Guest Column

No, Salon, pregnancy centers are not support shams

(Save The Storks) The website Salon recently ran an article titled “Support Shams: Anti-abortion clinics masquerading as pregnancy support centers.”

It’s a common hit piece that we’ve seen before (namely on Planned Parenthood’s website). Salon says that pregnancy resource centers tend to hide their pro-life bent, pretend they are a medical clinic when they aren’t, and give out false information about the consequences of abortion to scare women.

As we’ve written before here and here – this is not true.

PRCs do not pretend to perform abortions, and will tell a woman what ALL of her options are when they do options counseling. Many PRCs do have a licensed MD on staff, but if they don’t, they do not pretend to be a medical clinic – they are exactly what they say they are, a resource center. And lastly, if some of the abortion health risks that used to be brought up by PRCs in options counseling have been debunked, there are many that have only been further confirmed – particularly mental health risks.

But just because one PRC said something false or distasteful in the 1970s is hardly reason to make such grandiose accusations.

Even so, there is something more disturbing about the way pro-choice voices continue to make these same misguided attacks on pregnancy resource centers.

The article states, “Many of these centers are not forthright in their advertising about the fact that they are not staffed by medical personnel, and will not offer abortions.” (Once again – if a PRC is not a medical clinic and does not call itself one, why on earth would this matter?) This sentence is shocking – what kind of world are we living in if any institution seeking to support pregnant women must also offer abortions?

At bottom, Salon and others who attack PRCs are assuming that any women’s reproductive health clinic SHOULD offer abortions, therefore if it doesn’t advertise in neon lights that it does not, it is misleading the public. Women cannot be justly served without them, they say. The title says it all. Apparently if a women’s clinic doesn’t offer abortions, it is a “sham” and could in no way be truly offering “support” to women.

The assumptions: 

1) Any women’s health clinic SHOULD offer abortions, or at least encourage them.
2) Any negative mental health risks associated with abortion must be false despite evidence, because abortion is legal and necessary.
3) If you aren’t pro-abortion, you’re on the wrong side of history, therefore you are a bad guy.

The reality:

1) Those women’s health clinics that intentionally do not offer abortions usually do not do so because they believe that abortion is detrimental to women’s health. They are not activists pushing an agenda but pro-women social servants.

2) The chance of suffering mental illness goes up significantly in post-abortive women – period. Look it up. Not only is it right to share this with a woman considering her options, but it is wrong not to.

3) “The wrong side of history” rhetoric is a logical fallacy (no matter how it’s used). In this case, the pro-abortion side is assuming that they are right, that history will remember them as right and therefore villainize those that were pro-life. This is one giant assumption. History is undecided – there is no great historical narrative arch leaning one way or the other. Let us aim to live well and do good – no matter how history remembers us.

My question is, how does offering abortion make one more supportive of pregnancy?

How does not offering abortion in any way disqualify someone from supporting pregnancy? Salon needs to check the ground they’re standing on before they go flinging accusations about “support shams.”

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at Save The Storks on September 28, 2016, and is reprinted here with permission.

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