FRC, Dr. Michael New Unveil Initial Findings in Joint Study on Perinatal Hospice

Image of a pregnant woman receiving support from a healthcare professional.

Perinatal hospices offer valuable resources and emotional support to women facing adverse prenatal diagnoses, helping them navigate their pregnancy journey with care and compassion.

Today, Family Research Council (FRC), together with Dr. Michael New, Assistant Professor of Social Research at the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America, released the first phase results of a study of 11 perinatal hospice programs surveying 82 mothers who participated in these programs.

The study found that perinatal hospices offered a range of valuable resources to women. These included counseling, sonograms, prayer, support groups, and a birth plan. High percentages of women found each of these services “very helpful.” Overall, women expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the care they received from perinatal hospices with 83 percent of women reporting the level of emotional support from the perinatal hospice as “very supportive” and 79 percent of women unable to note anything from the program that was not helpful in the grieving process. 

Importantly, 55 percent of mothers in the study reported that when doctors informed them about their child’s diagnosis, the physician’s recommendation was to end the baby’s life. Sadly, only 19% received information about perinatal hospice when they were given this recommendation.

Yet, after receiving perinatal hospice services, 86 percent of women reported they were “very much” confident in their decision to carry to birth, and 0 women reported they were “not at all confident.” 

Family Research Council’s Director of the Center for Family Studies, Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, stated: “Our study addressed a large gap in the scientific literature by asking about the experiences of women who decided to carry their child to term in the face of an adverse perinatal diagnosis and advice to abort. Both receiving an adverse perinatal diagnosis and losing a child can cause tremendous grief that is not always acknowledged by the general public. Our findings suggest perinatal hospices are a source of support for women facing this challenging road.”

Dr. Michael New noted, “Increasing the awareness of perinatal hospice among policymakers, healthcare professionals, and the general public is an important and worthwhile goal for the pro-life movement. It will give women who obtain adverse prenatal diagnosis more options and will hopefully result in a higher percentage of these women making the life-affirming choice of perinatal hospice for both themselves and their preborn child.”

FRC’s Director of the Center for Human Dignity, Mary Szoch, concluded, “The lives of people with disabilities, no matter how long or how short, are just as valuable as every other person’s. Americans must recognize this. Supporting perinatal hospice programs is a great place to start.”


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