Arches New Hope Pregnancy Center opened its doors on 400 East in 2004, offering pregnancy counseling, adoption information, and education on parenting and abstinence.
“Our purpose is to provide compassionate help through no cost education, along with spiritual, physical, and emotional resources to women, men, and families in our community as they make important decisions and take actions during a pregnancy and long after,” reads a recently updated mission statement from the organization. Their website also adds, “We never advise, provide, or refer for abortion or abortifacients. Arches New Hope does not provide contraceptives.”
Paula Radcliffe is the director of Arches New Hope. She got a text from a friend on July 5 with photos of blue and black paint splattering the exterior walls and windows of the center.
Someone had already contacted the police by the time Radcliffe got the text message. Officers examined the scene and investigated the incident, but there are no leads at this time.
“We’re not so much worried about that,” said Kyle VanArsdol, vice president of the board of Arches New Hope, meaning finding out who vandalized the building.
“Let’s get it cleaned up and get back to business,” Radcliffe agreed. “That’s what’s important.”
The owner of the property has contacted insurance agents who will determine an estimate for the damage. Board members expect the building will need to be repainted, and hope that the sidewalk and windows can be cleaned with a power washer.
Radcliffe said this is the first time something like this has happened at Arches New Hope since the center opened. However, since the overturn of Roe v. Wade—the landmark case that protected abortion rights—media have reported damage at pregnancy centers across the country. A pregnancy center in Cortez, Colorado was vandalized on the night of June 25.
Radcliffe emphasized that Arches New Hope is “not a threat to anyone,” and described how the center receives clients: First they offer free pregnancy tests, if a client hasn’t taken one. If the test is positive, they’ll discuss options, including parenting, adoption, and abortion.
“We talk about the pros and cons of each one of those,” Radcliffe said, adding that while the center is explicitly pro-life, they don’t use scare tactics like showing graphic abortion videos. The client meeting room is private, warmly lit and furnished with comfortable chairs; shelves lining the walls are crowded with pamphlets, books and other media about pregnancy, birth and motherhood, as well as with bibles and spiritual literature.
“If she chooses to terminate, we understand it’s her choice. We would prefer a different choice,” Radcliffe said. “She’s always welcome to come back if she’s having any emotional issues with the abortion. We don’t just say, ‘Ok, it’s your choice, goodbye.’”
Arches New Hope offers video courses, which can be sent to clients to view at home, on pregnancy, birth, parenting for mothers and fathers, life and relationship skills, and bible studies. They also have a small “baby boutique” at the center where women can earn “points” for coming in or for completing classes, and use the points to “buy” baby clothes, toys and supplies from the boutique. The center also has a relationship with the San Juan County Jail in Monticello, where some of the state inmates have learned to crochet, and send handmade afghans and animals to the center to give to new moms.
“They adopted us as their mission,” Radcliffe said.
Some of the afghans, as well as crocheted shawls, are sold as part of fundraisers. The center operates entirely on donations from community members and churches, and fundraising—they don’t receive any grants or government funding.
Radcliffe said the center can also offer support to clients beyond pregnancy, birth, and infancy—“whether that’s literature, letting her cry on our shoulder, sending her lessons, or directing her to other agencies in Moab.”
Radcliffe is grateful for the community’s response to the vandalism incident.
“We have had so many people in the community offering to help with the cleanup,” she said. “The outpouring of love in the community is just amazing.”