NARAL Attacks Women Help Centers

Following NARAL’’s how-to manual, “Unmasking Fake Clinics”, a serious assault has begun on pregnancy help centers in a number of locations around the United States.  This guidebook is very clear about the reason for these attacks. “Evidence of the strength of the CPC (Crisis Pregnancy Center) movement is drawn not only from their growing numbers, in connection with anti-choice organizations, but also from their enhanced credibility.”  It is clear that these women helping centers are “robbing customers” from abortion mills all across the United States.  In state after state we are hearing reports that the number of abortions has and continues to drop.  In some states the decrease is as high as 50%.

The pro-abortion industry has done its best to discredit what they call “fake clinics.”  To date their campaign has been strikingly unsuccessful.  During this time, the pregnancy help centers have grown in numbers and have grown in influence and sophistication.  A particularly good development, in the last few years, has been that many of these centers are turning themselves into full-service medical clinics.  The centers are acquiring ultrasound machines and the technicians to run them.  They are staffing them with, or becoming affiliated with, licensed medical personnel.   Their help for women is better known as a result of advertising more widely, in some cases on TV which has been very effective.

The pro-abortion industry and media have continued to paint the right to life movement as an isolated minority group, characterized by religious zealotry, violence etc.  Apparently, not much of this has rubbed off on the CPCs.  Their reputation has only grown more compassionate.  One recent thrust is the national push to publicize the slogan “Love Them Both.”  This has helped to counteract pro-abortion propaganda assaults.

New York – In January, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer declared open warfare against pregnancy help centers in his state.  While he has been known as a pro-abortion advocate, even speaking at NARAL’’s meetings, this attack can only be described as bigoted and vicious.  It took the form of subpoenas issued against a long list of pregnancy centers.  He accused them of practicing medicine without a license, and many other improbables.  His subpoenas demanded nearly every piece of printed paper that had passed through those centers in the last two decades.  It was quite obvious that his intention was to close them down if possible or bankrupt them.  Without question, another reason was to intimidate the thousands of sincere volunteers who operate these centers, in the hopes that they would withdraw out of fear of legal harassment, and leave the centers without staffing.

The Attorney General of South Carolina almost immediately issued a statement strongly criticizing Spitzer and accusing him of pro-abortion motivation without any substantive cause.  A national coalition of pregnancy help centers issued an open statement, condemning the attacks as unwarranted and as a thinly veiled attempt by the pro-abortion industry to eliminate “competition.”  Several major religious figures weighed in.  Then the heavyweight legal defense firm, The Christian Legal Society, entered the fray, as did the legal counsel of many of the centers themselves.

On February 14th, The American Center of Law and Justice filed a motion in the Supreme Court of New York to quash a subpoena issued to the Manhattan offices.

Two weeks after the centers initiated legal action against him, Eliot Spitzer announced an agreement with a center in Victor, New York.  With this he revoked the subpoenas issued to the other centers across the state.  In a clear retreat, he stated that the agreement he has reached will “clarify acceptable practices for the centers.”  Time will tell, but it seems that the agreement is modeled closely on consent degrees that had been mutually agreed upon after a similar assault on the Manhattan centers by previous Attorney Generals in 1987 and in 1995.  These will put quite a crimp on the centers, if in fact they are rigidly imposed.  They include informing women that the center does not perform abortions or refer for them.  In the event they are not staffed with medical personnel, the centers agreed to disclose verbally and in writing the fact that they are not a licensed medical center and not qualified to diagnose or date a pregnancy.  Also, the on-site pregnancy test would be done by the woman herself, not by the clinic personnel.  The last word has obviously not yet been spoken.

California – The strongly pro-abortion administration of the state of California has also been following NARAL’s how-to manual.  NARAL’s California state affiliate, CARAL, held “a special training session (February 27th) on unmasking fake clinics.”  Prior to the session, it had announced that it “will expose the hidden agenda and activities that take place behind the doors of CPCs…The session will equip you with the necessary information and training needed to take action against CPCs in your community.”

A reporter for World Net Daily registered for the conference and obtained an information packet, but was then identified and promptly escorted out of the meeting.  The papers obtained included a report discussing “the hidden threat to women’s health”…an “Action Kit Booklet”…a list of California CPCs, maps, a case study of a Rockville, Maryland CPC and a tip sheet for abortion activists on how to visit and obtain damning evidence against the centers.  Further information was entitled “The Myth of the Free Pregnancy Test, Anti-Abortion Propaganda, Scaring Teens Abstinent, and The Christian Right.”

The Action Kit described CPCs as “anti-choice, stealth organizations dedicated to keeping women from choosing safe legal abortions.”

In a section titled, “What You Can Do About CPCs”, it offered suggestions:

  • Help investigate CPCs in your community
  • Organize protests in front of CPCs
  • Pass out stickers and information in front, to warn people
  • Work with faith-based organizations and religious leaders to support comprehensive health care
  • Thank an abortion provider

When clandestinely visiting a CPC, NARAL suggests the person call for the appointment from a blocked number and “be ready to tell them when your period is due.  Be prepared with a story.”  It warns its investigators to be on the lookout for “a lot of talk about God, the physical dangers of abortion and the so-called post abortion syndrome.”  It gave questions and answers, instructed them to closely survey the center and bring that information back to a pro-abortion center.

CARAL (California Abortion Rights Action League) is attempting to paint CPCs as though they are part of a huge national conspiracy.  Most CPCs are telling their pro-life volunteers, if they are doing the job that they’’ve been trained to do, they have nothing to worry about.  The centers serve women and will continue to do so, including those who may come under false pretenses.

Aside from preparing for more direct assaults and continuing to do the good work that has so panicked the abortion industry, the pro-life California centers will be meeting to discuss this problem, and plan legal retaliation if necessary.  Dana Serrano, a pro-life director from San Diego said, “They haven’t picketed us since the 80’s, how desperate are they?  Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Planned Parenthood started the same thing, and out of that our centers grew stronger.  We’’ve had 20 years of growth, they’’ve had 20 years of decline.”  An attorney for the US Justice Foundation, Richard Ackerman, said, ““They ought to be ashamed of themselves, this is obviously a thinly veiled attempt to interfere with the right of a woman to seek counseling from an entity that thinks differently from CARAL.  They are attempting to fraudulently interfere with the business relationships of what they perceive to be competitors.  We will seriously consider a retaliation lawsuit.  This must come to a stop.””

All of the above adds up to good news and bad news.  The bad news of course is that we are being attacked.  The good news is that we are panicking the abortion industry.  They are becoming desperate and have launched these attacks out of an attempt to eliminate very effective “competition.”  More good news is that our side has quietly, persistently and lovingly established almost four thousand such centers across the United States, and an equal number proportionately in Canada.  These centers have saved hundreds of thousands of babies’ lives, and have prevented the untold psychic and physical damage that abortion reeks on its women victims.  Talk for them is cheap, but the actions of our pregnancy help centers speak louder than their words.  These compassionate care centers have proven their worth.  We’re sure they will tough it out and continue to save more and more babies as the years go on.

Life Issues Institute welcomes comments relevant to columns that are civil, concise, and respectful of other contributors. We do not publish comments with links to other websites or other online material.