Analysis

Debunking NARAL’s lies about crisis pregnancy centers: Part three

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We’ve been dealing with a downpour of lies from NARAL this week, but the end is finally in sight.  Here it is, the third and final chapter in which we destroy the rest of their malicious attack on crisis pregnancy centers.

Sin #10: CPCs underhandedly try to get women to delay their decision until they’ve missed the legal window for abortion.

NARAL condemns anonymous CPC volunteers in New York and Maryland for “falsely” telling women they had a lot of time to think about abortion because it’s legal throughout all nine months, when in reality laws generally put the cutoff at viability or earlier. What NARAL doesn’t mention: under current controlling judicial precedent, late-term bans must still allow a health exception so broad as to be effectively meaningless. The CPCs’ (alleged) advice is correct. 

Sin #11: CPCs “lie to women about the likelihood of miscarriage.”

[A] volunteer at a Maryland CPC advised that “30% of women naturally miscarry, so there was no point in rushing to get an abortion.” That is blatantly false. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists puts the actual number at half that, with about 15% of known pregnancies ending in miscarriage.

Actually, a 2005 Washington Post piece by biomedical journalist Jon Cohen argues that miscarriage is woefully under-studied, with the 15% number an underestimate that “refers only to ‘clinical’ pregnancies — those confirmed by a pregnancy test at a doctor’s office.” He instead takes as “authoritative” a New England Journal of Medicine study from the ’80s that puts the number at—guess what?—31%.

So the Maryland CPC neither pulled the number out of a hat nor got it from some right-winger cooking the books. There are substantive, nonpartisan reasons from respected mainstream sources behind it. Whoever is ultimately correct, one thing is certain: Cohen’s examination of the evidence shows far more of a genuine desire to learn the truth than NARAL’s.

Investigators in Massachusetts were told, “just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you’ll stay pregnant,” and that “the good news” about a positive pregnancy test is that the miscarriage rate is so high. One CPC said that “50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.”

Here, NARAL seems to be employing a bit of misdirection. While it’s true that miscarriage among known pregnancies is much lower, 50% is indeed the rate of spontaneous abortion before women know they’re pregnant. Factor in the fact that pro-aborts define pregnancy differently than how most OB/GYNs do, and the volunteer’s statement is entirely true.

Sin #12: CPCs “emotionally manipulate” by describing abortion candidly.

Documented throughout many investigations, CPC staffers intentionally refer to the fetus as a “baby” and the woman as a “mom.” They use plastic fetal models (often labeled inaccurately) or videos to show development, and refer to abortion as “murder” or “killing.”

An investigator in Montana reported, “I felt unprepared for the graphic nature of the video which demonstrated in detail a doctor performing an abortion. It only showed the procedure, not the woman. The movie focuses on showing fingers, toes, arms, and assembling them together at the end while playing horror movie-type music. It was then explained to me by the volunteers that there were entire [jobs] dedicated to assembling and gathering [body] parts in order to not miss any.”

According to (again) themselves, the only “inaccuracy” they specify is that fetal models have faces as early as seven weeks. We don’t know what the allegedly misleading model really looked like, but we do know that faces do take shape at this point. According to Mayo Clinic, “your baby’s brain and face are rapidly developing. Tiny nostrils become visible, and the eye lenses begin to form.”

The rest NARAL doesn’t even try to challenge, because it’s all true. The science is settled, and the plain meanings of babymotherkill, and murder are what they are regardless of pro-aborts’ unease with the truth, as is the macabre practice that pro-aborts euphemistically whitewash as “evaluation of evacuated uterine contents.”

Sin #13: CPCs are morally judgmental.

Another investigator in North Carolina who posed as a pregnant Jewish woman was given a Bible and told by volunteers at five different CPCs that she would not go to heaven unless she became a Christian. 

Again, you’ll just have to take NARAL’s word for it that this actually happened. No names, no locations, no corroboration. Yes, if it’s true it’s shameful, but something so over the top happening to the same person on five separate occasions? Not likely.

At a CPC in Brooklyn, N.Y., a pamphlet declared that “the condom’s biggest flaw is that those using it to prevent the conception of another human being are offending God.”

At least this time they give us something to verify. The quote comes from American Life League’s “The Flawed Condom” pamphlet, which was found at EMC Pregnancy Center in Brooklyn. Yes, how dare a Catholic organization offer informational materials articulating Catholic beliefs! That’s the whole complaint—that the pamphlet was there, not that it was used to browbeat anyone in any way. Yes, women in crisis pregnancies need to be met with understanding focused on their needs, not a lecture, but nor are they so fragile that they’d be traumatized just by being in the same room as traditional sexual views. Man, NARAL seems to have a really low view of women’s abilities…

Sin #14: CPCs are “presenting themselves to clients as authentic medical clinics even though they are not.”

