Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCS)


Crisis Pregnancy Center Deception

Crisis Pregnancy Center Deception, Lies, and Misinformation

For the last few days, we’ve been talking a lot about Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC).

If you are pro-life, these CPCs are establishments that seek to offer pregnant women (or non pregnant women, for that matter) information about their options.  The staff people at these centers sit back and wait for the women to come in, they then sit them down in, in a non-judgmental environment, tell them all about adoption, childbirth and abortion.  Yes, their bottom line is that they are against abortion but they really just want to make sure that woman is educated and knows what resources are available to her should she decide to give birth.

If you are pro-choice, these centers lure women into their facility under false pretenses, pretend that they are a medical office by offering ultrasounds and fill the women’s heads with lies about how the perils, both emotional and physical, of this very easy procedure.

Coincidentally, in the wake of our discussions, legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Senate called “Stop Deceptive Advertising in Women’s Service’s Act.”  In their press release, the authors of the bills brought attention to the bill’s clever acronym:   SDAWS.

Just kinda rolls off the tip of your tongue, doesn’t it?

If the bill became law, the Federal Trade Commission would be required to issues rules declaring that it is an “unfair or deceptive act” for a CPC to advertise that they are “a provider of abortion services.”  The pro-choice groups are understandably elated and energized.  One leader applauded the initiative and said “we should all agree that a woman should not be misled or manipulated when she’s facing an unintended pregnancy.”   The troops are gearing up to storm the Congress to get this important legislation passed.

Crisis Pregnancy Center Deception, Lies, and Misinformation

Crisis Pregnancy Center Deception, Lies, and Misinformation

My initial reaction is that this is an incredible waste of time.

Now, I admit that I have not done a full-fledged review of every CPC in the country, but I would bet that house that hardly any of them actually advertise that they “provide abortion services.”   I mean, c’mon, even the sleaziest CPC staff person would never, with a straight face, say that.  And if anyone can show me differently, I totally welcome the evidence and will offer a mea culpa.

Sure, many of them, if not most, say that they provide “abortion information,” but, technically, that is true.  They do offer “information” on abortion, albeit in many cases it is the wrong information.  But it is “information” nonetheless.

So, to me, the big question is:  why are these pro-choice Members of Congress and the pro-choice groups spending time and resources on trying to pass a bill that – in the unlikely event that it becomes law – will have practically NO impact?  And, for argument’s sake, let’s say the FTC does find a totally whacky CPC director who says in their Yellow Page ad that they provide abortion services.  The FTC will theoretically bring some kind of action against them and chances are that that CPC will just agree to not say it in the future.  And if they refuse to change their ways, maybe they’ll be shut down.  Well, that leaves only THOUSANDS of more CPCs to go after!   Way to go folks!

I certainly appreciate the energy of the authors of these bills and I am sure they will now get a nice donation from the pro-choice political action committees because they have shown they are pro-choice “leaders.”  Meanwhile, they’ve issued their press releases and are getting some attention on pro-choice blogs, websites, etc.

But, in the long run, ain’t nothing gonna change.

And around and around we go….

Abortion Escorts

Abortion Escorts

Let’s talk about escorts.

No, not the professional ones that you can track down on Craig’s List.  Get your mind out of the gutter for Gosh Sakes.  I’m talking about the pro-choice escorts.

I can’t remember when I first heard about these folks who were accompanying women into their local abortion clinic.  But I know it was sometime in the early-1990’s, when groups like Operation Rescue, the Lambs of Christ and others were getting hundreds of their followers to block the entrances to abortion clinics.  It is hard to believe today, but I recall many demonstrations where anti-abortion folks would just plant themselves down in front of the door to the clinic and sit there.  Amazingly, they would usually do this right in front of the local police.   And, more amazingly, the police would often just let them sit there and chant and sing for hours, even though the protestors were clearly violating the trespass laws.

