Pro-life pregnancy centers provide compassionate medical care, material assistance, and emotional support to women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. But the abortion lobby continually paints this movement as deceitful, uncaring, religious fanatics.
Cosmopolitan recently published an article chronicling Heartbeat International’s 2014 annual conference. Heartbeat International is an organization of affiliated pregnancy help providers, such as pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption services. Pregnancy centers, such as those affiliated with Heartbeat, provide vital services to hurting women experiencing unplanned pregnancies.
Such services range from material non-medical assistance offered in pregnancy resource centers—such as parenting classes, material assistance, discussion of pregnancy options, adoption assistance, and the like—to medical services—such as sonograms, pregnancy testing, STI testing and treatment, and prenatal care—in medical pregnancy centers. Heartbeat president Peggy Hartshorn, quoted in the article, perfectly captures the mission of the pregnancy center movement: “The sole purpose of every pregnancy help organization is to provide the love and support every woman deserves in an unexpected pregnancy.”
Unfortunately, virtually all of this information is missing from Ms. Winter’s article. The article instead focuses on radical accusations of the abortion lobby and demeaning the Christian beliefs of the pro-life movement. The true mission of the pregnancy center movement is to serve hurting women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, whether they decide to carry that pregnancy to term or to terminate. Pregnancy centers serve women, not with coercion or deception, but with love. Sadly, Cosmopolitan entirely misses the point.
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The pro-choice lobby has long been attacking pregnancy centers for “shaming” and “deceiving” women, but this is simply not the case. The article refers to the recently released NARAL Report detailing the alleged misleading of women by pregnancy centers. Aside from the fact that nearly every citation in the “report” is to NARAL itself, the information contained in the NARAL Report is unabashedly biased.
The NARAL Report describes pregnancy centers as “fake clinics.” The fact is that many pregnancy centers are medical clinics, and have obtained all of the licenses and operations necessary to become medical facilities. Such medical pregnancy centers can offer a vast array of services under the supervision of a licensed physician, including ultrasound, pregnancy testing, STI testing and treatment, and prenatal care. These services are administered in accordance with law, and performed by medical personnel. There do exist non-medical pregnancy resource centers, which serve primarily to offer emotional support and material assistance to women, but they do not “pretend” to be medical clinics.
Let me be clear: pro-life pregnancy centers believe that abortion is wrong, and they will say so in a kind and loving manner if it is appropriate to do. Likewise, abortion clinics will tell women that abortion is acceptable. But pregnancy centers offer women help and healing in a non-judgmental manner, and provide services to women to assist them in whatever decision they decide to make, whether abortion, parenting, or adoption. These centers are about helping and encouraging women, not about coercing a woman to any choice.
The author focuses far too much on the religious beliefs of pregnancy centers, while ignoring the real service that these centers provide to hurting women. While the love of Christ is an integral part of many pregnancy centers, and drives many of those serving in a pregnancy center, the focus of the pro-life pregnancy center is serving women in a loving manner. Glaringly absent from the article are the actual services that these pregnancy centers offer, aside from a brief mention of baby clothes and sonograms.
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The article takes issue with the fact that pregnancy centers receiving taxpayer dollars, but this is a red herring. Abortion clinics receive a great deal of taxpayer funding, far more than pregnancy centers, under a variety of federal programs, including Title X, Medicaid, and the like. In a recent audit, the Government Accountability Office reported that Planned Parenthood received $1.5 billion from taxpayers over a three-year period, far exceeding the numbers that the article mentions were allotted to pregnancy centers. Pregnancy centers, for the most part, also offer their services free of charge. Abortion facilities do not offer their services for free.
What the article doesn’t mention is that abortion giant Planned Parenthood has regularly been shown to have overbilled taxpayers. But, somehow, the author does not take issue with the fact that such organizations continue to receive taxpayer funding, despite rampant abuses.
Furthermore, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court held that states can assert an interest in protecting the life of an unborn child. In furtherance of that interest, many states have chosen to fund pregnancy centers which support that mission. This is not controversial: it is well-settled law.
The article completely misses the point of pregnancy centers. Pregnancy centers do not exist to convert women to Christianity, nor do they exist to shame or deceive women into giving birth. Their mission is this: to serve women experiencing unplanned pregnancies with love and compassion. It really is that simple.
This article, written by ADF Litigation Counsel Elissa Graves, originally appeared at blog.alliancedefendingfreedom.org.