Hope Women’s Centers is a place where women have been going for help with unplanned pregnancies since 1987. Hope provides free and confidential services. Helping women in Broward County for almost 30 years inspires a level of trust when a woman understands that Hope does not profit financially from the decision she makes – unlike the abortion provider who makes a profit from selling abortion. There are 20 known abortion clinics in Broward County, not counting hospitals and private physicians’ offices where abortions are being performed. Today, more than one in three pregnancies in Broward County ends in abortion.
The staff at Hope has doing research for over a year on how men influence a woman’s decision in an unplanned pregnancy. Some of that research explores how the involvement of birth fathers affects the woman’s pregnancy and the child’s welfare – both before and after birth. The evidence is overwhelming that fathers are critical in the decision-making process when women are deciding between abortion and carrying a child to term. He is the single most persuasive influence on the woman’s decision. He staff and board of directors at Hope Women’s Centers have decided there is a great need to add counseling services for men in order to truly help women.
Who is showing them a better way?
Who is paying attention to the young men who are involved in unplanned pregnancies? Who is educating them about abortion procedures and risks, fetal development and the long-term side effects of abortion – both to their partners and to themselves? Who is calling them to “man-up” and take responsibility for their actions, to respect the women that are in their lives and work hard to create a better future? Who is speaking spiritual truth into their lives and challenging them to be the men that God created them to be? Hope Women’s Centers wants to be that voice. Men are needed who have a heart for the unborn, a relationship with Christ and the ability to connect with millennials who are facing unplanned pregnancies.
Who is teaching today’s young fathers how to support the lives of the children they help create? Hope Women’s Centers believes that one thing they can do to help women who are pregnant is to offer the same free, caring and compassionate counsel to the fathers of these babies that they offer to the women themselves. They believe that helping men become involved fathers will have a tremendous long-term impact on our community. The generational cycles of fatherless can be stopped as young men are taught about how important their role is in the life of their developing child. Hope Women’s Centers is looking for men who are willing to be trained to serve as male client advocates and meet with the young men who visit the centers with their partners.
A call to action
The trained client advocates at Hope Women’s Centers are committed to sharing well-documented medical facts with patients According to Hope’s 2015 statistics, 3,880 new patients visited one of their clinics for a pregnancy test. There was a total of 1,367 men who accompanied them and sat in the waiting room while the women saw a Client Advocate. They were boyfriends, fiancés, husbands, fathers and grandfathers – but resulted in 1,367 lost opportunities because there was no program in place to address the needs of these men who are a critical element in the pregnancy decision. Imagine the difference that could be made if Hope could be intentional about inviting the patients to bring their partners and assuring them that a man would be available to talk with them.
Offering services for men will provide both short-term as well as long-term benefits in our community. In the short-term we will see a reduction in the number of abortions, preserving our greatest asset, which is the next generation. According to CareNet®, the largest pro-life network in the United States, 99 percent of men who see an ultrasound image of their child will encourage the child’s mother to choose life. In the long-term, there will be an improvement in the involvement of fathers in their children’s lives that will result in increases in the quality of life for their children plus decreases in the negative behaviors of those children when they reach adolescence, [i.e. risky sexual behaviors, smoking, drug use, victimization, and mental distress] according to the National Fatherhood Initiative.
Hope Women’s Centers believes that helping men participate in the pregnancy decision, teaching them the importance of their involvement in their child’s life, and equipping them to be 24/7 Dads®, whether or not they remain in a long-term relationship with the mother, will be a good thing for Broward County. Hope’s desire is to help patients achieve their life goals and give them tools to improve the quality of the lives of their children, not just a focus on encouraging the mother to give birth. They want to see more than just decisions for life…they want to see each patient equipped to live an abundant life. They want to see each patient encouraged by giving them tools to accomplish their goals.
According to the Department of Vital Statistics, America is facing a crisis. In 1970, 85 percent of the children in America lived in a two-parent home, but that number had fallen to 69 percent by the mid-1990’s, where it has held steady. In comparison, only 7 percent of American children lived in single-parent homes in 1970, but today that number has grown to 46 percent – which translates to 24 million children living apart from one of their parents – in most cases, from their fathers. Hope Women’s Centers wants to do something about this crisis by reaching out to men.
Call Hope today at 954-372-7089 if you are interested in obtaining more information about “Men of Hope,” the new program that is being developed to protect life and share ways to experience abundant life.
Florida Agency for Health Care Administration
Nancy McDonald is president/CEO at Hope Women’s Centers. For more information, visit friendsofhope.com.