Monday, April 11, 2005

Funding of "Crisis Pregnancy Centers"

After spending too many hours reviewing data listings that left me thinking that 24 was pretty old to have a baby (way too many of the mom's whose data I reviewed were 13-19, and it was at least the second pregnancy for quite a few of them) & getting lost taking a new "short-cut" that added 30 minutes to my commute home, I came across this on the Bush v Choice blog.

According to the linked article , anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" in Minnesota stand to gain approximately $2.5 M in state funding to continue their work. It goes on to say that there are about 100 centers of this type across Minnesota providing a range of services that (according to supporters) include maternity clothes, infant formula and even rent money. The quality of services & accuracy of information provided vary between all the centers, as does the level of evangelizing in pregnancy counseling. According to Anne Halverson, a woman who was an unwitting patient at one fo these centers when she was 19:

"I believed that they would be honest and supportive of my situation," said Halverson, who has a 1-year-old son. Instead, a counselor "asked me why on Earth I wouldn't have this baby, as if keeping the baby was a consequence for my 'irresponsible' behavior. She made it seem that having this baby was the only way for me to rectify a bad situation."

Just out of curiosity, I checked out the web-site for the Total Life Care center referenced in the article and even did an online yellow page search for pregnancy to see how the center advertises. I have no idea how accurate the medical information the centers provide is or the degree of "pro-life" religious propaganda they throw at patients, but it appears as though anyone who checks them out prior to a visit should be completely aware of the type of center they are and the types of services they would (or would not) provide. Whether other abortion alternative providers are as open about their philosophy is another question altogether.

In order to receive government funding, a facility that provides abortion services must supply full options counseling that includes services the center itself does not provide (and, generally, referrals to those who do provide those services). It does not appear as though abortion-alternative centers are or will be held to the same standard.

Now, I have no problem with abortion-alternative clinics receiving an equal share of government funding provided:
  1. they do not engage in the old bait & switch in order to harass/intentionally mislead patients that are unaware of their abortion is evil philosophy
  2. they are required to limit any discussion of abortion to stating it is a procedure they do not perform or provide referrals for
  3. they are required to provide medically accurate information (not biased propaganda)
  4. they are held accountable to the same degree as any other clinic the provides healthcare and/or counseling services
If these centers are so proud of the moral high ground on which they stake a claim, they should be proud to be open an honest about their mission and philosophy. They should also be comfortable with beliefs that they do not resort to chastising/intimidating or harassing patients whose actions/decisions they do not support.

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