[guest post by Dana]
Sen. Elizabeth Warren made it very clear this week when speaking to reporters that she would prefer to see more abortions and fewer mothers receive help and support for themselves and their unborn babies:
“In Massachusetts right now, those crisis pregnancy centers that are there to fool people who are looking for pregnancy termination help outnumber true abortion clinics by 3 to 1. We need to shut them down here in Massachusetts, and we need to shut them down all around the country. You should not be able to torture a pregnant person like that.,”
What a dangerous and gross generalization Warren has made. The sneering hate in her voice is palpable. Why on earth would she want to shut down places that offer hope to women in need? That she does compels me to wonder why she is so anti-baby and anti-woman. Clearly, to Warren, some women are more equal than others, and are more deserving than others. Warren also very mistakenly assumes that every woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, wants an abortion. If that were true, there wouldn’t be any need for pregnancy crisis centers and a quick Google search for “pregnancy crisis centers” wouldn’t turn up 71,000,000 results. I would like to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she is speaking from ignorance, but I can’t because I believe that her lies are the result of a grossly cynical political calculation. And I wonder: How does one take seriously an elected official who thunders that it is the crisis pregnancy centers that are “torturing” women and not abortion centers where vacuuming out a womb or scraping the uterus to extract a baby and placenta is all in a day’s work?
With that, your intrepid reporter took some time this morning to contact several crisis pregnancy centers throughout Massachusetts and California in order to talk to directors, staffers and volunteers about where Warren is wrong. I also inquired about the standard approach toward the women who walk through their doors or call on the phone, the options their centers provide, and their mission. Long story short: They all lay waste to Warren’s lies. What follows is an overall summary of what the various centers had to say. They operate in similar manner, thus their responses closely lined up with other centers, save for a few details. For privacy reasons, and not wishing to put any centers in jeopardy, I am not including individual names or specific locations of the centers.
My first question to each center was: What happens when a woman walks in your front door?
The centers greet them, and then provide them with a statement that spells out who they are, what their center does, and what they can provide for the women who need help through an unexpected pregnancy.
They make it very clear from the get-go that they are pregnancy centers, and not medical facilities. Women are informed up front that the centers do not perform abortions, nor refer out for abortions.
At that point, the woman makes her own decision about whether to stay and meet with a counselor, or leave the center. Any discussion at this point is permission-based: the woman coming through the door decides on how far she wants to go or if she wants to leave. There is no strong-arming, no effort to persuade them to stay, no manipulation. The woman decides. Period. The centers I spoke to stressed that they are completely transparent about the nature of their centers and that it is the woman coming through the door (or calling on the phone) that leads the conversation and makes her own decision. They reiterated that they intentionally want the woman to control the situation. They are not in the business of selling anything. [Ed. When I pointed out to one director that the pro-abortion camp would point the finger and say that women who make the decision to meet with a counselor are emotionally vulnerable, she agreed. But she also pointed out that if they had chosen to go to Planned Parenthood instead, they would be just as emotionally vulnerable.]
While some centers are part of a chain (for lack of a better word), centers generally provide at least some, if not all of the following: ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, counseling, and options for the woman who chooses to go through with her pregnancy. When asked about the options provided, one center director ticked off their list: counseling, pre-natal classes, parenting classes, father mentoring programs, new mother groups, and care and support from pregnancy to birth and after, and/or to adoption. Other centers offered very similar options as well including specific focus on teen dads via mentoring programs. When I asked if they help women who need financial support or housing, I was told by a director that they will help women fill out the necessary paperwork for city agencies that can provide housing resources and financial help. Also, employees and volunteers frequently choose to use their own personal resources to help in those areas as well. Centers also provide clothing, diapers, and formula, pre-natal vitamins, and maternity clothes. They stressed that they don’t just abandon these women and leave them to figure it out on their own after the baby arrives. Another center said that if a woman opts to have her baby, the center forms a relationship with that woman, and it continues well beyond birth. If there are financial, housing, support or medical insurance needs, they come alongside that mother to help in any way they can. One center has even paid patient parking tickets. Mommy-and-Me classes, luncheons, support groups, etc. seem to be a common offering. Some centers even match up the pregnant women with mother mentors who will be with them throughout the pregnancy and beyond. In other words, none that I spoke with simply abandon the mother after she gives birth. Their commitment to the woman (and baby) goes far beyond that moment.
When I asked if they brought up God in an effort to guilt or pressure a woman to keep her baby, one staffer said that using God (or anything else) to manipulate women is not what they’re about. Full stop.
Each center prioritizes transparency from the minute they are contacted by a woman who thinks she might be pregnant or knows she is pregnant. They also reiterated that they want a woman to make her own decisions, and not make them for her. They said that some women decide they want an abortion and leave their centers, and some women decide that they want to talk, and stay. Contrary to Warren’s generalization and lie, the centers I spoke with are not “there to fool people who are looking for pregnancy termination help”. If they choose an abortion, it’s their decision. If they choose to go through with the pregnancy, it’s their decision.
It’s stunning that Warren would want to shut down any place that is there to give women hope and the opportunity to make their own decisions about their future. One staffer said that she wished that Warren would just stop for a minute and actually think about the fact that she too was once an unborn woman. One center director said that she wished Elizabeth Warren understood that not every woman who seeks out an abortion actually wants one. They are in crisis and may just need to know that they aren’t alone and that they are valued. Moreover, she said that Elizabeth Warren isn’t looking out for any individual but rather the agenda she’s pushing, otherwise, Planned Parenthood wouldn’t be closing. Yet another one said: “I would love for Ms. Warren to visit our center. I would invite her to come and actually see firsthand what we do because it’s simply not what she thinks it is.” Of course, Elizabeth Warren would never accept such an invitation because the fact of the matter is, truth and transparency are the last things she’s interested in.