Somewhere around that time either the National Organization for Women or the Feminist Majority Foundation started to counter-attack.  They began recruiting pro choice activists to help women access their medical services by escorting them through the crowd and into the clinic.  Indeed, when the antis suggest that it was the doctors who were luring women into the clinics, I have to chuckle as I remember watching women desperately climbing over the protestors in an effort to get IN to the abortion facility.

So, working with the clinic administrator, the escorts would arrange to meet the patient at a certain spot and walk in with her, the woman often holding something over her head so as not to be identified.  While it was a serious and often tense situation, I always had the sense that some of the escorts were really getting into this, that it really got their juices flowing.  That was probably because, if I had to stereotype them, I would say many of them were baby boomers, perhaps waning for the days of the 60’s and political causes.  Still, whatever their motivation, they were generally most welcome.

At some point, however, things started to get a little strange.  In 1994, I visited a clinic in Colorado because I had heard that Operation Rescue was going to be there in force that Saturday.  I hadn’t seen OR in action for a while, so – with the clinic’s permission – I flew out to take a look.  That Saturday, at 5:00 a.m., I got to the clinic and there were already about 15 escorts gathered in the front.  Working with the clinic administrator, they started to put together their plan for the day.  We were told that about 20 women were scheduled for the day, beginning at about 9:00.  So, the escorts split up the list, walked outside and anxiously awaited for the antis to start pulling up to the clinic.

We waited – and waited – and waited.

At about 8:45, a car pulled into the parking lot and a young woman got out of the driver’s seat.  She was on her cell phone as she started to walk up the steps to the clinic.  The escorts were perplexed.  There were no screaming mobs of antis to climb over or through.  Not one.  Finally, the escort who was assigned to this particular woman walked up to her, introduced herself to the young lady and accompanied her up the steps, right into the waiting room.

It was totally bizarre.

Then more cars started coming in and the other escorts went through the drill with their assigned patients.  They were all well-intentioned, of course, but I found the whole scene downright silly.  Finally, when there was a lull, I got everyone together, including the clinic administrator and suggested that we just leave.  “The women clearly don’t need us today.  Why don’t we leave them alone?”

The escorts were horrified.  They said it was their duty to escort the women, no matter what.  But the administrator, who was a little more attuned to the mindset of her patients, agreed wholeheartedly with me.  She thanked the escorts and politely asked them to leave.  They got all huffy, threatened to never come out again and left.

In retrospect, I think the escorts got caught up in the anticipated and lost their focus on the women, who probably didn’t want to see anybody that morning except the doctor.

The escorts meant well.   And they still do.  It was just interesting to me when there was a mixture of activists and medical people.  Sometimes they didn’t see eye to eye.

Candidate's Speech

The candidate walks into the jam-packed auditorium at Calvin Coolidge High School.  The district he seeks to represent has elected both Republicans and Democrats.  The residents are independent thinkers who are very serious about the social issues of the day.  As the candidate strides up to the podium, he looks over the crowd and sees a number of pro-life and pro-choice signs.  It seems evenly divided.  Personally, the candidate believes abortion should be legal but has some concerns about its usage.  He is truly in the middle somewhere.  But the conventional wisdom says that the candidate should just put their lot into one of the camps and stick with that position.  This candidate is different and tonight his goal is to defy that conventional wisdom by appealing to the activists on both sides:

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  I’ve been asked to give you my views on the abortion issue tonight.  Generally it is not an assignment that the average candidate looks forward to but I guess I’m a little different.  I’ve actually been excited about this prospect.

Let me start by saying that I respect those of you who are pro-life and those of you who are pro-choice.  This is probably the most controversial issue of our time and I honestly believe that all of you are well- intentioned.   Unfortunately, the media loves to focus on the negative, so they will cover the extremists on both sides.  That is not fair because I firmly believe that the average activist comes from a good place, has deep- seeded convictions and is not shy about expressing them.  Indeed, I applaud you all for standing up for what you believe.

