Did you know that in 2012 there were 29.4 births for every 1,000 adolescent females ages 15-19. That means there were 305,420 babies born to teenage girls and nearly 89% percent of these births occurred outside of marriage.* While the numbers have been declining over the last twenty years, the fact remains that there is still a large number of teenage girls facing this life changing event. Many of whom are scared and alone.
In my research, I also found that not all teen births are first births. In 2012, almost one in five births to 15 to 19-year-olds were to girls who already had one or more babies.* Wow, that’s a troubling figure.
Texarkana and the surrounding areas aren’t immune to the issue of teen pregnancy. Right now, there are girls at our local junior high and high schools that are pregnant. Maybe even in our middle schools. This past year alone, a local pregnancy center saw 830 girls, of which 502 had positive pregnancy tests. 2014 will likely be no different. According to the Center’s Executive Director, in January alone, they have already seen a significant jump in the number of clients that are abortion minded.
So why am I giving you these statistics? Well, first let me say these aren’t just statistics. These are girls that could be your daughter, your sister, your best friend, or in the past- maybe even you. Seventeen years ago, I was considered a statistic too. In my senior year of high school, I found out I was pregnant. Terrified, I spent many nights in tearful prayer, not knowing what to do. After a few weeks of struggling with my secret, I finally broke the news to my parents. They were upset, as expected, but lovingly accepted the fact that they were becoming grandparents at too early of an age. My mother spent the next nine months in prayer for me, and was by my side when my precious son came into the world. Today, he is a senior in high school. The Lord has blessed him with the ability to kick a football and that ability is helping to send him to college. I can’t imagine my life without him. I am truly blessed to call him my son.
Unfortunately, not all teen pregnancies turn out like mine did. Some girls choose to abort their babies instead. Maybe it’s because they were scared, or maybe they felt they didn’t want to become a mother so soon, but whatever the reason the fact remains, those unborn children will never get to live out the life God had planned for them.
This point brings me back to the why. Why I’m telling you all of this. Here in Texarkana there is a place where pregnant teen girls can go to receive Christian counseling and support. First Choice Pregnancy Center has been offering pregnant teen girls a helping hand and a listening ear since 1974. The girls are never judged for their choices, but are lovingly offered the knowledge that there are other options for their unborn child besides abortion.
The staff and volunteers at First Choice are committed to providing their clients with accurate and complete information about prenatal development, abortion, adoption, sexual health and abstinence. They offer a wide array of services such a parenting classes for both the expectant mother and the father. They have a “Mommy Store” where baby clothes and other essentials can be purchased with points the client earns from attending classes. The Center offers early ultrasounds to expectant mothers so they can see the unborn child that’s being knitted in their womb. First Choice is also in the process of opening a maternity home for pregnant girls who have nowhere else to turn.
But First Choice Pregnancy Center can’t do all of this on their own. They need help. Their ministry is possible only because of the support they receive from dedicated volunteers, local churches, businesses, and individuals. This means you. You can help by volunteering your time or by giving a financial donation to First Choice. If that’s not possible, then you can do something just as important. Pray for them. Prayer is powerful, and God hears our every plea.
I’m doing my part to help too. Beginning February 1st, for every copy of Katie’s Glimpse that’s sold, a portion of the profits will be donated to First Choice Pregnancy Center. God has laid it on my heart that I’m to do this indefinitely, and I’m trusting in Him to make the impossible possible. I know only He can take this simple offering and turn it into something huge.
Today, I pray that if God has laid it on your heart to help this amazing ministry, that you don’t wait or make excuses. Contact First Choice Pregnancy Center at 903-792-5735 or visit their website at firstchoiceprc.com to see how you can be a part of their mission to save lives. I ask that you also pray for the girls that visit this center. Pray that they will open their hearts to God’s truth about the precious life growing inside of them.
I’m going to leave you with Psalms 139, verses 13-16.
For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You
when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.
Many blessings to you,
* 2012 teen birth statistics provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services website.