There are increasingly prominent voices in pregnancy center ministry suggesting that pregnancy centers should operate like emergency rooms. They tout this approach as a “new and better” way to serve women and men considering abortion.

But at Care Net we believe pregnancy centers should operate like safe rooms, not emergency rooms. So…why does this matter?

As you know, an emergency room is a place that provides immediate treatment for acute illnesses and trauma. A safe room, on the other hand, is a room that is set up to be safe from intrusion and is equipped with resources needed to direct security operations.

The problem with an emergency room approach is that emergency rooms are hectic places where crises are played out, often in graphic ways. Emergency room doctors and nurses are trained to quickly deal with symptoms, but not to address causes.

The safe room approach, on the other hand, moves us away from the “crisis paradigm.” People generally don’t make good decisions when they feel as though they are in a crisis. Therefore, our job must be to provide a safe place where we can take the time to not just address symptoms, but create long-term solutions.

This is the difference between transactional work and transformational work. Emergency rooms are transactional. Safe rooms are transformational. They are places to talk about things like family, marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, adoption, and, most importantly, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is no time or place to present the gospel in an emergency room setting. That is why proponents of the emergency room philosophy may say that sharing the gospel is optional at best or a distraction at worst.

But in our safe rooms, Care Net pregnancy centers know that the only way to produce true and lasting transformation in our clients is to share with them the Good News and the Abundant Life that Christ promises. We don’t want our clients coming back to be served, but to serve others!