Now, I’m gonna be straight with you.  I’m not the typical politician who tries to have it both ways.  You deserve to know where I stand.

I believe abortion must remain legal in this country.  To me, it is a matter of a woman’s health.  I am a great student of history and, as everyone knows, before abortion was legalized in this country, many women were dying from botched, unsafe back alley abortions or were being severely harmed.   We can all quibble about how many women we’re talking about but, for me, the numbers don’t matter.   Women will always seek out abortions and, if that is the case, then I prefer they be safe.

At the same time, however, I think the pro-choice folks need to fess up.  Abortion is a form of killing.  A woman sitting in the abortion clinic waiting room has something – and you can decide what you want to call that something – in her body.  It is something that, if not aborted, will ultimately become a child.  It is a living organism.  Indeed, if it was a wanted pregnancy, we would be calling it a “baby” from day one.  Then, when the woman leaves the clinic, that organism is no longer alive.  To me, that is “killing.”  It’s a sad process, one that no one wants to experience.   It’s a very sad fact of life.

Sides of the Issue

But here’s the good news.  The number of abortions in this country is decreasing.  It’s hard to say what is causing that trend, but I would like to give credit to both sides of the issue.  For example, the pro-choice folks like to emphasize birth control education.  The pro-lifers hope to “protect” women by pointing out how some women ultimately regret their abortions.  Whatever the reason, the number is going down and that is a good thing.

Now, although I support abortion, I am very concerned that some women might be getting later terms abortions for less than compelling reasons.   That’s why I would support banning third trimester abortions unless the woman’s life was endangered or if there was a possibility of her experiencing severe health consequences.   I don’t think a woman should have an abortion at that stage for some less-than-serious reason.

I will add that I can support the work of so-called crisis pregnancy centers as long as they are totally candid up front about their opposition to abortion.  If a woman clearly understands that she is basically going into a pro-life center andshe still wants to talk to them, then go for it.  I have no problem with that.   In addition, I will vigorously support the right of pro-life activists to protest in front of a clinic.   That is the essence of the First Amendment.

Although I support legal abortion, I am torn about the use of taxpayer’s dollars for abortions.   I understand how the pro-lifers don’t want their tax dollars used to fund something that they find morally objectionable and they have all the right in the world to try to pass laws restricting the use of those dollars.  Indeed, in my earlier days I supported efforts to de-fund the Vietnam War.   On the other hand, I am troubled by the thought of a woman on welfare with four children not being able to use her Medicaid card for an abortion because it means we all will be paying more money to help her raise yet another (unwanted) child.    It’s a tough one for me and I would like to sit down with representatives on both sides of that issue.

Abortion is not a black and white issue to me.  It is very, very complicated.  In the meantime, however, if I am elected to Congress I will work hard to make it easier for couples to adopt, I will support using federal dollars for contraceptives.   I will support any educational effort that has the same goal as we all do – to eliminate the need for abortion in this country.  I ask you all to consider supporting me.  I support legal abortion but I will work as hard as anybody to eliminate the need for it.

Thank you very much.

Abortion 12th & Delaware

Abortion

Abortion Care Network (ACN)

DON’T MISS the Award Winning HBO Documentary, 12th and Delaware, Monday August 2, at 8 pm Eastern Time.  This extraordinary documentary shines a light on a national disgrace–the proliferation of so called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCS).  CPCS advertise as if they are abortion clinics to trick women who are seeking abortion services into hearing lies and half-truths designed to coerce them to continue pregnancies. Starting in the early 1980’s a network of these centers was set up all over the United States.

Though it can be difficult for a woman to find a real abortion/family planning clinic near her, there are thousands of CPCS. In this documentary Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, producers of Jesus Camp,  have captured an unscripted look at a CPC and how women are treated there—and at the abortion clinic across the street and  how women are treated there.   Whatever your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about abortion, don’t miss this unique opportunity to let both ‘sides’ speak for themselves.

Please forward this to everyone on your e-mail list and invite friends over to watch.

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