Pregnancy center director describes increased violence, dispels ‘fake clinics’ narrative

By Bridget Sielicki

Lawmakers held a hearing Tuesday regarding the Department of Justice’s targeting of pro-life activists through the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The hearing also touched on the increased violence sustained by pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, as well as the smear campaign launched against these centers.

As Live Action News has reported, PRCs across the country faced a wave of violent attacks following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, at the same time that multiple states and lawmakers took aim at these organizations, which provide countless services to women and families.

Testifying during the hearing was Tami Kocher, executive director of New Life Family Services in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She began by detailing that her organization’s five centers serve more than 6,000 people each year. Yet, she notes, “In New Life’s 50-year history, we have never experienced the types of attacks as we have this past year. Since the Dobbs decision, there have been numerous false narratives and outright lies told about the work of pregnancy centers.”

She said that in August 2022, state AG Keith Ellison issued a misleading consumer alert warning residents against PRCs like hers, using “the same false narratives perpetuated by abortion activists. Words are powerful, especially when spoken by people in position of authority, and when those in authority regurgitate the false narratives, it can have devastating consequences for organizations like ours, and it has.”

She then noted several acts of vandalism that occurred at her centers, including at a brand new building that had multiple windows smashed and threatening graffiti messages causing more than $30,000 worth of damage.

“While these attacks are meant to intimidate and hurt us, the people who are ultimately hurt are our clients, single moms, families who are struggling to make ends meet, and young women who are being pressured into an abortion. They are the real victims here.”

She continued, “The truth is, not every woman facing an unplanned pregnancy wants an abortion. Many of the women we serve want to continue their pregnancy but lack the support and practical resources needed to do so. Without pregnancy centers and the important work that we do every day, the three million women who experience an unintended pregnancy each year will be left with fewer options and fewer resources.”

“Whatever you believe about abortion, we should agree that nonprofit organizations like ours that contribute millions of dollars in free services to women, children, and families and their communities should not be the target of vandalism and terrorism. The people we serve should not feel threatened simply for walking through our doors. When pregnancy centers aren’t safe, our patients aren’t safe.”

Kocher was then asked to respond to a National Abortion Federation report that labels PRCs as “fake clinics that use deceptive practices to dissuade people from seeking abortions.”

“That’s ridiculous, we do not lie to women,” Coker said. “We are very clear about the services we provide and what we don’t provide.” She explained that they have licensed registered nurses on staff as well as social workers, and are also a licensed adoption agency.

“I think it’s very ironic that we are called fake clinics when the abortion clinics in our area do not believe that. We receive referrals from abortion clinics in our area for health services. They refer their patients to us,” she said. “Why would they do that if we were truly a fake clinic?”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.