she aborted three of her children and never knew that they, too, were perfect little babies bouncing around. She thought that they were simply blobs of tissue because that is what she was told. When having her other ultrasounds, she remembers the scanner saying “you don’t want to see it do you?”. This is WHY we offer free ultrasounds and education on abortion procedures. Too many women are making a decision that will change their lives forever without having the full knowledge of what they are choosing.
Several years ago I was leading a group class on human sexuality. This class was designed to teach our clients about how their bodies work, how they were each fearfully and wonderfully made by God and how they could teach their children and protect them from sexual abuse. While having a discussion on what each client was taught as a child, one client shared an incredibly vulnerable story. When she was just 12 years old and living with her grandmother she remembered her cousins telling her that if a man wanted her, then that meant she was pretty. She admitted that she didn’t really know what they meant by a man wanting her but she knew that she wanted to feel pretty. No one ever talked to her about how her body worked. Not long after this conversation with her cousins her grandmother took her to the doctor because she suspected that she was pregnant. Sure enough she was pregnant. Her grandmother told her that she was pregnant and she replied by saying “I don’t understand.” She said honey there is a baby in your belly. Her response was “How did it get there?”
This is WHY we offer education to every client. We cannot assume that people will just know how their bodies work. And we never assume that our clients know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that they have a Father in heaven who loves them dearly and has a plan for their lives.
At each of our centers we strive to be a safe place where a woman can come at her most vulnerable and she will be met right where she is. We are not here to judge her or condemn her, we are here to show her the love of Christ through our words and actions. We know that judgement and condemnation will not lead to changed hearts or minds. Empathy, grace and mercy are the seeds that we strive to plant every single day. The lives of countless sweet innocent unborn babies walk through our doors every single day. This is our biggest WHY. We are here to serve the fourteen-year-old girl who is scared and wants to keep her baby but is being pressured by her mother and family to abort, so that she can have a better life. We are here for the Mom who will be kicked out of school because of a pregnancy and sees abortion as her only option. We are here for the married couple who finally feels financially stable and believes that bringing another child into their home will ruin everything. We are here for the woman who is pregnant because she was violated. We are here for the woman who so desperately wants a child but keeps getting negative test results. We are here for the woman who is experiencing her third miscarriage. We are here for the women who feel alone, terrified, confused, lost, unlovable, and abandoned. We are here for the woman who is making a permanent decision for a temporary problem. To be honest we are never the ones who are changing hearts and minds. We ask the Lord every single day to work through us to allow us to be His vessels, to speak through us as we humbly share His love, grace, and mercy with every woman we come in contact with. And it is Him who changes hearts and minds.
So, as Elizabeth’s New Life Center, we ask you: What is your why? Why do you support the pro-life mission at ENLC, and how are you following through with your actions? Visit our Get Involved page to see how you can help.