Our mission is to provide for moms, dads, and families in need. It is this work, not our pro-life stance, which attracts our clients to us.

HandsHeartFB.pngI truly feel like I am living in an alternate universe.

This month, the largest abortion provider in the country was celebrated for reaching the 100 year milestone while pro-life clinics in California were demonized and forced by the government to hold hands with organizations that stand in direct opposition to a pro-life ethic and a religious belief that life is sacred.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on October 14th that pro-life clinics have to refer patients to publicly funded abortion providers in their communities. This ruling, although not final, could be very damaging to the work of pregnancy centers in California and possibly around the country.

This is government intrusion at its worst. The California Law is a misuse of legislative power. This bill was crafted with the assistance of the abortion lobby and with the goal of closing down pregnancy centers in and around California.

I understand political posturing and putting forward legislation that may harm your opposition. My issue is not with the passing of this legislation. I must be clear here; I disagree absolutely with this law and the desire to force pro-life clinics to somehow point or refer patients to abortion clinics. However, I am not surprised that this law would be passed in the very progressive state of California. I am surprised, however, in the Court ruling this legislation acceptable in the eyes of the Constitution.

The abortion lobby will take this time to point at the many abortion restriction laws being passed across the country as a similar stunt. I would fully disagree with this. We are not seeing legislation around this country forcing abortion providers to hold hands with and refer patients to pro-life clinics. I would love to see abortion clinics do that, but I would disagree with the use of the law or the courts to mandate that type of statute.

The restrictions that have been passed here in my state of Tennessee and other states in the union are designed to assist the patient with the options in front of them. I am not naïve, though I realize that some of the origins of these legislative actions are to hinder or cripple the abortion provider. That may not be a healthy spirit, but it certainly plays a role in the legislative agenda.

We are all adults here and should recognize that both sides wish to see the other side close their doors. Anyone denying that would be lying. I, however, am strongly opposed to using the courts and the law to silence those that you may disagree with. We do, after all, have a 1st Amendment. I can disagree with what others may say, but that doesn’t change their right to say it.

This newly passed law in California is a stunt to silence those of us on the side of life. The abortion lobby continues to make profits off the backs of the most vulnerable while pregnancy centers seek to love, care, and serve the most vulnerable without charging a dime.

People on the side of life will fight this ruling to the Supreme Court if that is the route that has to be taken. I have complete confidence in that. However, I have little confidence in the system ruling in our favor. I pray that I am wrong, but history and the current makeup of our presidential election do not offer much hope.

This is why I am grateful I do not have to place my hope in man, systems, or courts. This ruling is certainly a step in the wrong direction, but it doesn’t change the work we are called to do. This ruling doesn’t change the love, service, or care that we have to offer. Instead, it presents us with an opportunity to go against the grain and offer support the abortion lobby is incapable of offering.

Many folks working in the pro-life world got into this work to see every life celebrated and valued. We knew that it was time for a voice to be given to those that had none. We understood this work was counter to the culture and society we live in and would surely be a very steep uphill battle – a battle that still rages on today.

There is no denying that this law is damaging and dangerous to the great pro-life work in California and around this country. We must partner with our prayers, our time, and our wallets to see this ruling overturned. We must also recognize that this is an opportunity to serve a greater purpose.

The curtain is being pulled back and more eyes will be on the work we perform and the work being performed at the abortion clinics. This means that our free, but expert care will be placed under a microscope and the world can finally see what is we do and why we do it. This will also clearly show the profit-focused work of the abortion clinic that seeks to pass all of their costs onto the patient, the taxpayer, and/or the government.

Our mission is not to attack the abortion lobby. No, our mission is to provide for moms, dads, and families in need. It is this work, not our pro-life stance, which attracts our clients to us. They are in crisis and in desperate need of assistance – assistance that we are able to provide.

Please don’t take my thoughts today as someone in retreat. That could not be further from the truth. HOPE opened in 1997 across from an abortion clinic. We did this with purpose and intent. We did not protest, accost, or intervene with that clinic’s work. We simply showed up, opened our doors, and served those in need with love and care.

We trusted that our work would speak for itself and that the abortion clinic’s work would do the same. This is why we were not surprised in 2012 to see that clinic close its doors. Our mentality is not one of retreat and we will not disengage. It is just the opposite. We charge ahead, seeking to engage our culture and society at a very deep level as we provide the care that is needed to those that need it the most.

We must pray that laws would go in our favor and vote for those that stand for life, but let us be careful not to shift our hope to laws and elections. Join me in praying for the clinics in California that are fighting in the trenches and the legal organizations that are standing with them. I pray the courts would make this right, but if they don’t, we still have much work to do and we must never allow what some would call a defeat to distract us from that very needed and desperately desired life work we are blessed to do every single day.

About the guest blogger: Andrew Wood serves as the Executive Director of Hope Resource Center, a pro-life reproductive health clinic in Knoxville, TN. HOPE opened its doors in 1997 seeking to stand for life as they served the most vulnerable in the Knoxville area. HOPE has been blessed to serve over 20,000 patients during that time