When the nation was waiting to hear if Roe was going to be overturned, Care Net’s President & CEO, Roland Warren, advised affiliate pregnancy centers to consider a “Watch and Pray” initiative that would allow men to come to the pregnancy center throughout the night and watch for any attempts of vandalism and pray over the center. One center’s Watch and Pray night on the eve that Roe was overturned led to the start of what is now their volunteer safety team. 

Divine Timing 

On Friday, June 22, 2022, Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. That same night, Richland Pregnancy Services (RPS) went into action immediately by reaching out to all of their local churches to put together a team for their Watch and Pray night. Clergymen across the community gathered as “watchmen” throughout the entire night. 

We know what the enemy tries to use to harm us, God can use it for our good, and that’s exactly what happened. It just so happened that one of the local pastors the Executive Director reached out to for the Watch & Pray night was hosting a de-escalation training at his church the very next day for his church safety team. In addition, the man overseeing the de-escalation training, Bob Ball, had served in law enforcement for 32 years, was a retired Chief of Police, previously ran a security company, and is the current chief investigator for the county coroner’s office. He had previously trained 38 local church security teams.

Most of the staff at RPS attended this training the next day with some volunteers, and afterward, Bob agreed to voluntarily help RPS form a team to help protect the ministry during their hours of operation. That is how their volunteer safety team was launched – the very day following the overturning of Roe.

God’s Conviction Produces Action

When Bob was approached by the Executive Director to train a safety team at the pregnancy center, he was a little skeptical at first. He had trained police officers and church safety teams, but a pregnancy center was completely different. Then, God convicted his heart, and he thought to himself,

“What would I do if it were my daughter going there for help? I would want her safe. I am going to open up my heart to help.”

He not only decided to help, but he now had a conviction to help and stay involved as much as he was needed. He said, “We have an obligation to make employees and clients in these facilities (pregnancy centers) safe.” He continued with, “Law enforcement doesn’t have time to do this, so it makes sense to have a private, volunteer group work closely with the leadership of the pregnancy center to put policy and procedures in place. Those procedures then govern the safety team so everyone knows what their requirements are.”

A Blessing to the Ministry

One of these new safety volunteers had a heart for the ministry for years, but he never knew where he could fit in. A couple of years ago, he considered helping with the furniture donations that came into the center, but that wasn’t necessarily where he felt called. It was simply the only thing he thought he could do if he didn’t feel comfortable serving within the fatherhood ministry. Now, he is excited to have a place where he can use his background skills in security and play an important role within the center.

The Executive Director of Richland Pregnancy Services, Amy Kahl, states,

“If you were a man and you cared about our ministry, you can donate or pray. If you wanted to be involved hands on, the only way you really could before was as a mentor dad unless you wanted to help someway with boutique donations. Men were very limited in the ways they could get involved, so this opened up the door as a way to say, ‘Here’s a place for you in this ministry. It really calls on men and how the Lord created them to be protectors.‘”

Bob shared similar sentiments. When asked about the importance of the safety team being there on-site, he stated, “A male’s presence is very important to protect the people inside the pregnancy center, and it can help diffuse situations — especially if it was all women working a shift (or the only male was in a peer-counseling session).”

Advice for Pregnancy Centers 

As a former officer, Bob is very concerned with what is happening in our nation — especially for pregnancy centers post-Roe. He shared,

“If you are in a community with more resistance, this would be advantageous for your center to get this started as the culture continues to change. It is very important to protect the clients and the staff within pregnancy centers.”

Through teaching safety training in churches, Bob learned that the term “security” gets resistance, so that is why he advised the pregnancy center to call the volunteer team a safety team instead. If a pregnancy center is still on the fence about upgrading its security system to include cameras, he strongly recommends they move forward to protect everyone within the center. It is important to have security cameras inside the building and in the parking lot.

In addition to being a protective presence within the pregnancy center, having the ability to lock down the center in case of an emergency, and keeping an eye on the security camera footage, this team also helps bring material donations into the building and examines them to ensure there is nothing harmful inside the box or bag. The picture to your right shows a committed safety team member as he monitors the 7 security cameras’ footage.

With special events, this team is set up throughout the area to keep their eyes on everything going on and within the parking lot to ensure attendees are in a safe environment.  

The team at the pregnancy center enjoys that they can focus on the ministry they are called to do knowing there is a trained man there looking out for everyone’s safety.

If you are a man who feels led to join your local pregnancy center’s safety team or speak to your local pregnancy center about starting a safety team, you can find your local center here

Richland Pregnancy Services is a Care Net-affiliated pregnancy center located in Mansfield, Ohio.