Royal lost her job amid the COVID-19 pandemic and discovered she was pregnant. High school student Amera believed being pregnant and having a baby would ruin her future plans. Both women saw abortion as their only option. Both visited The Pregnancy Network of North Carolina. Both chose life for their babies.
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Amera came to The Pregnancy Network (TPN) in the fall of 2022 as she started her senior year of high school.
“When she came to The Pregnancy Network, she found it a warm and welcoming environment,” said Kacey Minor, Communications manager of TPN. “She was worried a pregnancy would stop [her] goals from coming to fruition.”
Even after visiting TPN, the young woman believed abortion was her best option.
“She even went so far as to get a judicial by-pass that fully funded the abortion because her mother decided to not sign off on that procedure,” Minor said.
However, Amera couldn’t forget her TPN appointment, including the encouragement she received, including the Scripture verse “I can do all things through Christ” and the center nurse’s words of ‘You can continue on with your goals.’
“What I realized is it was just me being selfish,” Amera said in a video testimony. “The only way for me to not finish college is that I stopped myself.”
“It was so powerful to hear her relay [her] story,” said Minor.
Amera came to TPN during her second trimester, and she signed up for the center’s Pregnancy 101 class, learning more about pregnancy and becoming a parent.
“Watching her talk about her story after she decided to choose life, and she later said she’s going to do everything for that baby; that’s her fuel to accomplish her dreams,” said Hope Earwood, TPN’s director of development and communications.
Amera, whose baby is due soon, will graduate from high school and plans to attend a local college, pursuing a degree in American Sign Language, Earwood added.
Already a mother, Royal attended college, and, upon losing her job in 2020, she could not see how she financially could afford a baby. A friend who had been a TPN client referred her to the center.
And even though she agreed to go, she believed “there’s nothing they can say to me to make me change my mind” about abortion, Minor said.
However, Royal absorbed the encouragement she found at TPN.
“They told me I could do this, they told me it was possible,” she said in her video testimony. “They told me there was hope – and they were right.”
“When she came in, she met with one of our nurses,” Minor said. “They connected right away.”
“That appointment, she said, was a turning point for her,” said Minor. “She felt encouraged, and she felt she had the strength and courage to choose life for her child. She had the support and resources she would need to still accomplish her goals.”
The TPN nurse kept in touch with Royal during the 2020 pandemic, which, for so many people, caused isolation. Phone calls and text messages between the two helped solidify that support, Minor said.
Royal had a baby girl.
“In 2021, we celebrated that she became the first in her family to earn a college degree and had opened a successful business,” Minor said. “We’re just so excited to see that she was able to accomplish those goals she had spoken to. She said she was loving life and motherhood all over again.”
The Pregnancy Network
TPN remained open during 2020 and 2021 for medical appointments, using limited staff, spacing out appointments, and implementing more stringent sanitary procedures, Minor said, along with holding classes virtually. These efforts allowed the organization to continue meeting client needs, helping women like Royal.
TPN has two locations in North Carolina: Winston-Salem and Greensboro. The organization also provides a mobile unit, traveling to various locations in the area. The center started 35 years ago, with a location in Greensboro, Minor said. The Winston-Salem center opened in January 2021.
That year, TPN served more than 1,100 unique clients, according to the organization’s report. The center experienced a slight increase (4.5 percent) in the number of abortion-minded and vulnerable clients, indicating an increase in the number of women seeking abortions in the state.
North Carolina saw a significant rise in the number of abortions last year in the months following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, according to a November 2022 report from Axios, which said there was a 37 percent jump in abortions performed in August of that year compared with April, and that this was the largest increase in abortion numbers of any state in the U.S.
At least one group, the left-leaning think tank NC Policy Watch, attributes the increase largely to out-of-state women coming to North Carolina.
No matter the legislative status of abortion in South Carolina, TPN offers a safe haven for women who see abortion as their only option, as well as for those who are undecided about their pregnancies.
Seeing minds and hearts change and lives saved, as evidenced through Royal and Amera, also positively affects the TPN staff, Minor said.
“It’s so encouraging to see women find that they do have a community of support and they do have resources available to them, and just being that voice of encouragement that you can move forward with your pregnancy and still accomplish your goals,” Minor said.
“Our mission is to empower women to face their unplanned pregnancies without fear,” she added. “It’s just truly a blessing to see that transformation of women coming in, feeling anxious, feeling uncertain about what their future looks like and then becoming excited and confident about their next steps.”
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