by Marc and Julie Anderson
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Helping Kansas Women. That’s the name of a new campaign aimed at helping Kansas women facing challenging pregnancy circumstances to “discover real resources that are helping Kansas women.”
According to Deb Niesen, who serves as consultant to the archdiocesan pro-life office, the campaign consists of two parts, the first of which is the launch of a new website (helpingkansaswomen.org) to “raise awareness of all of the amazing pregnancy resource centers and life-affirming organizations located in Kansas, including maternity homes and adoption agencies.”
Currently, the website features more than 40 pregnancy resource centers across Kansas. Its search capability allows users to type in a location or ZIP code to find resources. If none are listed for a location, the website allows users to drag a map to find resources in other towns and cities.
“We have all of these amazing pregnancy resource centers that are individually doing amazing work,” Niesen said, adding she was unaware of any other website or resource which lists all of the pregnancy resources available throughout the entire state.
In addition to the website, Niesen said the campaign also features 30-second TV and digital media ads, most of which are running right now to ensure women know that help and support are available to them. The videos can also be found on the website.
That’s where Leah Conner, executive director of the Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic, and Ruth Tisdale, executive director of Advice and Aid, helped — by matching film crews with clients served by the centers.
“We really wanted to show the real deal and be authentic in what we presented,” said Tisdale. “We could have gone out and hired professional actors to share these stories, but there’s nothing like the real woman who’s really going through an experience.”
Most pregnancy resource centers, she explained, provide support not only during pregnancy but beyond, sometimes up to three years after the birth of a child.
“I always say we all have the same mission,” Tisdale said. Pregnancy centers offer everything from medical services to parenting classes to mentorship programs. It just depends on the center’s location, budget and focus. What services a client chooses also vary, depending on needs and their own personal support systems.
For example, Tisdale said one of the women who shared her story said she felt alone at first, but from the minute she walked through the doors of Advice and Aid, she “immediately felt loved and accepted.”
After an ultrasound, the staff and volunteers of Advice and Aid walked with her, assisting with her material needs but also providing access to a support group and parenting education classes for two years. The woman’s child is now 7 years old, and Tisdale said she recently received an invitation to the woman’s upcoming wedding.
Like Tisdale, Conner said she is gratified by the campaign.
“In this climate, women need to know that we are here to help. They’re not alone, and I love how [the website] is laid out for people to key in their ZIP code and find out where there is help close to them. If that’s not enough, they can also see other women who have been in difficult situations and were able to get help,” Conner said.
Today, Conner said, the work of pregnancy resource centers is more important than ever.
“It’s time for us to continue to be what we’re called to be — which is available for those women who are still going to be facing crises and going to have a hard time with their circumstances and probably be very, very fearful, not knowing how this is going to turn out for them.”
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is also trying to raise awareness about two other ministries, a relaunch of Walking with Moms in Need at the parish level and a digital ad campaign about Project Rachel. For more on Walking with Moms in Need, a parish-level initiative aimed at supporting women facing challenging pregnancies, visit the website at: archkck.org/prolife/activities/walking-with-moms. For more about Project Rachel, a postabortive healing ministry, go online to: projectrachel.com.