Pregnant? Alone? Scared? Be Careful Where You GoAugust 4, 2011 1 Comment
If you’re looking for advice about your unplanned pregnancy and you walk into a pregnancy counseling center run by a faith-based organization, you’re probably not expecting objective suggestions. But you’re also probably not expecting them to lie to you.
Sadly, a survey of 10 British centres operated by Christian and anti-abortion organizations found that most of them gave visitors factually incorrect advice and that the quality of counseling varied hugely.
Education For Choice, a pro-choice charity, sent in young women pretending to be in the early stages of pregnancy to reveal some of the centers’ strategies. Their version of advice was more akin to fear-mongering. They told women that abortion could lead to breast cancer, for example. They also displayed baby clothes and referred to the fetus as “the child” because it was a “fully-formed human life” in order to dissuade them from seeking an abortion.
That kind of behaviour isn’t just about working in accordance with your convictions. It’s manipulating desperate women to get them to do what they’re told. And it’s not only happening in England.
Legislation is being discussed in San Francisco this month to stop pro-life medical clinics from using misleading advertising in billboards and in pay-per-click Google ads that imply they offer abortion or abortion referrals, when they do neither.
One of the main organizations in the cross hairs of this new law is First Resort, which does not refer for abortion but whose advertising “implies on its ‘Abortion Procedures’ page that First Resort performs pregnancy tests and ultrasounds as a prelude to offering abortion as an outpatient procedure, or referring clients to a provider who performs abortion,” according to City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
But in July, a New York City law that would have required pregnancy centers to disclose more information about their services was blocked by a Manhattan federal court judge, on the basis that it could be a violation of freedom of speech and that the text was “unconstitutionally vague.” The law, which was signed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would have required these centres to “post signs in the lobbies of their counseling centres, add extensive additional written language to their advertising materials, and to provide oral statements during both ‘in person’ and telephonic conversations regarding the services offered by crisis pregnancy centres.”
Some of the crisis pregnancy centres masquerading as licensed medical facilities, even collect personal and health insurance information and offer services like ultrasounds, even though they are not actually medical facilities, according to Joan Malin, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood in New York.
That any center pretending to help women would refuse to fully state on their door or lobby what service they provide is a clear sign to me that they have something to hide. Just because people come for advice and guidance doesn’t mean they should be coerced into doing something they are not comfortable with.
As Vicki Evans, the Respect Life Coordinator of the Archdiocese of San Francisco said, “No one should be deceived. Women deserve all the facts about abortion regardless of whether they come from pro-life pregnancy centers or pro-abortion facilities.”
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