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Beacon of Light Pregnancy Support Center maternity home House Manager Corrie Kelly with house moms Beacon of Light Pregnancy Support Center maternity home House Manager Corrie Kelly with house moms Erin Ortega

"Good things are happening" in New York pregnancy help despite big tech, pro-abortion climate

Reaching clients and meeting their needs in a timely way may be more challenging in a pro-abortion climate such as New York, however, the staff at pregnancy help centers in the state, as well as the nearly 2,700 additional pro-life centers and maternity homes, continue to fight the good fight for life.

One pro-life pregnancy resource center operating in the strong pro-abortion climate of New York is looking at different ways to reach abortion-minded women.

“Since Roe got overturned, we've seen a couple different changes in the patients that are reaching out to us,” said Erin Ortega, advancement director for Beacon of Light Pregnancy Support Center. The two ways that women have found the center in Orange County of New York is by Google searching for abortion in Orange County and by word-of-mouth.

Online suppression affects outreach

Tech companies have faced pressure from pro-abortion politicians to suppress the advertising reach of pregnancy resource centers, which has continued since the Supreme Court Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The response to that endeavor by big tech companies like Google has impacted marketing and advertising strategies to reach today’s woman seeking pregnancy help. Beacon of Light Pregnancy Support Center has experienced a decline in abortion-minded clientele. 

Erin Ortega

“We've seen a change in our statistics,” Ortega said. 

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Prior to Roe getting overturned, 75 percent of women that were reaching out to the center were considering an abortion. Since Dobbs they have seen their numbers change to 50-50, for a decline in 25 percent of the abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable clientele.

“When those shifts changed for Google, that drastically affected the amount or the type of patient that was reaching out to us,” Ortega said.

This amounts to big tech suppression of information resulting in fewer New York women benefitting from life-affirming pregnancy help.

“Censorship is definitely a part of the equation,” said Beth Diemert, Heartbeat International’s director of Affiliate Services. 

In addition to issues with online marketing to women in the state, the state of New York pays for women in states with abortion restrictions to travel there and have an abortion, allocating $25 million to ‘protect’ abortion access and fund abortion providers. 

Using taxpayer dollars for such programs frustrates conservatives in the state, said Amy Mathieu, Beacon of Light’s executive director. Mathieu remains committed though, to serving women in New York with pregnancy help. 

“There are so many people who don't want their money being spent on funding abortion,” she told Pregnancy Help News

“And in New York, of course, we tend to follow in the footsteps of California,” said Mathieu. “I definitely see us escalating in that direction.” 

“So, we just have to be mindful of the fact that we don't want everybody to leave [New York],” she said, “because we want to make sure there’s a base here that's fighting the good fight and seeking to protect women and their babies and do everything to continue to reach women and serve them with that information that will help them make a decision that they can live with.”

Despite the pro-abortion climate in the state, Diemert said positive things are happening in New York. 

She presented training recently in the central part of the state where eight pregnancy resource centers are located. In addition, a “brand new life center opened very recently,” in the state with the help of a Heartbeat International Life Launch grant, she said.

“So, good things are happening, and it's not slowing down what centers are doing,” Diemert said.

That includes finding new ways to reach the abortion-minded woman.

Other avenues for marketing

Mathieu, Ortega and their team are considering new ways to market their services that sidesteps big tech suppression.

“We are working on a new marketing plan,” Mathieu said. “We're updating our website, you know how quickly things change, so, we’re making it really attractive to these younger women who are now in the 18-to-25 age range.”

“We hope once that is in place, within the next three to four months to increase our marketing efforts online and to maybe use some new platforms to reach more women,” she said.

Beacon of Life founder Teri Daino, Executive Director Amy Mathieu, former
 Executive Director Leslie Toback with a Beacon of Light mom and babies at the center's gala


The pregnancy help organization also hopes to implement tools that online companies cannot control, such as billboards.

“Something big tech can't silence that lets people know about us,” said Mathieu. “I think that might make a big difference, that it really would be a great choice. We just have to get that website finished and then that's our plan moving forward.”

Applying such strategies is something Diemert recommends all pregnancy help organizations consider in order to continue reaching prospective clients.

“We're finding ways to continue to do what we do well,” she said. “My biggest encouragement to centers right now is to be who they are, to continue to do the good work they do, and find a way to message that into their community, to be proactive and not reactive, and to say this concisely.”

Tweet This: Pregnancy help centers should just be who they are, continue to do the good work they do, and find a proactive way to message that

Abortion tactics play on emotions

Since COVID, women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy seem to also be experiencing more anxiety, and the availability of the abortion pill through the mail, plus telehealth by abortion clinics, preys on those emotions, keeping women at home and away from pregnancy centers or pro-life doctors’ offices, Ortega said.

Prior to stepping into the role of advancement director she had seen patients for four years. 

“When COVID first started, there were several months when I saw patients every day of the week,” said Ortega. 

The pandemic itself created a certain level of desperation in them, she said, but there's another level of desperation that has happened since. And with things like pregnancy apps, women are finding out they're pregnant sooner than they ever have before are more difficult to reach before an abortion decision because they're so desperate.

Diemert advises pregnancy centers to not react to or feel defeated by pro-abortion tactics.

“I think the crux of the issue is to not get caught up in this big angry voice out there that's making demands and really forcing us to be reactive to what they're doing,” Diemert said. “Focus on client-centric marketing. It's not new services, it's good messaging that helps a woman see that those services are in place.”

Surveys show women appreciate the services provided by pregnancy resource centers. 

According to a report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) released a few years ago, “Consistently high client satisfaction rates reported to pregnancy centers reflect that women, men, and youth who visit centers feel respected, valued, and well cared for.”

A beacon for life along the bay

Beacon of Light has provided quality services to the Hudson River Valley for 20 years. The organization became a medical resource center in 2007 and has offices in Middletown and New Windsor. In 2020, Beacon of Light opened a maternity home. New Windsor is located about 65 miles, or about an hour, north of New York City. 

  
  Amy Mathieu

“We've had some really great success stories already of women who got their degrees while they were living with us and to be able to move out and be successful with others, relationships restored,” Mathieu said, “and so it's been such a blessing.” 

Pregnancy help centers in New York and elsewhere will continue to adapt to the needs of their clients to be able to offer them life-affirming help. 

 “I think the landscape is changing a little bit because of things like apps and the abortion pill,” Ortega said. “The mindset has changed in the younger generation – they don't have to wait for anything. That's kind of that next level of desperation that I think pregnancy centers across the country are going to have to start dealing with because, you know, everything happens in a New York minute here – it’s just the nature of the younger generation.”

Diemert offered another piece of advice for pregnancy centers as they face adversity and challenges.

“No matter what state you're in, no matter what the rights are, no matter what the censorship is, we serve a God who is good and true to His word,” she said. 

“Pregnancy centers are built on the two-part equation of us doing our part and God doing the parts He can do,” said Diemert. “So, reinforcing our prayer efforts and connection to prayer warriors and becoming very intentional again to put that participation into effect is my best advice of this point.” 

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.

Gayle Irwin

Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer living in Wyoming. She’s been recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc. and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She’s contributed short stories to eight Chicken Soup for the Soul books and crafts dog books with inspiring messages for children. For nearly 13 years, Gayle worked as Patient Resources Director at True Care Women’s Resource Center, a pro-life pregnancy medical resource center in Casper, Wyoming. In addition to her children’s stories, she authors devotions and a series of sweet, inspirational romance books that weave pet rescue and adoption into the story. She considers herself a human and pet life advocate and finds creativity and connection in God’s creation. Learn more about Gayle on her website: gaylemirwin.com.

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