In perhaps, one of the nation’s most politically divisive issues, one important element is often left ignored: how to help.
On Wednesday, April 5, Regent University College of Arts & Sciences College Student Leadership Board (CSLB) hosted a pro-life panel aimed to focus on assisting women with their “practical needs” in the midst of “crisis pregnancy” situations.
“Oftentimes when we have these discussions, it’s very much an apologetics-oriented conversation,” said CSLB president Jessica Wollum ’19 (CAS). “What we often forget is the important culture piece of practically coming along women and helping through their challenge [of an unplanned pregnancy].”
The panel featured Care Net executive director Kimberly Logsdon; Family Foundation legislative council, Josh Hetzler; Regent School of Law professor Lynne Marie Kohm; Regent College of Arts & Sciences associate professor Dominick Hankel; and a personal testimony from local, Tanya Ewbanks.
Logsdon’s work with Care Net, a “life-affirming network of affiliated pregnancy centers” has opened her eyes to a new world. She explained that when she first began with the organization, she had “no idea” what a pregnancy center was – but now she understands her role in the lives of the women she comes across: bringing hope, and being there to listen.
She understands that her role and the role of her organization’s advocates aren’t to talk women out of abortions. It’s to help women feel validated and heard.
“It sounds so simple, right? But it’s not as easy as it sounds,” said Logsdon. “When we know something about the sanctity of life, we feel the life-and-death stakes and we want to rush right in and think about all the things we can do.”
Logsdon stressed that being a friend to a woman considering abortion doesn’t equal condoning abortion. She suggested that the friends and family members of those wrestling with an unplanned pregnancy can make a difference by helping get the pregnancy confirmed and getting educated on the options available to women.
For Kohm, there are 12 legal options for women in unplanned pregnancy situations – ranging from Plan B pills, legal abortion methods to adoption. In her expertise with Family Law practice, she knows there are many different implications to be considered in the “ball of wax” of unplanned pregnancy.
“There’s no good guidance for this very serious decision because [the law] is designed to reorder brokenness and help repair things, but it can never put the plaintiff back in the position of being whole,” said Kohm.
She believes that access to abortion has led to a “casual” and “hook-up” culture, and that the topic of abortion goes far beyond the legal realm. That’s why when she writes about the topic of abortion, she writes from the relational perspective, and she encouraged students to keep that perspective in mind.
To those who know a woman who is undergoing an unplanned pregnancy, her message is simple:
“Get your research done,” said Kohm. “Know the facts and know how this effects a person afterward.”