New abortion ban in Tennessee could mean adoption, pregnancy support agencies assisting more women

Miriam's Promise
Posted at 6:15 PM, Aug 25, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Pregnancy support centers and adoption agencies are preparing to help more people now that the Tennessee abortion ban is in effect.

For someone who's first choice was an abortion, reaching out to one of these agencies may be daunting.

It's also new territory for child-placing agencies like Miriam's Promise. However, the nonprofit in Green Hills is prepared for more women to seek their services.

"Honestly, we won't respond any differently than how we were going to respond before," said Lee-Ann Higgins, director of program services at Miriam's Promise. "It's just the facts will be a little different of the conversation, as far as making sure they have access to prenatal care, helping them make those connections, make sure they know how to get insurance so they can get their prenatal care."

Miriam's Promise offers expectant parent counseling, open adoption services and post-adoption help.

The agency is supported, but not governed by the United Methodist Church. Therefore, pregnant people do not have to be of a certain faith to consult with them.

Counselors know adoption is not for every pregnant person who is unsure about the future of the baby she's carrying. However, for women who feel limited by the abortion ban, they're ready to present it as one option.

"We do decision-based counseling. We work with expectant moms who maybe never were going to consider adoption, but need support to parent the way they envision would be in their child's best interest," Higgins said.

Higgins sympathizes with women who are struggling with being pregnant.

"A lot of these women come from families that are not ideal in the support and coping skills — that they were taught when they were young, and so they are sort of limited, and like 'I don't even know what to do'," she said.

Miriam's Promise does not charge expectant parents or birth parents for counseling services. That is regardless of their parenting plan — parent themselves or choose adoption.

For women who do choose adoption, Miriam's Promise stays in touch long after the baby is born.

"I think we have a beautiful opportunity to carry all those people involved — adoptive parents, expectant moms and fathers and that child — we have an opportunity to set them up for success because it impacts everybody. It changes everybody's family," she said.