Response to LifeChoices Resource Center article

For over 16 years, Sanctity of Life Ministries’ Fairfax Pregnancy and LifeChoices Resource Centers have had a supportive relationship with GMU students, faculty, and various campus organizations.

While we appreciate Ms. Rico’s efforts in researching resources for pregnant students, we are compelled to correct the multiple points of misinformation in her Jan. 31 article, “Pregnancy Scare? Know Your Options.”

Contrary to Ms. Rico’s claim, LifeChoices and Fairfax Pregnancy Help Centers are part of a medical facility (with a licensed physician) that oversees all medical services delivered through medical staff. As a 501c3 Non-Profit medical facility, we comply with HIPPA and OSHA regulations. Our staff includes a registered nurse certified in obstetrical ultrasound sonography. Our RN administers pregnancy testing, ultrasound services and information and resources concerning pregnancy free of charge.

SLM has nothing to hide. As our website and client forms openly inform, we provide alternative options to abortion and many different resources for pregnant women. We make it clear we provide information but not referrals for abortion or contraception. When it comes to making major health decisions, intelligent women want to be well informed. SLM, which has served this community for over 25 years, understands this and stands behind the information we provide about pregnancy options and help. As a matter of fact, many local organizations refer clients to SLM.

Why would other organizations refer clients to us? Because of our reputation as a trusted source of free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, material help, client advocacy and referral services, and after-abortion (nonmedical) care. SLM adheres to industry standards called the “Commitment of Care and Competence” which ensures that every client is treated with honesty, respect and compassion. All of our materials are sourced and regularly reviewed by medical experts and professionals.

In the article, Ms. Rico and Mr. Richards could have provided more comprehensive information when referencing NARAL’s “investigation” into 52 Virginia pregnancy centers. NARAL claimed that its “survey” found Virginia crisis pregnancy centers provide “deceptive and medically inaccurate information” instead of practical help and emotional support to those facing an unplanned pregnancy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Last year, after Virginia legislators heard testimony from NARAL and Planned Parenthood vs. VA Pregnancy Center Directors and Clients, even some of the sponsors of the bill who recommended the regulation of pregnancy centers rebutted NARAL’s subjective “study.” That is, no evidence could be produced regarding deceptive and/or medically inaccurate information. As a result, the bill was not only rejected, but the entire Virginia General Assembly voted to pass a resolution commending the good work Virginia pregnancy centers do for women and families in their local communities.

Annually, our centers work with more than 50 social service organizations and 60 churches to give hope and practical support. In 2010, over 700 SLM clients from 40 countries were helped, representing all walks of life, religions and cultures. Our caring staff speak English, Spanish and Farsi. More than 98 percent of our clients have indicated on exit surveys that they were treated well and would recommend our center to a friend. Case in point, our highest number of referrals for new clients is from former clients. Our goal is always to provide excellent support and care for women.

We have learned that the George Mason Student Health Services recently took us off their website as a referral source, which is a disservice to their students. Considering the number of college-aged women we give help to, we invite you to get to know LifeChoices Resource Center, Fairfax and Alexandria Pregnancy Help Centers and encourage Student Health Services to reinstate us as an important community referral for women.

Kelley Wesley
Chief Executive Officer
Sanctity of Life Ministries

Pro-life student organization’s defense of LifeChoices pregnancy center

Life Choices for Students, a pro-life GMU student organization, would like to respond to the recent Broadside article entitled, “Pregnancy Scare? Know Your Options,” which criticized local pregnancy help center LifeChoices Resource Center.

One of the primary arguments listed in the article discouraging students from visiting LifeChoices is the claim that LifeChoices Resource Center is not a medical facility. However, since Dec. 1, 2010, LifeChoices has in fact been a medical clinic that provides pregnancy testing and ultrasound services as well as information and resources concerning pregnancy. A medical director oversees client assessments and reviews informational material made available to clients to ensure that they are properly sourced. In addition, a registered nurse is on staff to administer pregnancy tests and ultrasounds.

References were also made in the article to a report conducted by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. This report accused crisis pregnancy centers of using medically erroneous materials and false advertising. What the Broadside article did not include about this matter is that the Virginia General Assembly found no grounds to the methodology or claims in the NARAL report. On the contrary, the Virginia General Assembly instead officially commended Virginia Pregnancy Centers for the service they provide to the community.

Indeed, there is much to commend. LifeChoices and its affiliated centers have been a trusted part of the local community safety net for over 25 years. The centers are committed to offering practical help and emotional support to men and women facing an unplanned pregnancy. Programs and services range from peer counseling to providing baby clothing, diapers, and formula to advocating for client needs within the community. These services are provided free of charge.

The motivation for providing these services is tied to religion. LifeChoices Resource Center is a Christian organization as are other well-respected and valuable charities such as The Salvation Army. Religious affiliation does not negate professionalism or ability to provide medical resources. It is rather a reflection of the commitment to care and integrity given to each client.

The Broadside article further implied that LifeChoices advertising and services are misleading. LifeChoices advertises the services it offers: free pregnancy tests, relationship counseling and STI-testing referrals. The website and intake forms explain the limitation of services, including abortion and contraceptive referrals. It should be noted that the primary way new clients come to LifeChoices is through the recommendation of a friend.

Life Choices for Students will continue to maintain our partnership and support of LifeChoices Resource Center. Their services are vital to fulfilling our mission to provide pregnant students with the resources to continue both their education and their pregnancy.

We have developed a brochure called “Resources for Pregnant and Parenting Students” which we can provide to anyone who is interested. Come visit the Life Choices for Students GMU student organization at our monthly kiosks in the JC atrium or contact us at

Hannah Vaseghi