Investigators reported that many CPCs are staffed by volunteers who wear white lab coats, require forms to be filled out, and have replicated the look and feel of a typical medical office […] Most CPCs are not licensed and operate without regulation or oversight, even though they are providing so-called “counseling” for women about pregnancy options, because they are not legitimate reproductive-health clinics. 

It’s doubtful the average visitor to a non-medical CPC would be so easily confused about its “look and feel,” but something more sinister than confusion is behind NARAL’s exaggeration of how many aren’t actual medical establishments. Heartbeat International Vice President Jor-El Godsey notes that NARAL has tacitly admitted they don’t really care what the truth is:

In the words of the NARAL attorney “…It does not matter if [crisis pregnancy centers] hire doctors or house state-of-the-art equipment: they are still manipulating women with lies and misleading information.” This supports our long held understanding that no amount of “medicalization” will steer them from their attack. NARAL defiantly admit that medical services “conveys a seal of approval that we never want to be complicit in allowing [crisis pregnancy centers] to claim.” (Emphasis added.)

Sin #15: Non-medical CPCs carry out medical procedures.

These clinics have clients read their own pregnancy tests (the same ones sold in drugstores) so they’re not technically providing medical services. In California, two investigators were alarmed when a CPC insisted that the potentially pregnant patient self-administer her urine test. Because the test never leaves the hands of the patient, the CPC only, appears to provide medical advice, stopping just short of actually practicing medicine without a license. 

Apparently NARAL has graduated from thinking pregnant women are stupid to hoping its readers are, because it just refuted its own complaint. “The same” pregnancy tests “sold in drugstores”—the whole point of which is that you don’t need a license to use it!

They provide free ultrasounds but do not disclose that the ultrasounds they offer are non-diagnostic and limited in scope. CPC workers who read ultrasounds can’t always accurately determine if a woman is pregnant, the gestational age, or if there are any real medical concerns with the fetus.

Americans United for Life contends that CPCs which offer ultrasounds do have the necessary training and credentials to do so, and Project Ultrasound, a nonprofit that raises money to buy ultrasound machines for CPCs, only aids centers that have or are “in the process of attaining the legal certification to offer ultrasound services in their state.” NARAL does not substantiate their claim otherwise, and in fact, Godsey points out that when NARAL leveled this attack on Maryland centers, they claimed it was “unclear” if medical personnel are involved in their use of ultrasounds, meaning that “Either NARAL didn’t bother asking about the professional qualifications of those who provided medical services, or they didn’t reveal their own findings.”

But if practicing medicine without a license really troubles NARAL, they should take a look in their own backyard. None of the Planned Parenthood clinics in Illinois, for instance, are licensed by the state. The PP in Birmingham, Alabama got sued in 2012 when an ultrasound performed by an untrained and unlicensed worker led to a botched abortion that left Roberta Clark infertile. In 2013, pro-aborts got enacted a California law allowing non-physicians to perform abortions. And pro-abortion publications like Jezebel even celebrate people who perform abortions without training or licensing.

* * *

Ultimately, NARAL’s latest hit piece is just a recycling of past NARAL hit jobs—Heartbeat International observes that a whopping 92 of its 107 citations are old NARAL reports, which have a knack for getting debunked, with another eight citing the pro-abortion, Planned Parenthood-associated Guttmacher Institute (and even then, only for background information from two fact-sheets). That means a measly 6.5 percent of the report rests on sources that might be credible.

“But Calvin,” one of our pro-abortion trolls might say, “Live Action cites itself too when it attacks Planned Parenthood!” The difference that pro-aborts can never seem to remember is simple: you don’t have to take our word for it, because it’s all on video.

Granted, rare instances of dishonest CPC workers can surely be found if you look hard enough (because there are bad actors in any sufficiently large group), but it’s clearly not the norm NARAL suggests. It’s also worth noting that CPCs tend to be more loosely affiliated with parent organizations or completely independent. So a smattering of rogue CPCs simply would not indicate a coordinated propaganda campaign in the same way that Planned Parenthood getting caught in the same lies (which come from the top) over and over again does.

Exposing real threats to women’s safety is the last thing on NARAL’s mind. These long, superficially-intimidating reports are meant to provide nothing more than fodder to justify their ravenous followers’ hatred of crisis pregnancy centers, something they can rattle off a couple quotes and numbers from in the hopes of convincing people whose attention spans aren’t long enough to vet what they’re hearing. The sheer clumsiness of their attacks’ dishonesty does reveal one truth, though:

Crisis pregnancy centers are working, and that scares the hell out of the abortion lobby. They’re laying it on so thick because they’re desperate.

Congratulations, pro-life America. Let’s keep giving them a reason to be.

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