The woman at the Crisis Pregnancy Center has nice fingernails. Maybe she spent thirty dollars on a manicure as a treat for herself. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t really lack the approximately 10k it takes to have a baby in a hospital in this country. And how do you know she didn’t spend about ten dollars or less, to give herself a manicure? Or maybe her beautician aunt gave it to her for a gift? Or maybe she herself is a beautician, and has to have nice nails to show customers as part of her job?
She had a smartphone. You can get a smartphone on a payment plan. I don’t have one; I have a tracphone and a computer at home and I pay through the nose for internet every month. But some people don’t have a computer and pay through the nose for a smartphone instead. They use the phone for their only telephone number and also for email, all their internet use, to apply for jobs, to check on their library loans, to apply for jobs and to pay their bills. Should they pay more for some other means of doing all of that, so they look like the right kind of poor person?
If you volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center or any other organization that helps poor people, great. Thank you very much. I know that most people who work in those places are generous folks who genuinely want to help, and we need far more people who genuinely want to help.
But I want to caution everyone: this kind of person also works at crisis pregnancy centers. Racist, judgmental, materially comfortable white women sometimes volunteer at CPCs for a hobby or so that they can feel better about themselves for helping the pro-life movement. And these women mock the plight of the women they claim to be helping, and they do it in public. And, trust me on this, poor women who are or might come to be in crisis pregnancies see them. They hear what’s said. They know what volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers are thinking. They know they’re being judged and mocked for their race or for being the wrong kind of poor.
We see you.
I’ve had to use a crisis pregnancy center before, to get on medicaid and find a doctor who would take it when I was pregnant with Rosie. Abortion wasn’t an option for me; I am pro-life. But the next time I’m blessed with a pregnancy, if I’m still poor enough to need Medicaid, I’ll think twice before going to my local Catholic-run crisis pregnancy center. I think I’d rather go to the secular “women’s center” in town to get a referral to a doctor and anything else I need. Because I’ve seen what CPC volunteers like this one think of me and other poor mothers, and I don’t want to get within ten feet of one.
Women who come to crisis pregnancy centers, or any charity or agency which helps poor people, need compassion. They need kindness and empathy, someone who understands the obstacles poor people face. They do not need comfortable, racist church ladies to publicly mock their hair and nails. If a poor woman in a crisis pregnancy is scared away from any support she might get because the volunteers are bigoted jerks, the Lord sees the suffering of that woman and her unborn child. He knows whose pride caused it.
God sees you.
And so do we– so do poor people.
We see you.
And when people tell us “there’s help available if you choose to keep the baby,” we know what’s actually available a lot better than you do. Out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks. We know how you really feel about us and our precious unborn babies.
All the people who work in places like this and actually want to help ought to be the first to refuse to tolerate that kind of bigotry.
(Image via Pixabay)