Pregnancy Centers Fighting Back Against National Pro-Abortion Attacks
by Peggy Hartshorn
June 2, 2010
LifeNews.com Note: Peggy Hartshorn is the president of Heartbeat International, a worldwide network of over 1,100 pregnancy resource centers. This column originally appeared at the St. Michael Society.
Attacks against pregnancy help centers have been occurring since the 1980s, led by NARAL, the leading pro-abortion political force and ally of Planned Parenthood. In fact, for years, the pregnancy help movement has been brushing away the slander attacks like we fan away returning swarms of hornets.
But, at the same time, we have been developing a much stronger network of centers and friends and we are now ready to fight back and even take the sting out of the pests! A good offense often makes for a great defense, and this one provides us all a few positive things to do.
NARALs strategy is outlined in womensenews.org (12-2-09), a feminist newsletter. First, publish studies that show that centers mislead women. Second, identify sympathetic lawmakers who will pass legislation restricting the free speech of pregnancy help centers in order to close them down. No matter that the studies rely on evidence gathered only by NARAL members who act as fake clients and try to trip up the centers they visit.
This is proving embarrassing for NARAL, however. When such a study was brought into hearings on a law to muzzle centers in Virginia, the expert witness for NARAL was forced to admit that their study contained methodological flaws!"
In hearings on a similar bill in Washington state, four of the six women who testified against our centers, upon close questioning by lawmakers, had to sheepishly admit that they were employed by either NARAL or Planned Parenthood! So, who is misleading whom?
Like a nightmarish game of whack a mole these attacks keep popping up. In three places now, restrictions on center advertising have been rushed into place: Austin, Baltimore, and Montgomery County, Maryland. In case you missed it, two small pregnancy help centers in these targeted areas are suing to have the reputations of all our centers cleared!
The Washington Post and Washington Times recently covered one of the lawsuits, just filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, close to Washington, D.C., by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of a small Spanish language center, Centro Tepeyac. The other suit has been filed by the Archdiocese of Baltimore on behalf of Baltimores Center for Pregnancy Concerns. Yeah! We are not sitting still in this attempt at strangulation through regulation.
What do these proposed laws have in common? They all restrict the freedom of speech of our centers by requiring them to advertise what they do NOT provide. They must post disclaimers on their doors indicating that they do not provide or refer for contraceptives or abortions. One law even requires the size of the sign and that it be in English and Spanish.
Another needs to say Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider. All define fines to be levied if the required advertising is not prominently displayed. Some have suggested common ground: we will comply if Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics will post signs saying, We do not provide professional counseling or after-care, medical or emotional. Once we kill your child, we don’t know your name.
Why are the hornets attacking more furiously now than ever before? Over 2,000 plus pregnancy help centers and pregnancy help medical clinics and maternity homes means several thousand women every week no longer turn to abortion because they feel they have no choice.
The pregnancy help movement, fueled by Christian charity and equipped by the leadership training and support of Heartbeat International and our partners, and providing ultrasound proof of the humanity of the preborn, is lowering abortion sales and tilting the culture toward life. Therefore, in the eyes of NARAL and Planned Parenthood, we are now a threat. We must be stopped. (For the Family Research Councils excellent report on the effectiveness of pregnancy centers and our contribution to maternal and child health in the USA, see www.heartbeatinternantional.org/apassiontoserve.)
You would think that before accusing our centers of deceiving and damaging women, NARAL would collect some real evidence, say, a few hundred affidavits from among the hundreds of thousands of women served over the past 40 years in the thousands of pregnancy help ministries across the land.
If NARAL accusations were true, then there must be tens of thousands of women willing to testify that they went to pregnancy help centers and were damaged by the caring volunteers who gave them free pregnancy tests, or the nurses who provided them with ultrasounds and confirmed the presence of their own babies, alive and beautiful in their own bodies., Truth is, it is impossible to find mothers who will testify, I came to this pregnancy help center and they deceived me into having this beautiful baby! My life is ruined!
We have one powerful, slander-busting weapon that abortion advocates do not have precious BABIES with happy Mothers! NARALs regulatory proposals are self-serving and insulting to women, who are fully able to determine who they seek help from and decide if it is offered in good faith. Using the powerful testimonies of our mothers and their babies, we intend to fight back. We welcome your help and participation in defending and commending the pregnancy help movement.
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