Unmasking Fake Clinics
Andrea King Assistant Director, Office for Family Life In an attempt to undermine the meritorious acts of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) nationwide, NARAL - the National Association of Reproductive Rights Action League - unveiled their latest strategy in subverting the efforts of CPCs. The sixty-one page step-by-step guide entitled "UNMASKING Fake Clinics," provides an overview of the "deceptive practices" occurring within CPCs and offers detailed steps toward rallying support, recruiting volunteers and spreading the pro-choice message to ratify the "injustices" against women. From the viewpoint of NARAL, CPCs are now deemed synonymous with "Fake Clinics." The running list of false claims NARAL holds against CPCs - "the provider arms of the anti-choice movement" - includes "luring women to facilities under false pretenses, depriving them of accurate information needed to make a fully informed choice, and using fear tactics to dissuade them from choosing legal abortion." Do their claims carry any clout? Let's see for ourselves! The sole mission, purpose and goal of CPCs are to provide pregnant women in need with the care and support necessary to enable them to give the gift of life to their children. Yet, NARAL accuses the CPCs of "endangering women for decades." In reality, most women's lives are not at risk by carrying a pregnancy to term. Pregnancy is not a disease. The "cure" for women in a crisis pregnancy is not a mirage of "reproductive" options or choices. Comprehensive "reproductive options" truly endanger women's lives - from the subtle abortifacient capacities of the Pill, Norplant, Depoprovera, and emergency contraceptives, to the blatant abortifacient mechanisms of RU486. The real "cure" is offering women reliable information and viable alternatives that provide the material and emotional support critical throughout their pregnancies. Although CPCs afford women viable options that ensure the health of the mother and her child, NARAL charges them with "misinforming, misleading and coercing women." "Choice," from the "pro-choice" perspective, is exclusive. It is limited to those "choices" that enable women to eliminate and destroy the lives of their children. Oftentimes this "choice" not only comes at the expense of the life of the unborn child, but also at the price of the mother's own health - sadly, even the loss of her own life in some cases. As a result, CPCs that advertise realistic alternatives to abortion under the name of "choice" are being charged with "using misleading information by choosing names and locations similar to abortion clinics to hide their true propaganda." Deception?...far from it! Unmasking the "deception" that lies within CPCs, NARAL is crediting itself with advancing women's "reproductive freedom." "Many reproductive choice milestones have come from activists who have identified a threat to women's reproductive freedom, documented the threat, and brought their case to the courts," (17). If NARAL is labeling its practice of undermining the commendable services of CPCs as an advancement for women's "reproductive freedom," what is their definition of "reproductive freedom" in the first place? From NARAL's viewpoint, "reproductive freedom" is freedom from the suppression fertility places on our lives. Fertility is not recognized as a gift intrinsic to our human nature, but rather as a "disease" that restricts our freedom and hampers our expression of sexuality. The gift of fertility demands responsibility that opens man to the possibility of bearing the fruit of a new human life. Through the eyes of NARAL and
their allies within the pro-choice movement, this possibility destroys our freedom. Consequently, "reproductive freedom" is valued as freeing women from the consequences fertility places on their sexual encounters and for destroying the fruit of their fertility. Unfortunately, NARAL's agenda does not stop here. NARAL is attacking CPCs that provide community or school-based "abstinenceonly" education. They recognize contraception and abortion (in cases of contraceptive failure) as the sole solution to the rising epidemic of teen pregnancy. In light of their philosophy, children - like adults - can not exert self-control when it comes to sexual expression. They believe that youth are going to have sex even when they are provided with solid abstinence and chastity education. Since NARAL has warranted abstinenceonly sex education as ineffective, they have also introduced a "Step-by -Step Guide: Achieving Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Your Community's Schools." This program thwarts the efforts of CPCs that promote abstinence-only education both within their centers and within the schools. NARAL's step-by-step guide encourages letterwriting campaigns to school boards requesting that they suspend CPCs -sponsored abstinence-only programs in their schools. In addition, they provide tactics to cut off federal and state grants, which they believe "promote a false and misleading abstinenceonly agenda." Despite NARAL's detailed plans of attack on CPCs and public education, the good news is that CPCs far outnumber abortion providers nationwide. NARAL's statistics cite that there are over 3000 CPCs across the country (up from 2000 in the early 1990s) and only approximately 2000 abortion providers. In a few states, there are three times as many CPCs as abortion providers. As NARAL garners support in its aggressive campaign to overturn these odds, we must remain rooted in our principles - continuing to help more and more women and their children through the work of CPCs and their promotion of abstinence-only sex education.