By Jay Hobbs
Three headlines have popped up in the past two weeks to prompt a hypothetical question: What if “they” were right? What if every slander of pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics was the absolute, bona fide, 100 percent gospel truth?
What if pregnancy centers really did “deceive” and “mislead” women, “luring” them into their non-profit clutches with promises of “free abortion help” that turned out to not include abortion at all?
What if, instead of finding a “medical professional” (i.e., abortionist) at a pro-life medical clinic, women instead find themselves “trapped” in a secretively faith-based quasi-church, surrounded by sweater-set-clad old ladies and their “pony-tailed counterparts” who offered absolutely no medical care?
What if pregnancy centers exist for the sole purpose of “shaming” women, presumably sending each client home with a great big, scarlet “A,” while they point and laugh at her as she flees from the door of the pregnancy center?
What if, in the final analysis, pregnancy centers were just a bunch of “insidious” “lurkers,” creeping about to inflict… whatever it is they’re out to inflict in the first place.
The headlines that prompt the question are ominous. I urge you to sit down before reading further. Maybe grab a paper bag to breathe into.
Here they are:
“Faith-Based ‘Clinics’ Want To Replace Planned Parenthood And That’s Dangerous As Hell” — (Huffington Post, March 17)
“Shady Crisis Pregnancy Center Audited, Responds In Shady Way: What are these Pennsylvania clinics trying to hide?” — (Huffington Post, March 17)
“Beware Google Ads for ‘Abortion Consultations’: Religious-affiliated groups are testing misleading mobile tools” — (Bloomberg Businessweek, March 24)
One Major Disclaimer about Facts
Before going any further down the rabbit hole, it’s perhaps helpful to point out that the abortion lobby has zero to show for its 40-year effort to expose pregnancy help centers as the hives of scum and villainy “they” would have us—or in many cases, legislators—believe.
It’s not for lack of trying either. Every one of the 2,600 pregnancy help locations in the U.S. poses an imminent threat to the abortion cartel’s bloodthirsty cause. The abortion lobby is well aware of that fact, and has been fighting tooth and nail against pro-life alternatives to abortion ever since the late 1960s, as abortion was legalized at state levels prior to Roe v. Wade.
In 2000, the nation’s leading abortion lobby group, NARAL Pro-Choice America, released a pamphlet entitled, “Unmasking Fake Clinics,” which has set the trajectory for every attack on pregnancy centers since. Periodically released national and state-level attacks (see examples here, here and here) have appeared ever since, rehearsing the same tired and baseless claims that uniformly fail to point out any wrongdoing on the part of a pregnancy center.
To date, all NARAL has to show for its ongoing witch hunt is a handful of legislation that has been struck down as unconstitutional and a fistful more that likely awaits that same fate.
Nowhere has the crusade to “unmask fake clinics” failed more spectacularly than in California, where a 2015 law—which is likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court later this year—attempts to force pro-life medical clinics to advertise for abortion.
Seizing the momentum sparked by the law, the City of Los Angeles has been going undercover at pregnancy centers since May 2016 to try and gin up examples of false information and deceptive advertising. Only problem is, the covert dragnet hasn’t found anything amiss. No evidence of wrongdoing.
Just pro-lifers serving women with free, community-supported, life-affirming care. Nothing to see here. Thanks for stopping in, officer.
So our little thought experiment is going to require a great, big leap of faith—or, if you prefer, a suspension of the facts already in evidence—right at the outset. Still, it’s worth the exercise to ask the hypothetical question: What if?
Pregnancy Centers are “Dangerous as Hell”?
The two pieces in the Huffington Post—written by the same author and published on the same day—both refer to programs that reimburse pro-life entities for medical services through state-level grants.
In Texas, 22 medical providers—only one of which is a pregnancy center, which offers prenatal care with an on-site mid-level provider—are participating in the Healthy Texas Women grant. Over the past year, the providers have become targets of opportunistic politicians bought and paid for by Planned Parenthood.
On a steely-faced mission to present abortion as the only “choice” in an unexpected pregnancy, the politicians are currently trying to torpedo the 22 providers’ funding midway through the life of the one-year grant. You can read the whole story here.
HuffPo’s coverage on Pennsylvania is right along the same lines. Since 1997, Real Alternatives has administrated a state-level grant that has served over 273,000 women through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding. The program has been so successful over the years that it’s expanded to other states, including Indiana and Michigan.
