FCLNY's Regional Coordinator Erin Ortega
January, 2023, Washington, D.C.
For the last 5 years I have been serving in a crisis pregnancy center in the Hudson Valley of NY, about 90 mins north of NYC. We are the only pregnancy center in Orange county and the only one in 4 counties that provides onsite ultrasounds. We serve women from the tristate area. 75% of the hundreds of women I’ve worked with were either considering abortion or determined to have one. We opened a maternity home in March 2020.
Overturning Roe is surely a victory. Because any non violent effort made to protect those who cannot protect themselves is a victory.
After all, I’ve never met a single woman who wants an abortion. I have met hundreds who are convinced it’s their only choice.
Roe is gone but our work in NY, and other “sanctuary” states just got harder. Women are finding out they’re pregnant earlier, and getting abortions more conveniently. Just look at mail order chemical abortion and over the counter pills coming to convenience stores and pharmacies. Women in crisis are more desperate and misinformed than ever before.
The time we get to spend with the women in the pregnancy center is often the only time during their entire pregnancy where someone has told them they have the strength to choose life for their babies. We are the only voice who hasn’t told them to abort. They go back to a world where their boyfriend, parents, friends, work, school, and society tell them the easy choice is to abort and that an abortion will bring “everything back to normal.”
As Pro-Life Feminists, Whole-Life Advocates, Consistent life Promoters we have our work cut out for us.
But outlawing a federal right to abortion did not outlaw the fear, the devastation, the guilt, the shame, the brokenness, the tornado of grief that swirls around many women when they find out they're pregnant, unexpectedly.
Overturning Roe did nothing to change the fact that I’ve never had to convince a woman it’s a baby inside her. I have had to encourage, empower, and love each one of them into understanding their capacity to be good mothers, including loving birth mothers. That’s all they want.
She says, “I want to keep the baby, but I just can’t right now.” She knows how much sacrifice has to be made, how many sleepless nights, how many days taken off of work, or semesters taken off of school. A child is supposed to cost $200,000 before they hit college. And that was before inflation.
Even those who choose abortion seem to feel like that’s a lesser of two evils. “My baby will suffer so I’ll prevent it from suffering,” like a mercy killing. She doesn’t want to cause the baby pain. She wants to give her baby the best life possible, but she feels ill equipped to do that. While every voice around her joins that chorus she’s not strong, equipped enough, loved enough to be a mom
Friends, what’s the future? How are we, a group of political misfits and activists who care for mom AS MUCH AS baby ….going to move froward? Roe is gone. That doesn’t mean a thing for me in New York.
I’ll tell you how we move forward. We change tactics. We rethink our strategy.
We must work together more than ever before to help remove the crisis from the pregnancy, not the pregnancy from the crisis.
As long as pregnancies keep happening, abortions will exist. Half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and half of those end up in abortion.
But that means the other half are carried to term. We have to reach women and girls before they get to that decision-making time in their lives.
No pregnant person has abortion on their bucket list.
Abortions are the consequence of years of missteps, lack of sexual education, lack of trust from family and close friends, lack of support, lack of education, and lack of understanding about resources, just to name a few.
We have to combat the abortion industrial complex differently now. We can fight the root causes of abortion, we can educate, we can empower, and provide hope. But most of all we can bring an end to abortion through unity and love.
From my experience the number one reason women choose life for their unborn children is: SUPPORT.
We have to be her support system. One woman said to me “I hear what you’re saying, but at the end of the day, I’m going to be the one up in the middle of the night changing diapers.”
It’s takes a village to raise a child. We can be her village. We have to be her village, on the ground, in the trenches, in the heart break and the tears.
We have to love her so well, she has no reason to abort. Imagine if women started telling their friends, “I have this amazing group of people, a support system and they can help you too.” What if the narrative became “pro-life people babysit for free.”
We can save babies through saving women.
No politics, no laws, no violence. Just love.
So one day we can truly say “Abortions No More!”