WASHINGTON -- Pregnancy help centers have often been pitted against abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood. Every year the pregnancy centers bring moms they've helped to Capitol Hill to plead for support, and this year was no exception.
The young moms descended on the halls of Congress Thursday with a message: without pregnancy help centers, they would have likely aborted the babies that are now such a precious part of their lives.
Jessica Gore of Burleson, Texas, said she was on the cusp of having an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic when she visited her local pregnancy help center.
"And they offered me a free sonogram," she recalled. "And Planned Parenthood had previously told me, 'Well, it's just a piece of tissue. This isn't really even a baby at this point.'"
Gore said what she saw and heard during that sonogram changed everything.
"The nurse told me, 'That is your child's heartbeat,' Gore said. "That to me proved that this wasn't a piece of tissue, that this was a living thing."
Heartbeat International President Peggy Hartshorn brings moms like Gore to Capitol Hill every year to meet with their lawmakers. Hartshorn said they are often surprised by how much pregnancy help centers do.
"You're helping so many women and at no cost to the taxpayers," she told CBN News. "This is the church in action."
Shadow of Obamacare
One advantage for pregnancy centers in the war for life has been that they could offer their services for free to pregnant women while abortions were expensive.
But with Obamacare bringing the shadow of taxpayer-subsidized abortion closer and closer to reality, that advantage is quickly disappearing.
"We've had a country, at least to this point, where in most states federal funds and state funds have not paid for abortion. We are going exactly in the opposite direction, and particularly with requiring health insurance policies to be covering abortifacient and sterilization," Hartshorn said.
"The next step is for all health insurance policies to cover abortion," she warned. "We know that that's the next step."
Should that happen, there'll be even more pressure on cash-strapped women to have abortions. A lack of finances almost led Shelly Louis, from Duran, Okla., to that decision.
"I was about two days away from my visit to the abortion clinic," Louis said.
It was only a talk with a woman at a pregnancy help center that saved Louis baby daughter, Kiree, from abortion.
"The godly counseling that she gave me helped me realize that I was about to make a mistake," Louis said.
Gore pleaded with lawmakers to back pro-life measures like ultrasound bills, which would require pregnant women to get an ultrasound before they abort.
"If women would just take a moment, just take a step back and look at that ultrasound screen, that they would really change their mind and know that this is a miracle of God that's happening in their bodies," Gore said. "I mean, from a single-cell organism to a full human being in a matter of weeks."
They're tiny human beings that often become the greatest joy of their mother's heart.
"She makes me happy every day because she's such a happy baby," Louis said of her daughter.
"I could not have asked for anything better," Gore said. "I'm so happy I didn't abort. I'm happy that I didn't listen to Planned Parenthood."
One of the main messages from these moms is that this isn't just a question of philosophy about choice. It's about these babies.
They want their congressmen to look into the faces of these children and realize that this is what the abortion debate is really all about.