HomeoldDear Slate.com, If You Want to Make Pregnancy Help Centers Illegal, Let’s...

Dear Slate.com, If You Want to Make Pregnancy Help Centers Illegal, Let’s at Least Start with the Truth

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On Wednesday, Meaghan Winter, writing at Slate.com, poses the question, “Why are crisis pregnancy centers not illegal?” The article’s headline reads, “They peddle false and misleading information. But putting them out of business is tougher than it may seem.”

Ms. Winter, readers may recall, previously wrote an article for Cosmopolitan on Heartbeat International’s 2014 conference (she has expressed interest in our work).

At the most basic level, I am not concerned with Ms. Winter’s interest in shutting down our centers. She has an opinion, and she is entitled to express it. Furthermore, her earlier piece in Cosmopolitan was not hateful; while I perceived some misperceptions and some bias, I also observed a willingness to consider another point of view. (It should be noted that I was quoted in the Cosmopolitan article.) While I had a slight issue with context, she was accurate.

In this Slate article, Ms. Winter outlines three possible avenues for making pregnancy help centers (PHCs) illegal. These include proving consumer fraud (misleading advertising), claiming that centers taking government funding are violating the separation of church and state, or proving that centers are committing medical malpractice (practicing medicine without a license).

Ms. Winter notes that each avenue is difficult, for various reasons, all of which ignore the obvious. She asserts that Pregnancy Help Centers (PHCs) are not committing consumer fraud, are not violating the Constitution, and that our medical clinics are quite adept at providing top-flight health care.

If Ms. Winter believes that PHCs should be illegal, she is free to advocate for that position. However, she must overcome one small challenge: the fact that PHCs are not, in fact, illegal. PHCs are not subject to legal constraints. Abortion centers, such as the one in Gary, Indiana, continue to face challenges in meeting even minimal legal and health standards.
My concern with Ms. Winter’s Slate article is not her intentions. Rather, it is the tendency in such pieces to treat opinion as fact and a vague accusation as evidence.

This type of reporting exemplifies the larger attack on PHCs by abortion providers. One example is NARAL’s report on PHCs in Connecticut, which relies heavily on the opinions of NARAL “investigators.” It is therefore questionable whether the views expressed by these individuals, who are paid by an organization that is committed to closing the doors of PHCs, should be trusted.

In her article, Ms. Winter provides a perfect example of this technique. She cites a 2006 “damning report” from Congress, which claimed that PHCs mislead patients and clients. A reader with limited information would likely conclude from Winter’s article that PHCs engage in deception and fraud to advance their agenda.

What Winter fails to acknowledge is that the report is a minority report, commissioned by the left-wing, abortion-promoting Henry Waxman (D-CA). In essence, one individual with a title (U.S. Representative) sought to discredit pregnancy help centers. He utilized taxpayer funds and government employees to achieve this objective.

Ultimately, the report was merely the opinion of Rep. Waxman and his staff. Any House member with a personal agenda can create a report on any subject. This information was not included in Winter’s article. To omit this information is, therefore, false and misleading.

In the context of the aforementioned article, Winter presents the following claim: “An Ohio woman who mistook a CPC for an abortion provider, delaying her abortion by weeks.” This assertion is highly misleading and requires further clarification.

To substantiate an accusation of this nature, a reporter must, without exception, pose sufficient inquiries to furnish readers with the requisite details pertaining to the claim, including the “Who, What, Where, When, and Why.” These five fundamental inquiries are a fundamental tenet of any reputable journalism program. I am a graduate of one such program. This is an essential aspect of reporting.

Should the allegations in this article be substantiated, all those engaged in the field of pregnancy help ministry would be keen to ascertain the location of the centre in question, the identity of those who made the statements in question, the qualifications of those who made them, and whether the centre in question is affiliated with any national network. All those who support the right of individuals to make their own life choices would be likely to affirm that truth, not misrepresentation, must lead the way.

Instead of answering any of these questions, however, the article in question claims, without explanation or proof, that the centre in question committed “consumer fraud.” The alleged victim states only that “no one wants people to know they’ve been to a pregnancy help center.” This is the extent of her disclosure. She declines to inform Ms. Winter of the specifics of her experience at the center. The client in question is said to have “mistook a CPC for an abortion center.” Without further information, it is not possible to ascertain whether the client entered the PHC through misleading advertising or through her own mistake.

If Ms. Winter wishes to attribute blame to the PHC, she is obliged to present factual evidence. She must demonstrate the existence of misleading advertising and provide links to the relevant websites.

Furthermore, the assertion that the center is responsible for delaying abortions for weeks is a baseless accusation. If this is indeed the case, Ms. Winter must provide the names of the client advocate and the executive director and specify the actions they took outside of the law that resulted in a woman who entered the center to delay her abortion for weeks.

Please provide the name of the individual who prevented our anonymous client from exiting the center. Additionally, please provide a detailed account of the coercive tactics employed. If this is a factual account, it is imperative that we have all the necessary information to verify its veracity.

Frankly, I am skeptical about the veracity of this account. However, Ms. Winter may have a different perspective. It is relatively simple to compose such a piece, as most readers are unlikely to notice what they are not reading. Those who agree with the writer may shout, “We got ’em!” However, the truth is lost. This may seem to be the case, but I am not berating Ms. Winter. This is objective criticism, and I freely admit my bias toward Pregnancy Help Centers. I have been in hundreds of PHCs, and these are good people. These individuals are, in fact, good people who are simply attempting to do the right thing and provide assistance to those who are in need.

It is my contention that if we are ever to engage in a genuine dialogue on PHCs, it must begin with an acknowledgment of the facts. Based on Ms. Winter’s Cosmopolitan article, I believe she would be amenable to learning the truth about how we operate and the motivations behind all of our work.

Therefore, Ms. Winter, I would like to extend an invitation to you to contact me. Let us engage in a discussion and disseminate the facts. I believe that you will find that we have a distinctive approach to PHCs in this country and around the world, and that we welcome an open and honest dialogue.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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