Even the New York Times has a good word to say (finally) about Pregnancy Centers

By Dave Andrusko

“Pregnancy centers, while not new, now number about 2,500, compared with about 1,800 abortion providers.” — Pam Belluck, Friday’s New York Times.

CareNet22Okay, it only took 40 years or so, but the New York Times actually ran a story dated last Friday that sympathetically examined pro-life Pregnancy Centers, also known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Women Helping Centers, or Pregnancy Resource Centers.

The headline to Pam Belluck’s story is simultaneously accurate and deeply misleading—“Pregnancy Centers Gain Influence in Anti-Abortion Arena.” But we’ll get to that in a moment.

What’s far more significant is that the Times–the abortion movement’s in-house newspaper of record—is watching the growing sophistication of Pregnancy Centers and in a 1,502-word-long-story not until Belluck is 224 words in is there a whisper of criticism and nearly half-way through before a quasi-substantive critique appears!

Those of us who’ve been around a long time have to remind ourselves that the “mom and pop” crisis pregnancy centers of the 1970s and 1980s—while still in existence—have largely been replaced by Pregnancy Centers of greater sophistication and outreach. This is marvelous news that even perks up the ears of the Times.

The best section—in the sense of offering the best and starkest contrast—comes in the middle. “With largely volunteer staffs and donations from mostly Christian sources, centers usually offer free tests and ultrasounds, services that clinics like Planned Parenthood charge for,” Belluck writes. “They offer advice about baby-rearing or adoption, ask if women are being pressured to abort, and give technical descriptions of abortion and fetal development. Many offer prayer and Bible study.”

Later there is Planned Parenthood’s deeply instructive response . “Planned Parenthood’s building looks like the medical clinic it is,” Belluck writes. “It distributes information on prenatal care and adoption, among other things, but does not offer emotional counseling. ‘We’re our patients’ medical provider,’ said Katie Wolfe, the health educator, ‘not their emotional support.’”

Belluck wants to contrast passage of protective legislation and the work of Pregnancy Centers, arguing [correctly] that much more attention has been paid to the former than the latter. But in fact, they go hand-in-hand.

For example, a major reason Pregnancy Centers have been able to expand their saintly work is because of legislation that’s been passed. To take one illustration, some of the money that people use to pay for “Choose Life” license plates goes to Pregnancy Centers.

Over a quarter of the states—Belluck counts 13—now provide some direct funding. Moreover, Texas “require[s] abortion clinics to provide names of centers at least 24 hours before performing abortions,” Belluck observes. “In South Dakota, a 2011 law being challenged by Planned Parenthood requires pregnancy center visits before abortions.”

In addition, Missouri (there may be others) has had a program that offers a tax credit for donations made to pregnancy resource centers. And that doesn’t even address the critical importance of laws requiring that women have access to ultrasounds before they abort, or of the impact of states websites that, among other fine qualities, offer real-time sonography of the developing unborn child.

Speaking of the impact of ultrasounds, there is this illuminating story.

“One pregnant woman, Nasya Dotie, 21, single, worried about finishing college and disappointing her parents, said she was ‘almost positive I was going to have an abortion.’

“A friend at her Christian university suggested visiting Care Net of Central Texas. She met with a counselor, went home and considered her options. She returned for an ultrasound, and though planning not to look at the screen, when a clinician offered, she agreed. Then, ‘I was like, ‘That’s my baby. I can’t not have him.’ ”

You can read the story in its entirety at www.nytimes.com/2013/01/05/health/pregnancy-centers-gain-influence-in-anti-abortion-fight.html, so let me close with this.

NARAL Pro-Choice America makes no bones about it—it is out to destroy Pregnancy Centers, citing a raft of either altogether misleading drivel or bogus pro-abortion studies. NARAL comes in to cities or counties or states, finds sympathetic legislators, and then manufactures harassing laws that are almost all eventually shot down. Why?

Simply because they can’t stand the idea of one baby getting away, one abortion that could have happened—should have happened, in NARAL’s twisted view—that didn’t. Belluck’s story helps the reader understand why more and more women choose life, IF they hear about an alternative.

Let me end with Belluck’s very insightful conclusion. (“Ms. McGregor“ refers to Waco Care Net’s chief executive, Deborah McGregor.)

“Amanda Hall met Care Net’s definition of ‘abortion-vulnerable.’ Twenty-five, pregnant with her second child, her husband in jail, she was facing eviction.

“Although uncomfortable about abortion, she checked ‘undecided,’ saying, ‘I can’t support two kids.’

“Care Net let her stay in a house Ms. McGregor owns, found her a job, negotiated debt payment plans, offered Bible study and other classes. She gave birth in March.

“’Everybody here,’ she said, was ‘like a different family.’”

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