The mission statement of the Atlanta Morning Center says it exists to partner with the local church to provide prenatal through postpartum care to moms in need, in the name of Jesus. The organization currently is partnering with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board through Mission Georgia. ATLMC/Special
In 2010 Amnesty International released the report “Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA.” In this report, data from 2001-06 ranked Georgia last in maternal mortality. “Last” meaning Georgia was the state with the highest rate of maternal mortality in the nation.
Maternal mortality is the death of a woman from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes) during pregnancy and childbirth or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy. At the time, the pregnancy-related maternal mortality rate in Georgia was 20.2 deaths per 100,000 live births. Based upon data I was able to obtain, except for an apparent negligible drop in 2010, we’ve only gotten worse as it has been rising ever since.
In 2009 the rate was 24.8 deaths per 100,000 live births. It dropped to 23.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010, but then began to grow:
- In 2011 the rate increased to 28.7
- In 2014 to 39.3
- In 2015 to 46.2
- In 2017 to 66.3 per 100,000 live births.
January 6-7 marked four years since my exploratory trip to Memphis, Tenn. to visit the Morning Center. They were providing prenatal through postpartum care at both Leawood Baptist Church and Bellvue Baptist-Frayser. At that time, I was the executive director and CEO of metro Atlanta pregnancy resource center and had come to love and appreciate the value of the vision of Samaritan Ministries International, the Morning Center’s founding organization.
Based upon the clients we were serving at Atlanta PRC, I knew just how desperately an Atlanta Morning Center was needed. Some days it seems as if that trip were just yesterday and other days it seems a lifetime ago. In fact, based upon the aforementioned statistical information not only has a lifetime passed, but many lives have passed.
Currently, Georgia ranks 48th in the nation for maternal mortality (Louisiana is last, and Alaska did not report). However, for the better part of nearly two decades, Georgia has been ranked last of all reporting states.
The maternal mortality rate in the U.S., and Georgia in particular, was referred to as a “Human Rights Issue” by Amnesty International, but I submit to you that it is a Sanctity of Human Life Issue – the life of the mother. Is she not also created in the image of God?
There are any number of contributing factors, but here are a few of the top reasons:
- Many women aren’t receiving prenatal care before the third trimester, if at all, which can lead to health issues not being identified and chronic conditions during pregnancy (e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, obesity, and cardiovascular disease) going unmanaged
- A high rate of “low-risk” Caesarean delivery (as high as 30% depending upon race) – 41st in the nation
- Lack of postpartum care (postnatal follow-up)
- A high percentage of uninsured women – 48th in the nation.
Yet, despite the aforementioned risk factors, “lack of transportation” is the primary reason stated by mothers for not seeking early prenatal care, keeping appointments, or maintaining that care throughout their pregnancy.
Atlanta Morning Center (ATLMC) exists to partner with the local church to provide prenatal through postpartum care to moms in need, in the Name of Jesus. Our vision is “That the Church lovingly serves those created in the image of God to ensure that neither pregnancy nor childbirth are a death sentence or detrimental to the health of babies and mothers, so they both may have the opportunity to experience abundant life in Jesus the Christ.” True life and heart change can only come through the power of the Holy Spirit, so we will be sharing the Gospel of Jesus the Christ as led, in addition to providing medical care.
ATLMC is not a pregnancy center, nor in competition with pregnancy clinics. It is the next step in the Pro-Life EcosystemTM and seeks intentional collaborations with like-minded pregnancy centers, other pregnancy help organizations, and churches.
This will be done through utilizing licensed medical professionals as medical missionaries and providing prenatal through postpartum care at no charge to uninsured, under-insured, and otherwise health care indigent or compromised pregnant women. We will also serve pregnant women at risk of adverse issues and negative birth outcomes, including those at risk for abortion. Lastly, our medical services are provided at no charge!
As a strategic partner of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, Atlanta Morning Center invites you to partner with us to positively impact life and further the Kingdom in Georgia.
Thank you for all you do to advocate, protect, promote, and defend life and the Gospel of Jesus the Christ, but we can do more.
Daphne Harris Nicely serves as executive director of the Atlanta Morning Center. She is a licensed Life Affirming Specialist (March 2012) and Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist (March 2014).