CV NEWS FEED // A woman who was a victim of sex trafficking for nearly 30 years said that a New Hampshire pregnancy resource center (PRC) saved her life.
In an op-ed for The Hill, Jean Marie Davis recounted her personal experience as a newly pregnant 29-year-old woman who had been trafficked since the age of two.
I suffered serial abuse, rape and even murder attempts by various pimps. I was heavily addicted to hard drugs such as crystal meth and cocaine. I eventually reached a point where I intentionally sought to end my life by overdosing.
Even though I was losing weight from the drugs, my belly kept growing, and I soon discovered the pregnancy that would ultimately save my life.
For the sake of her unborn child, Davis boldly escaped. “Pregnant, terrified and with nowhere to go, I literally ran away from the only life I had ever known.”
It was then that she came across the PRC which she credits with setting her free.
Fighting despair, and with only $1.38 to my name, I had very few places to turn. After endless phone calls, I finally reached a woman at a domestic violence shelter in New Hampshire who agreed to help. She flew me there and connected me with a local pregnancy center, where a woman named Phyllis changed everything. She calmed me with a single kind touch and the words, “I know a man named Jesus who can help you.” The warmth of her hands filled me with an encouragement and hope that I’d never known before. In that moment, despite my hardened heart, I abandoned my former life forever.
The pregnancy center provided me with free resources and support to take care of my son. I was also able to realize and pursue dreams I had never imagined, such as earning a college degree. I worked with families at the pregnancy center and secured a job at a local hospital.
“If it hadn’t been for Phyllis and the pregnancy center, I would be dead,” Davis wrote. “They saved my life. My son saved my life. Now, it’s my turn to defend the very cause that saved me.”
Davis, who now leads Branches Pregnancy Resource Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, is the first African American woman to serve as a PRC director in the state’s history. She says that her story
proves the beautiful truth of our work — that pregnancy centers love, serve and commit ourselves to the men, women and children of our communities who need our help. We know firsthand how our assistance can transform someone’s life.
Her account comes at a time when the abortion activists have ramped up attacks on PRCs, through both physical violence and the legislative process.
In May, Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed S. 37, which targets PRCs, branding them as “limited-services pregnancy centers” because they do not offer abortion. The new law aims to combat what it alleges to be PRCs’ “false and misleading advertising about services.”
In February, Davis presented her testimony to a State Senate committee in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade them to reject S. 37.
Just over a week ago, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, D-IL, signed a similar bill into law. Dubbed the “Deceptive Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers Act,” it sought to undermine the state’s PRCs and sidewalk counselors.
A lawsuit immediately ensued, and the bill was blocked from going into effect by a federal judge who called it “painfully and blatantly a violation of the First Amendment.”
Vermont’s legislation is facing a similar legal challenge as well. As the Catholic News Agency reported last week:
Two pro-life pregnancy centers and an institution that supports those centers are suing Vermont state officials over a new law that could land them thousands of dollars in fines if the attorney general’s office considers their advertisements to be misleading.
The lawsuit, filed July 25, alleges that the law violates First Amendment free speech protections and the right to due process enshrined in the 14th Amendment.
Alliance Defending Freedom is providing pro-bono legal assistance to the two pregnancy centers, Aspire Now and Branches Pregnancy Resource Center, and the religious nonprofit National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, who are all named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.