Pregnancy centers have earned an unfair, ugly reputation among members of the media. Many major news outlets have chosen to label these centers as deceptive. Learning about pregnancy centers through a variety of unnamed sources, journalists claim that they spread misinformation and provide unwanted advice. Painted as cruel and manipulative, those not familiar with pregnancy centers might envision a villainous organization.
The Huffington Post describes pregnancy centers as, “faith-based, anti-choice organizations that masquerade as medical facilities in order to trick people who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies. West Virginia is burdened with 34 of these fake clinics.” Meanwhile, Allure magazine wrote, “But these centers also resort to manipulation or even outright deception to prevent people from accessing abortion care, obscuring their religious affiliation, spreading health misinformation, and failing to inform clients of the full range of reproductive options available to them.”
Understanding that these claims can influence opinions of pregnancy care centers, WELS Lutherans for Life wanted to take the opportunity to respond. Listed below are three common myths associated with pregnancy care centers and the truth about each of them.
Myth One: Pregnancy Centers Are Unauthorized to Provide Medical Care
Women who visit pregnancy centers are offered a variety of services. These may include pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, medical referrals, post-abortion support, parenting classes, and material assistance. Clients receive these services for free, and their privacy is protected according to regulations set forth by HIPPA. Those performing medical services are trained professionals, and centers operate under the medical license of a practicing physician, who oversees the medical care being provided.
Myth Two: Pregnancy Centers Lie to Women About Abortion
Advocates talk with the clients, learn more about their story, and review their options. Information on pregnancy and abortion is provided. The material is medically and scientifically accurate and is designed to be educational. Pregnancy centers do not refer clients to abortion clinics, but they do provide information on the procedure. They review the abortion process for each trimester and discuss what to expect during an appointment. Just because these centers do not give abortion referrals does not mean they lie to women. Clients are fully aware of their right to abortion via the supreme court decision in Roe V. Wade and can locate an abortion provider by performing a simple Google search. Pregnancy centers present clients with information regarding all of their options and then allow clients to make an informed decision.
Myth Three: Pregnancy Centers Deceive Women Regarding the Impact of Abortion
The physical and emotional impact of abortion has been debated between pro-life and pro-choice groups for decades. Pro-life groups have provided examples of women who have experienced physical side effects and emotional stress following an abortion, and pro-choice groups have said these situations have been dramatized. The trouble with the latter statement is that they cannot, as they claim, disprove every woman’s experience. Even if only one woman admitted to experiencing mental duress or physical pain, there would still be a reason to discuss the possible implications of having an abortion. Given that many pregnancy centers provide post-abortion support, they have seen the impact it has on women and they share these experiences with their clients. When pregnancy centers discuss these situations, they are not implying that everyone will have the same experience, they are simply informing clients of the risks involved.
These myths, which the media perpetuates, are not only inaccurate; they are harmful to women seeking help. Pregnancy care centers, like the one operated by WELS Lutherans for Life, provide women with free and confidential care. They offer accurate information and support through the decision-making process. By blacklisting these centers, the media is limiting the options for women facing unplanned pregnancies and discouraging them from seeking compassionate care.
While it is unlikely that the media will stop making these attacks, there is hope that women will see beyond these unfounded, scathing claims. Pregnancy centers have grown rapidly and they now outnumber abortion clinics in the United States by a 3 to 1 ratio. Client satisfaction among these clinics is tremendously high and client reviews are consistently positive. Between Care Net and Heartbeat International (the leading affiliate organizations for pregnancy centers), over two million families are served on an annual basis. These pregnancy centers are thriving. So, let the media say what they will, because they cannot stop these organizations from empowering women.
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