Life conference shows the vital role of pregnancy centers

The South Carolina Life Conference held at the Pastoral Center in Charleston covered a wide range of life issues. (Image by Michal Jarmoluk/Pixabay)

CHARLESTON—Despite the pandemic, life goes on, and at the South Carolina Life Conference, it was indeed life that was celebrated.

There was an estimated 50 to 60 people in attendance at the diocesan Pastoral Center on Sept. 12 plus an option to join online. With masks required and CDC precautions in place, the conference emphasized the value of life, respect for it, and how churches and communities alike can come together to save it. 

There were sessions on human trafficking and Black genocide, as well as pregnancy and abortion. 

Faye Hill, former executive director of the Lowcountry Pregnancy Center, was one of the speakers. 

The Lowcountry Pregnancy Center offers counseling, pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, STD testing, parenting classes, fatherhood classes, and the distribution of free baby items. All of their services are free. 

Within their three offices, they serve about 6,500 clients a year, but due to COVID-19, those numbers have dropped. 

Hill provided some noteworthy stats on pregnancy centers in South Carolina and nationwide. She noted that there are 22 facilities in the state and about 3,000 in the country. They outnumber abortion clinics at a rate of 3:1. 

Statistics from a 2018 Charlotte Lozier Institute report on pregnancy centers note the high number of volunteers — 67,400 — including 7,500 medical professionals who freely give of their time and skill. They also helped almost 300,000 parents through classes, and provided almost 2 million people with free services. 

Hill noted that those statistics paint a picture of the incredible role that pregnancy centers have in society — but what about their cultural impact and benefits that can’t be measured? 

For example, standing up for the rights of unborn babies transcends to valuing the life of others — the sick, elderly and disabled, she said. It offers a life-saving hand to women who feel they have no option other than abortion. 

“We give these women a positive message that they are not alone and we explain all the options to her, including the process of abortion,” Hill said. “We also talk to them about adoption and pregnancy resources with prenatal care and financing. We give them the knowledge they need to make an informed parenting decision.”

She spoke about some of the saddest effects of abortion — the women who experience post-abortion stress, including extreme guilt, panic attacks, depression and substance abuse. 

“Some of the women, and men too, are just ridden with guilt. When they had their abortion, they were looking for that quick fix, but then years down the road, they are so distraught. We offer hope for women and men who are struggling with that pain,” she said. 

Joy Yarborough, the current CEO for the Lowcountry Pregnancy Center, said they have seen a spike in clients’ needs. She also noted that abortion rates have slightly increased because of the economic pressures with job loss and housing concerns. 

There are numerous volunteer opportunities at the Lowcountry Pregnancy Center and the opportunity to participate in various outreach events. Visit www.lowcountrypreg for details.