KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Groups that have pitched their services as alternatives to abortion are in the spotlight now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, which means most abortions are expected to be banned in Tennessee.
The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision released Friday sends abortion issues back to the states. In Tennessee’s case, lawmakers have put in place several measures — including one which makes providing an abortion a crime unless a doctor thinks it is needed to save the mother.
Pregnancy centers are not new. In fact, they have been operating for decades with the aim of turning women away from abortion while offering other services like pregnancy testing and counseling. With that in mind, WATE wanted to know how they plan to adjust to a post-Roe world.
“Did we take a moment to pause and reflect on what happened? Certainly, but it’s hard to take much time on that when you’ve got a patient in the building needing to be served,” said Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center.
Hope Resource Center is a faith-based pregnancy medical center that has been in operation since 1997. It doesn’t support nor provide abortion services. Instead, it provides access to pregnancy tests, parenting education, mentoring, and material assistance.
“These are all ways for us to say we’re going to rally around you, we’re going to bring the community to you, we’re going to be there for you during this difficult, and maybe unnerving or unsure time.”Andrew Wood, Hope Resource Center
Just minutes away is Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. Through its locations across the state, the organization offers a pregnancy center, adoption services, and educational programs. Although it doesn’t offer abortion, Catholic Charities does offer information about the service.
“If they choose abortion, they need to know, they need to know the facts,” said Sandi Davidson, Catholic Charities of East Tennessee’s Pregnancy Help Center Program Leader. “They need to know what it will be like because the worst thing they could ever say to me is ‘I wish I would have known'”.
Although the decision was announced just days ago, both organizations say they expect to see a rise in women looking for information and options.
“We’ve been preparing by re-instating our adoption program, we are developing a new program for ultrasound, we’ve recruited more volunteers,.”Sandi Davidson, Catholic Charities of East Tennessee
“Our first concern is the health and safety of that patient, health and safety of the baby, health and safety of the family,” Wood said. “We’re going to start there, we’re going to walk you through that process. It’s a great opportunity to get the medical care that these women need in our community
Friday, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson also spoke out about the Supreme Court’s decision.
Planned Parenthood said it expects that with this ruling a federal court will lift its block on another Tennessee law, banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat beginning at six weeks.