Pregnancy Resource Center Wraps Arms of Love Around Women Facing Crisis Pregnancies

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

prc225 Brittany Christopher keeps a number of photos of her daughter, Sola, in her smart phone. Sola is a spunky, wide-eyed, blond-hair cutie who quickly steals the hearts of the people she encounters. It’s understandable why the two-and-a-half year old is the pride and joy of her mother, Brittany Christopher.

“She’s rocking it out,” a beaming Christopher said of her daughter. “She’s so smart.”

Smart and very much alive.

There was a time during Christopher’s pregnancy when she was a hair’s breadth away from having an abortion. All her reasons seemed valid, she told herself. She was only 20 and single, with no clue what the demands of motherhood entailed.

“I barely knew her father,” said Christopher, who today is a sophomore at Calvin College. “I felt alone spiritually and physically. I was frightened of the unknown. I didn’t really have any moral support.”

God made an impression

She arrived at an abortion clinic in Grand Rapids, filled out the paper work, had blood tests done and met with a counselor. That’s when the tussle with her conscience began to unfold.

“God made an impression on my heart right before I was suppose to go have the abortion,” said Christopher. “There was a strange curiosity in my heart: I wondered what they do with what they call the fetus after they extract it. The counselor was quick to cut me off and call them fetuses not babies. It’s hospital waste, she said, trash.”

The blunt reply had a jarring impact on Christopher.

“I went back in the waiting room and wiped my nose with a tissue and threw it away and realized, to them, the tissue was the equivalent of my baby. I felt God tell me, ‘This is mine, not your child.’”

Christopher left the abortion clinic but was still unsettled even though she decided to carry her baby to term. What, she thought, should be her next step?

Then she remembered the Pregnancy Resource Center.

“All the girls typically know about this place,” she said.

Christopher walked into the PRC shaking.

“I was clueless and scared,” she said.

Her apprehension quickly dissolved when the PRC staff literally wrapped their arms of support around her.

Lots of love here

“They were the first source of encouragement, of positivity,” said Christopher. “They gave me all I needed, helped me to go see a doctor and provided all the information I needed. I was prayed over while I was here. That was incredibly big. There is lots of love here. That’s what I needed the whole time.”

prc2252 Brittany Christopher and PRC executive director Jim Sprague stand outside the PRC clinic in Grand Rapids.Founded in 1985, the PRC serves between 5,000 to 5,500 people annually at its two offices. The first office is its pregnancy and medical services office at 415 Cherry St. SE, located intentionally next door to the West and Northern Planned Parenthood. The second office is its family support office at 2438 28th St. SW in Wyoming.

Much of the PRC mission is to help women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies decide to carry their unborn babies to term.

The PRC’s life-giving resources include proactive and preventive abstinence education; pre-natal education; medical services including free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds; sexually transmitted diseases/sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment for men and women; parenting classes; safe sleep training; and essential baby equipment and clothing, all of which is provided regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, faith or sexual orientation. The PRC offers contraceptive information, but does not provide them.

People matter to God

The PRC is openly Christian and pro-life, meaning it works to encourage women to decide in favor of carrying their unborn babies to term if they’re uncertain that’s what they want to do.

“We want to be living the truth: People matter to God,” said Jim Sprague, the PRC’s executive director. “The pro-life message was lived out before Jesus went to the cross. He demonstrated it throughout His entire ministry to people who bear His image.”

The PRC works toward getting the pro-life message to those raised in the church as well as those who are not.

Sprague cites a statistics from the Guttmacher Institute that says nationally, 65 percent of women with unplanned pregnancies have a Catholic or Protestant background.

“That is a staggering to me,” said Sprague. “That’s why we have developed a program to teach abstinence to parents and kids in the church.”

 “We partner with young women and let them know God can take care of their babies. Get somebody to hold their hand and emotionally hold their heart so they know it’s going to be OK.”

One of the most vital aspects of the PRC is the pregnancy and abstinence information it provides is biblically based and all-inclusive.

“They’re often lacking information to make an informed choice,” said Sprague. “It’s not just saving a baby, it’s raising a child. We’re walking with them. That is what being pro-life is all about.”

It’s a lesson Christopher is grateful she learned in time.

“I took responsibility for my irresponsibility,” she said.

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Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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