Arkansas Pregnancy Resource Center, a Heartbeat International affiliate, has been working for the past 25 years to make a difference in the lives of women in crisis.
The agency offers free donor-based services ranging from crisis counseling to parenting services to post-abortion recovery courses.
The work is paying off in the lives of women all over the South.
Traveling over from Memphis, “Cara” and her boyfriend had decided to seek an abortion. Due to Tennessee’s more stringent laws, the couple took the two-hour drive down Interstate 40 to neighboring Arkansas.
When they arrived in Little Rock, Cara and her boyfriend chose to head into APRC, instead of Planned Parenthood, which sat just across the street.
Tweet This: The decision to walk into the @heartbeatintl affiliate made an immediate impact on Cara's life.
The decision to walk into the Heartbeat affiliate made an immediate impact on Cara’s life.
Already having had one abortion in her past, Cara was encountering pressure from her boyfriend, family and friends to terminate for the second time. She believed she was out of options, and was one decision away from joining the 46 percent of aborting women with multiple abortions.
Inside APRC, Cara was greeted with kindness, understanding and empowerment. She received a free ultrasound and wise advice from the nurses on staff, who counseled her to be aware of the range of choices that truly lay before her.
According to APRC’s Executive Director Nicole Lashbrook, Cara’s story is not uncommon. Women with unplanned pregnancies frequently express their feeling of being trapped and pressured into undergoing the trauma of an abortion.
“Friends and family on the outside think, ‘(abortion) is legal … it’s fine for me, it’s fine for you,’” Lashbrook said.
APRC seeks to help women make informed decisions. A new ultrasound machine funded by the local Knights of Columbus chapter gives a woman an opportunity to see and hear her unborn child.
Tweet This: "Friends and family on the outside think, '#abortion is legal, its fine for me, its fine for you.'"
The hope is that this personal encounter will move pregnant women to make their decision based on the whole picture.
The ultrasound moment has proven to be a turning point for many women, with multiple pro-life groups estimating that up to 90 percent of women who see their baby on ultrasound make a life-affirming choice.
“Women will say that they can’t believe what they were about to do,” commented Lashbrook.
Cara is one example of a woman who was strongly impacted by the ultrasound experience.
Even after leaving APRC, however, Cara’s boyfriend convinced her to walk across the street to Planned Parenthood and go through with the abortion, again putting her into familiar territory to the majority of women (64 percent) whose abortion decision is not truly theirs.
Armed with her new information and having just experienced seeing her baby and hearing the heartbeat, Cara found herself empowered to change her mind.