Allied Women’s Center (AWC) celebrated its 25 year Jubilee Anniversary in 2019! We were established in 1994 following a May meeting at St. James Church in San Antonio with its pastor, Fr. John Yanta.
“I was working at the parish, doing what the Gabriel Project does,” Teresa (Tere) Haring, founder, recalls. “But during Operation Rescue, we discovered we needed aftercare services. We decided to follow the ‘White Rose’ Center model, which seeks to attract women bent on having an abortion.” From there, “things went fast,” she laughs, as Allied Women’s Center opened three short months later in August 1994.
Initially, cribs and car seats were stored in the Haring family garage, and clothes and baby formula in a closet at St. James Parish. Tere Haring officially became the center’s executive director in March 1995. “We saved an average of about 60 to 80 babies annually in the earlier years. But in recent years, we’ve saved well over 250 babies a year,” says Tere proudly.
Allied Women’s Center operates crisis pregnancy centers that offer free services include pregnancy testing, one-on-one counseling, information on STDs, financial assistance and baby and maternity items (equipment, formula, and clothing for baby and mom).
The philosophy of the Allied Women’s Center is simply: Do whatever needs to be done to save the baby — whether that entails paying rent, obtaining a cell phone, making car payments — whatever. The center typically provides care for a mother and baby for one year, and if the client is a teen mother, they may stay in the program for up to three or four years.
Tere estimates that it works out about $1,000 per baby saved by Allied Women’s Center. However, this is still a small price to pay for a life. “A lot of women have two or three children and say they can’t afford it,” Tere said. “Something as simple as purchasing diapers will make the difference. I am amazed at how many women soften up when diapers are offered for all children.”
Allied Women’s Center is the only crisis pregnancy center
in San Antonio that offers diapers to expectant mothers for
the first year of her child’s life.
“It is expensive, but it saves a lot of babies,” said Tere. “That is why it is so important to have faithful supporters to help meet our financial needs and the needs of the families of saved babies.”
“We typically save over 80 percent of the babies. Other centers don’t have the 'save rates' that we do.” Tere relayed with pride how a speaker for Priests for Life had said that Allied Women’s Center is one of the best crisis pregnancy centers in the country, if not the best.
For many years, Tere also provided housing for many women in her home before the establishment of Guadalupe Home. One case she remembers in particular was that of a woman whose husband had just died, and whose employer offered to pay for her abortion. “I told her, ‘I will support you and your children,’ and I remember picking her up and her three children in my car and driving them to my house,” she explains. “Allied Women’s Center was already seven years old by then, but that was the first time it really hit me that abortion was not a choice, but a lack of a choice.”
Tere says most women see their crisis pregnancy as a tunnel with no end, but she tells them to look at her baby as the light at the end of that tunnel. “People will come back and say how much their lives have changed for the better, After six months, many women are back on their feet and wean themselves off the diaper program. They will say that other women need the diapers more than they do.” Tere emphasizes that a lot of clients just need someone to listen to them. “I tell the girls that their parents will be upset, but that they’ll come around. I’ve never seen grandparents stay away from their grandchild.”
Allied purchased a property at 102 Marshall Street near downtown San Antonio that contains two separate buildings. Today, one building is used for crisis pregnancy counseling and the other for family and support services (diapers, baby clothes, formula, cribs, financial support, etc.). This two-pronged approach has enabled Allied to be even more effective in serving its clients.