TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Located next to Florida State University, "A Women's Pregnancy Center" in Tallahassee addresses the critical needs of unplanned pregnancies in its community.
It opened in 1985 and its main mission is to rescue babies from abortion. The center offers free pregnancy testing, adoption referrals and ultrasounds.
80% Success Rate
"Eighty percent of our clients will carry their babies to term," said Jamie Brown, the center's executive director.
Yet babies aren't the only ones saved at the clinic.
A Women's Pregnancy Center also has a ministry for men, which encourages fathers to stand in the gap and fight for life for their children and their families.
Sherri Daume is director of Client Services at the facility.
'A Women's Pregnancy Center' Is There for Men, Too
"We've had men walk in the door and say, 'I need help with my girlfriend' or 'I've got a situation,'" she explained. "'I've gotten a girl pregnant and I don't know how to help her.' Or, 'my girlfriend just called me. She's driving back from Jacksonville. She tried to have an abortion. She couldn't get it. And I just found out she's pregnant and she wants me to get her an abortion in Tallahassee, and I don't know what to do.'"
In the center's "Just for Men" program, trained male counselors work one on one with men seeking answers about fatherhood and life.
Daume said, "I've counseled them many times with the girl in the room with us, and it's a woman talking to a man. And I know the impact that it has, but then I'll connect them to the man and I'll see his body language change. I'll see his eyes start looking at the male counselor. He's engaged."
"We're just trying to bring to the men an understanding of the value of life and the sanctity of life," said counselor Harold Francis.
Abortion Recovery Program
The center also offers an abortion recovery program.
"If they do choose to terminate their pregnancies we know the devastation that will wreak havoc on them the rest of their lives," said Brown. "And so God wants them whole and healthy. He doesn't want them living in shame and guilt with a secret they often will carry."
Francis often relates his personal story about abortion to help others like him.
"My wife and I – when we first got married – we'd only been married about 10 months, we did have an abortion," he shared.
He said he received much-needed healing after completing the course based on biblical principles.
"I think that I had asked many times for God's forgiveness for what I had done," said Francis. "It opened it up to me that there were issues in my life that I hadn't forgiven myself for which is directly related to the abortion."
Completing the program enables to counsel other men through their pain.
He said, "I've had guys tell me in that room things that they have never shared with anybody in their entire life. I'm 69 and there's a young African-American in there that's 19 years old and at the end of the session we're both crying and hugging each other."
Daume said the healing that happens at the center often extends to other family members.
Healing for Extended Family Members
"We've had fathers, oh my gosh, go from, we're talking 50-year-old men bringing their 16-year-old daughter here thinking that abortion was the best thing. And then meeting with a male counselor and coming out of that room saying to his 16-year-old daughter, 'Baby girl, we've got this. You don't have to do this. I'm here for you,'" she explained.
Practical needs are also addressed for soon-to-be dads.
"A lot of them are in tough situations financially," said counselor Colin Phillips. "They're in between jobs. They're looking for jobs. They haven't been working and they realize I really need to step up my game and actually go out and get a job."
Colin continued, "I give them assistance. I try to help them with their job search, help them with their resumes."
Several men have even come to faith in Christ.
"We've had men not even come into the center, but the woman gives us permission to call her boyfriend and the male counselor calls the boyfriend," said Daume. "And the boyfriend just kind of going, 'really you're interested in me? Really you think my opinion matters? Wow.' And then he'll start a conversation. And we've had counselors actually lead them to Jesus on the phone, not expecting it at all. Not expecting this phone call to be that kind of moment."
Brown said seeing lives transformed at the center is nothing short of miraculous.
"What God does here is just jaw-dropping," she said. "I've been doing this for a long time, and He continues to amaze us. And often what we see in the flesh, there's a whole different story going on when the Holy Spirit is working through issues in their lives and just working on their heart."