Last month, 16 Democratic state attorneys general claiming that pro-life pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) are "misleading consumers and delaying access to critical, time-sensitive reproductive healthcare."
Signaling their intention to sue these centers, the attorneys general added that these centers "do not provide full-scope reproductive healthcare and often use deceptive tactics to lure in patients seeking reproductive healthcare," adding, "these tactics can have dire health consequences and rob patients of their healthcare choices."
These bombastic accusations are themselves misleading.
Democrats believe in a progressive society where the government and its allies work to lift people in marginalized communities—that is why we should be at the forefront of supporting PRCs.
In low-income areas throughout the nation, PRCs are often the only places where women can confirm their pregnancy and receive free help and education during it. While Planned Parenthood , crisis pregnancy centers by providing women free ultrasounds, cancer screenings, STI screenings, baby supplies, parental education, counseling, and referrals.
But what about the allegation that PRCs employ "deceptive tactics?"
While it is true that some PRCs are religiously affiliated, and some of their tactics may aim at persuasion, it is too sweeping a generalization to dismiss all PRCs as "deceptive." Many centers inform potential clients about the results of a pregnancy test, possible complications with the continuance of the pregnancy, and risks associated with terminating a pregnancy. Since decision-making in this aspect of health can be highly emotion-driven, providing comprehensive information, albeit from a pro-life standpoint, is hardly "deception." Rather, it offers patients an alternative perspective.
At this juncture, we must note that although they are pro-life, PRCs are not anti-choice. The American Pregnancy Association works hand in hand with PRCs. It is firmly , a term it has coined to highlight the need for women to have complete information, supportive counseling, and practical assistance in order to make an informed choice.
We also cannot overlook the fact that health care has multiple facets, and simply labeling a clinic "misleading" because it does not perform abortions is a disservice to the other valuable services it does provide, like accommodation assistance or parenting advice, to help pregnant women and young parents navigate their situation.
While the 16 attorneys general argued that PRCs set up shop in low-income areas to target and mislead vulnerable women, they, in reality, go to places where women need the most help. PRCs must comply with stringent state laws regarding advertising and disclosure of medical services. If a physician running a medical PRC violates these laws, their medical license is at risk of being revoked.
This brings us to the most incredulous claim in the letter: that PRCs are harmful to women's health.
The fundamental claim against PRCs in this regard essentially rests on their pro-life approach, and an assumption that crisis pregnancy centers should automatically align with the pro-choice perspective. But isn't the principle of choice, at its core, an acceptance of differing viewpoints?
The message these centers convey is not one of condemnation but one of love and acceptance. Women who choose to have an abortion are not looked upon with scorn or shame; they are embraced with open arms. These centers are safe havens where women can openly discuss their experiences and feelings without fear of being ostracized or stigmatized.
Furthermore, the post-abortive care provided by these centers can be a vital source of healing for women grappling with emotional turmoil following an abortion. Counseling services can help them process their sadness, confusion, or guilt. The intent is not to add to their burden but to help them continue leading fulfilling lives.
It is essential to set aside partisan banners and preconceived notions when discussing crisis pregnancy centers. Democrats are leaders in advocating for the rights of underprivileged individuals. We, therefore, should support pregnancy resource centers. They offer previously unexplored options for women who might otherwise feel forced to make decisions that go against their personal or moral values because they cannot see other alternatives. It is time we stop the politicization of PRCs and focus on the overall support and monumental care they provide to women in distress.