Methodist Women’s Group Attacks Pregnancy Centers Offering Women Abortion Alternatives

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 22, 2016   |   11:56AM   |   Washington, DC

It’s interesting to see groups that describe themselves as “pro-choice” attack organizations that offer pregnant women choices that don’t involve abortion.

Planned Parenthood and NARAL, two of the largest abortion advocacy groups in the United States, have a history of fighting pro-life pregnancy centers that offer women and their babies life-affirming choices and support.

But the latest group to launch a similar attack is a west coast United Methodist group.

The Western Methodist Justice Movement recently urged its members to “put CPCs [Crisis Pregnancy Centers] on the defense” by supporting a California law that forces pregnancy centers to promote abortion, according to Juicy Ecumenicism, a blog of The Institute on Religion & Democracy.

In its December newsletter, WMJM asked its members to attend a Los Angeles City Council hearing and tell the council to hold the pro-life organizations accountable to the onerous new law. WMJM is an unofficial caucus group of the United Methodist Church.

The law, backed by NARAL, took effect in December 2015, forcing more than 150 pro-life non-profits to choose between advertising free and low-cost abortions or facing fines of up to $1,000 per day if they fail to comply.

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The new law forces pregnancy clinics to inform women and girls that California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost abortions for eligible women. These faith-based medical centers also must tell their client to contact the county social services office to see if she qualifies for the free or cheap abortions.

California pregnancy centers are seeking relief through lawsuits, but none has come thus far. In December 2015, two judges refused to temporarily block the law from taking effect, LifeNews reported.

The upcoming Los Angeles City Council meeting on Jan. 23 will address enforcement of the law. The United Methodist group is encouraging people to attend. WMJM said it will have talking points available to people who want to speak up against the pregnancy centers – which it describes as “anti-choice.”

“The city needs to take the next steps by investigating these false advertising practices and holding CPCs accountable for lying to women,” the group said in its December newsletter. “This would be a groundbreaking effort to put CPCs on the defense and protect consumers from their devious approach.”

Here’s more from the institute’s blog:

The WMJM accuses CPCs of a “devious approach” and hopes Los Angeles will take steps “to hold CPCs accountable for lying to women,” but the newsletter fails to outline exactly what they believe to be “false advertising.” However, NARAL Pro-Choice California State Director Amy Everitt alleges in a statement that “CPCs target women seeking abortion care with false advertising that misleads women into thinking they are comprehensive women’s health facilities.”

As anyone actually familiar with the compassionate, life-saving work of CPCs can tell you, the non-profit pregnancy resource centers prioritize providing accurate information to women about their options during unexpected pregnancies and typically list out all the services offered, including referrals for medical aid. The Capitol Hill Crisis Pregnancy Center in Washington, DC, for example, offers services to women including free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, confidential counseling, parenting classes, maternity and baby clothing and supplies, post-abortion peer support, Bible studies, and medical, legal, adoption, and housing referrals. All of these services are free of charge.

As an unofficial caucus group, the WMJM is not the church nor is it an official body within the UMC.

Nationally, the United Methodist Church has been moving in the opposite direction and breaking ties with abortion advocacy groups. In May, the UMC General Conference voted to withdraw its boards and agencies from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an abortion advocacy group.