What’s so “shady”? After complying with a politically motivated “audit” that has been dragging on since the fall of 2015, Real Alternatives requested a declaratory judgment that would make their finances a matter of public record—bringing the issue directly into the light of day.
The Answer to “What If” in a Nutshell
But it’s the article in Bloomberg Businessweek that stands out as an extremely telling glimpse into the world of abortion absolutists who envision a world where abortion is the only legitimate course of action in an unexpected pregnancy.
Urging readers to “Beware Google Ads” that might direct online searchers to a pregnancy center rather than an abortion clinic, the article’s writer, Alice Hines, concludes with a real-life example she clearly intends to hold up as a flesh-and-blood warning.
If you’re duped into finding help at a pregnancy center, Hines warns, this could happen to you:
The stakes of confusing one kind of facility for the other can be high for pregnant women, whose options for terminating a pregnancy become fewer and costlier over time. Molly Spadt, 30, of Lincoln, Neb., once visited an Omaha pregnancy center she mistook for an abortion clinic. The billboard and radio ads she saw didn’t disclose its religious affiliation, and she only figured it out after a sonogram. “The words ‘choice’ and ‘options’ were what made me feel comfortable,” she says. “It’s incredibly deceptive.”
So, to recap her story, Molly visited a nearby pregnancy center where she received a free ultrasound and information on her options, but what she really wanted to do was go to an abortion clinic instead. Now, she feels defrauded in some way because she assumes the words “choice” and “options” are trademarked euphemisms for abortion.
Here’s the answer to “What if.” If pregnancy centers are effective, the only loser is the abortion industry. That’s the only victim—Planned Parenthood and the abortion industrial complex. Not women, and certainly not the precious children these brave mothers choose to rescue every day through pro-life help.
To press the point, every time a woman visits or chooses life at a pregnancy center, that same pregnancy center is on the hook to raise more money to keep their doors open and help that mother who chose life. Since the lion’s share—90 percent overall—of pregnancy center funding comes from voluntary gifts within the community, it’s no small task to keep the lights on, let alone serve with excellence.
Suffice it to say, the reverse is true of the highly profitable abortion industry, where every “choice” for abortion represents income, and every choice against abortion takes away from the bottom line.
What to Really Beware Of
Compare Molly’s “horror story” of visiting a pro-life pregnancy center to that of Angi Stillwell. New to town in Miami, Angi was thrilled to find out she was pregnant, and assumed her boyfriend felt the same way.
It wasn’t until she was in the abortion clinic’s front room that Angi realized what was going on:
Maybe that’s why I didn’t understand what he meant when he told me he’d made an appointment at a doctor’s office. I assumed he was stepping up to the plate to support me, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
When we arrived for my appointment, I didn’t see any signs identifying a doctor’s office, and I started to feel a little uncomfortable. We walked up a flight of narrow and dimly lit stairs with stains on the carpet. I was scared. This didn’t look like a doctor’s office to me.
Once inside, I looked around to see several women in the waiting area, all with the same solemn, sad look on their faces. It felt like there was a heavy air of despair dominating that room. The lady at the check-in window casually pushed a clipboard with some papers on it towards me and told me to sign them.
I looked at the letterhead, and realized where I was. My boyfriend had brought me to an abortion clinic.
Even after she lost her composure and screamed at the receptionist and her boyfriend that she wanted out of the whole situation, the abortion clinic’s staff shuttled her back to one of their patient rooms. Unlike the pregnancy center in Molly’s story, the abortion clinic didn’t allow Angi to see her precious child on the ultrasound.
Unlike Molly’s visit to the pregnancy center, it was then and there that Angi had to make the life-and-death decision on behalf of her unborn child. Thankfully, she found the courage she needed to overcome, and fled to—of all places—a life-saving pregnancy center.
Today, Angi is a mother of seven, and she recalls that moment she chose life for her first daughter with the chilling realization: “I can’t believe how close we came to missing out on her.”
Settling the Big “What If”
What if pregnancy centers are as bad as Big Abortion says they are? The question itself is as far-fetched as they come, but the answer is clear: Big Abortion would still be the biggest (and only) loser.
Of course, here in the magical land of reality, the reason pregnancy centers are succeeding every day has everything to do with the truth. Because women deserve to know the truth, pregnancy centers—unlike their profit-driven counterparts—provide the facts about a baby’s development through tools like ultrasounds.
Because the truth is that every life matters, pregnancy centers offer each woman true choice, real options, so she can make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in her unexpected pregnancy.
And that reality, as women like Angi will tell you, is anything but hypothetical.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.