GRAPEVINE, Texas – The positive pregnancy test sent Brittany’s life into a tailspin. She had plans – college, career and, potentially, the Miss Pennsylvania pageant.
Her boyfriend Andy, a fellow student at California University of Pennsylvania, had pro football aspirations. The couple considered themselves pro-life but when they were confronted with an unplanned, life-altering pregnancy, all options were on the table.
Their Internet queries ranged from searches for free ultrasounds to abortion clinics.
Tech-savvy businesses wrangle their way to the top, or at least the first page, of those searches. With enough money, for-profit abortion providers and Planned Parenthood can do the same, leaving nonprofit crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) at a disadvantage in getting their message before desperate women.
Photo by Rick Linthicum/Southern Baptist TEXAN
Brian Fisher (left), co-founder of Online For Life (OFL), and Tim Gerwing, OFL vice president of technology, pose for a photo in their Frisco, Texas, office. Drawing on business and technology savvy, OFL has developed cutting-edge online marketing techniques to direct abortion-minded women to CPCs and their life-affirming message.
Brittany and Andy’s Web search gave them options not available just a few years ago.
There among the hits and advertisements for abortion services was an ad for a crisis pregnancy center offering free ultrasounds. The cash-strapped couple made an appointment, and their daughter was saved.
Using its marketing and technology expertise, an organization called Online For Life is turning Internet searches for abortion services into encounters with 50 life-affirming pregnancy centers in 23 states. No longer will Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers be the only results at the top of a page when a person types “abortion clinic” in the Google search bar.
Working from a base in Florida in 2007, pro-life entrepreneur Brian Fisher and his cohorts tested the idea of online marketing for pregnancy centers. One of those clinics was Pregnancy Resource Center of South Hills (PRCSH) just outside Pittsburgh. Five years later, because an Internet search for an abortion clinic also produced a hit for PRCSH, Brittany and Andy sought their help in the fall of 2012.
“It’s a good thing we ended up there,” Brittany told the Southern Baptist TEXAN in a phone interview from her home near Pittsburgh. “There is a chance that saved my baby’s life.”
When she and Andy arrived at the clinic for tests and counseling, Brittany had no idea how far along she was in her pregnancy. The ultrasound revealed she was 17 weeks pregnant. She was stunned. And the ultrasound also revealed more than the age of her baby – it gave her and Andy a perspective that righted their upside-down world.
“There was this little baby with arms and legs kicking. I saw her on the ultrasound. I broke down. Andy was speechless,” Brittany recalled.
She said the staff was kind. They shared their own experiences with abortion and their faith in God and the couple decided abortion was out of the question.
After the visit to PRCSH, Brittany told her family she and Andy were expecting. Her parents were supportive. On his way home from work, after being told of his daughter’s pregnancy, Brittany’s dad bought a stuffed lamb for the baby.
Looking into the face of her daughter Kaylen, born last June, Brittany said she gets physically ill thinking she ever considered an abortion.
One click on an Internet search was the first step in changing their family’s history for good.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Bonnie Pritchett is a correspondent for the Southern Baptist TEXAN (www.texanonline.net), newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.)