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The Beginning of Pro-Life Pregnancy Center Bans
Brooke A. Karmie | 23 June 2022
Amidst a divisive time in our nation one of the “hot button” issues remains to be the abortion debate in which most people either label themselves “Pro-Life” or “Pro-Choice.”
However, it seems more blatantly obvious that many of those who define themselves as “Pro-Choice,” really are not advocating for choice at all, but are advocating only for abortion. In fact, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “pro-choice” as “favoring or advocating for the legalization of abortion,” and makes no mention of any other option or indication of a “choice.” This has become increasingly apparent from the constant attacks on crisis pregnancy centers, who exist to serve women and families with a multitude of free resources and help to guide them on making informed pregnancy decisions.
So-called “Pro-Choice” activists over the years have launch smear campaigns and even vandalized pregnancy resource centers on innumerable occasions. Various organizations and marketing campaigns have been launched with the sole intention of harming, discrediting, and even closing crisis pregnancy centers.
The first plan of attack came in the form of false marketing campaigns against crisis pregnancy centers. Abortion providers and advocates like Planned Parenthood, Abortion Access Fund, and various others have banned together to launch initiatives like “ExposeFakeClinics,” which is a massive campaign with the goal in their own words, “to tell the truth about manipulative, fake reproductive health centers.” They essentially launched a smear campaign claiming that pro-life crisis pregnancy centers are “fake-clinics,” to deter abortion-vulnerable women from seeking out care through misinformation and manipulation.
The second form of attack on pregnancy centers has come in the form of physical acts. In recent weeks in light of the recent Supreme Court leak regarding Roe vs. Wade, pro-choice activists have even taken to the streets and launched campaigns threatening pregnancy centers with violent campaigns stating open threats like, “If abortions aren’t safe, you aren’t either.” While these attacks are not new, they have been severely heightened by the legal attention of abortion right now.
We have seen an alarming rise of vandalism and acts of aggression and violence on pregnancy resource centers. Just in the last month, we have seen reported attacks in North Carolina, Washington D.C., Washington state, Maryland, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Texas.
Since national smear campaigns, and physical violence has not halted the impact of pro-life pregnancy resource centers on saving lives and providing women with other life-saving options to abortion, there is also another, sometimes even more detrimental attack on these centers. This attack comes from the usage of the legal system.
Pregnancy resource centers (that do not refer for abortions) are in great danger, especially in states with heavily pro-choice government officials, from being hit with burdensome regulatory attacks even to the point of shutting them down completely. We have seen this drastic measure recently in Sommerville, Massachusetts.
On March 24th a small central Massachusetts city, Somerville unanimously passed a city ordinance completely banning pregnancy resource centers from operating.
Pregnancy resource centers have existed for decades to serve women and men with free resources, support, education, and guidance, especially in unplanned situations. In 1973, the Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton Supreme Court decisions effectively legalized abortion in the United States. As a result of legalized abortion, pregnancy resource centers expanded to provide confidential support and resources, and to educate women and men facing unplanned and often crisis pregnancy situations on the options they have regarding pregnancy and parenting, so they could make a truly informed decision on a life-changing matter.
However, Somerville City Councilor-at-Large Kristen Strezo, an advocate of the banning of pregnancy resource centers, accused pregnancy resource centers of promulgating “deceptive and misleading and manipulative language,” and criticized pregnancy resource centers for not encouraging women to abort their babies and for not referring women to abortion businesses.
These were the grounds on which she proposed an ordinance to completely ban these centers from operating in Sommerville.
City Councilwoman Strezo further stated in her support of this law that, “Crisis pregnancy centers quite frankly should not exist — we need real resources for pregnant patients who decide, with full information and informed consent, to continue their pregnancies, but those resources should be easily accessible, without shame or stigma, and [with] no strings attached.”
The advocates of this ordinance state their optimism that it will send a message across the nation to empower other abortion activism and those in appointed positions to follow suit in laws banning pregnancy resource centers.
Advocating on behalf of ordinances, bills, or any legal action that hinder or completely prevent the operations of pregnancy centers is a direct attack on women and men in crisis pregnancy situations. While abortion activists and lawmakers such as Councilor Kristen Strezo claim to advocate for choice, what they are really advocating for is the demise of a national collection of around 2,700 crisis pregnancy centers who in 2019 served almost two million people, at an estimated value of nearly $270 million. They are advocating for the removal of access to 732,000 free pregnancy tests, 486,000 free ultrasounds, 160,200 free STI/STD tests, and the provision of millions of free baby and maternity items that are all annually provided by the network of crisis pregnancy centers in the United States.
As a current director of a crisis pregnancy center, I fear we will continue to see attacks on pregnancy centers in each of these forms and that in the coming months and years there will be a movement of legal restrictions and burdens places on pro-life pregnancy centers.
The city ordinance recently passed in Somerville, even if it does not stand, has laid the framework for many cities with pro-abortion leaders to implement in their cities as well.
Brooke A. Karmie
Cleveland Pregnancy Center