Written by: Lindsay Bruggeman and Rosie Prier

If you’ve been to an ENLC banquet, or spent much time around any of our employees, you’ve likely heard that it takes about $500 to save the life of a baby. The first time I heard this, it caught me a little off guard. What an odd metric to track? How could that possibly be calculated? 

I’ve learned it is actually a very simple calculation. It’s the total cost of the services provided by our Women’s Centers (including marketing expenses) divided by the number of pregnant women, who after being assessed as at-risk for abortion, decide to continue their pregnancy/choose not to have an abortion. The exact figure bobs up and down each year as the expenses and the number of babies saved fluctuate, but it has been consistently in the $500 range for years.

So let’s walk through what is needed to serve these vulnerable women.  First of all, we need to get them in our Women’s Center doors.  In an effort to compete with abortion providers, we have a robust marketing budget, focused mainly on internet marketing (Google Ads and Social Media) but also billboard and radio ads from time to time. Once in our doors, I’ve witnessed what truly goes into saving the lives of these precious preborn babies. The first service is a pregnancy test. It’s more than the 99 cent test that you can get at a drugstore. Many times our clients have already taken one of those, if not five. We offer a medical-grade pregnancy test that is required in order to provide “Proof of Pregnancy” documentation. A client may need this paperwork to apply for health insurance, to give to her place of work, or to any other agency that needs it.

After a positive pregnancy test comes the consultation. This, in addition to the paperwork the client filled out upon arrival, helps our staff to evaluate how the client feels about the pregnancy and what the circumstances surrounding it are. Is she happy and excited to become a mother? Or is this overwhelming news that she wishes wasn’t so? Does she have a steady income? What about a support system? Is the father on board with the pregnancy? Do they have a relationship at all? Is there abuse involved? We offer private rooms in our eight Women’s Centers for these confidential meetings. Each Women’s Center has a paid manager who is supervised by the Director or the Assistant Director of Women’s Centers. We have several wonderful volunteer consultants, but many others are paid employees, helping to ensure that the centers always have consultants on duty. 

For every woman who has a positive pregnancy test, we make our best effort to offer her a same-day ultrasound to determine the gestational age of the baby and the viability of her pregnancy. Depending on available staffing, in some cases we must schedule her to come back for an ultrasound.

Receiving an ultrasound scan is an amazing part of the process. Our 3D/4D ultrasound machines are incredibly high-tech and state-of-the-art. They provide the highest quality images, and through the Doppler women can hear their baby’s heartbeat. This is so often where the hearts of our clients are softened and they decide to choose life. Having the ability to offer these scans represents a truly defining point in our success with empowering women to choose life. Our skilled Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Registered Nurses share their advanced training and skills to further our mission. 

Beyond these initial visits, our Women’s Centers offer various other services that are not only factors in empowering our clients to choose life but helping them to find the most success in their lives from that point forward. Whether they need help obtaining medical insurance or other assistance to get them on their feet, our Consultants and Strong Beginnings Advocates are there to help our clients find the support they need. 

Our “Earn While You Learn” classes are another valuable factor in preparing these new mothers (and fathers) for parenthood and all that comes with it. We provide a plethora of classes, including nutrition, infant safety, child development, personal finance, and many more. By completing these classes, our clients are not only gaining invaluable knowledge but they are also earning baby bucks that can be used in one of our six boutiques for material items such as diapers, wipes, clothing, cribs, strollers, high chairs, and other necessities.

In conclusion, once you add up the cost of our facilities and tools, such as the ultrasound machines, the materials, such as pregnancy tests and course materials, our incredible staff and other overhead, it can become quite pricey to offer the services that our women’s centers provide. When you’re dividing these costs out by the number of lives saved, it’s very close to $500 on average. There is really no value that can be placed on a human life, however, and we will continue to humbly labor in the culture of life until every life is seen for having the dignity that has been endowed by our Creator.