COVID-19, unplanned pregnancies, and how the Church can respond

By June 2, 2020
pregnancy, pregnant, woman

USA (MNN) — With everybody at home during COVID-19 lockdowns, you may have heard jokes about an upcoming baby boom in eight to ten months. But don’t count on it.

New studies show over one-third of couples who were planning on conceiving have now paused their plans. Their concerns are mostly related to economic stability and the effect COVID-19 could have on a pregnancy.

If pregnancies do happen during this time, a greater number of them may be unplanned.

pregnancy, pregnant, baby, ultrasound, heart

(Photo courtesy of Viviana Rishe via Unsplash)

Life Matters Worldwide’s president Eric Verstraete says, “An unplanned pregnancy is already something that brings a lot of stress along with it for someone who wasn’t planning on that circumstance…. So to compound that stress with being within a pandemic, I think fear is going to be something that, as we’ve seen across the country, is already gripping people.”

These women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies may have limited resources, less support from family and friends who are also shut-in, and even feel greater pressure to abort.

Thankfully, pro-life advocates are stepping up in the name of Jesus.

“My colleagues in the pregnancy care center world, they’ve been doing an amazing job. In fact, a lot of them have found really unique and creative ways to continue to work with the clients that are coming to them. Some of them who are families who need diapers, they’ve set up emergency diaper drives at their centers and they do it by appointment. Obviously, some of them are still able to do ultrasounds and things of that nature.”

A pandemic is scary. A pandemic when you’re pregnant is frightening. A pandemic when you’re pregnant, it was a surprise, and you have less support or ability to care for another child? Terrifying.

As believers passionate about life, we are uniquely positioned to minister Christ’s love to women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies at this time.

pregnancy, pregnant, woman

(Photo courtesy of Camylla Battani via Unsplash)

Verstraete says before we do that, the Church needs to change its approach. “Unfortunately, right now within the Church at-large, there’s a lot of shame that comes along with an unplanned pregnancy. I think because it’s such a visual reminder of the act that happened, that’s where the shame comes because people can see it.”

“We believe at Life Matters [that] life starts at conception, but that God is the opener and closer of wombs…. When we don’t celebrate life within the Church, even though it comes out of a difficult situation, it’s tragic because that life has value. I think the Church needs to shift its focus from focusing on, ‘Well, it was the act that caused it.’ Okay, well, there was a consequence from an act, but God is the opener and closer of the womb and we need to celebrate the life.”

If you are wondering how to support those facing unplanned pregnancies right now, Life Matters just launched a new church engagement model to help connect believers and churches with life-honoring ministries. These include pregnancy care centers, maternity homes, and sidewalk counseling ministries.

These life-honoring ministries need the Church to link arms with them in tangible ways so they can continue having a meaningful impact during and long after the pandemic.

pregnancy, pregnant, baby, infant

(Photo courtesy of Carlo Navarro via Unsplash)

Of the church engagement model, Verstraete says, “There are five aspects. How are you praying for that ministry? How are you telling others about the ministry? How are you learning about that ministry? How are you serving alongside? And how are you giving financially?

“Right now, it’s difficult maybe to serve alongside because of stay-at-home orders or whatever state you happen to live in. But every single believer can pray and that’s the first place that we’re starting with.”

Click here to learn more about Life Matters’ church engagement model!

Then, here are a few prayer points:

  • Pray for women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies to feel loved and supported by the Body of Christ.
  • Pray for pro-life advocates on the frontlines to be encouraged as they connect clients with resources.
  • Pray for these couples to choose life for their babies.
  • Pray for the Gospel to spread through life-honoring conversations.

Verstraete encourages, “Let’s recognize that we are put in a place for such a time as this. We have the ability within the Church to be an amazing asset to folks who are going through some really hard times — specifically talking about unplanned pregnancy. Let’s live within that power so that we can be a powerful example to folks who are going through these really hard times.”



Header photo courtesy of Josh Bean via Unsplash.

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