Monday, January 7, 2013

NY Times Covers Pregancy Centers

An even-handed approach from what FR. Z refers to as "Hell's Bible." Credit where credit is due!

Pregnancy Centers Gain Influence in Anti-Abortion Arena

WACO, Tex. — With free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, along with diapers, parenting classes and even temporary housing, pregnancy centers are playing an increasingly influential role in the anti-abortion movement. While most attention has focused on scores of new state laws restricting abortion, the centers have been growing in numbers and gaining state financing and support.

Nasya Dotie, who had considered an abortion, visited Care Net with the son she decided to have.

A truck sponsored by an anti-abortion group in Waco was parked across the street from a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Largely run by conservative Christians, the centers say they offer what Roland Warren, head of Care Net, one of the largest pregnancy center organizations, described as “a compassionate approach to this issue.”

As they expand, they are adding on-call or on-site medical personnel and employing sophisticated strategies to attract women, including Internet search optimization and mobile units near
Planned Parenthood clinics.

“They’re really the darlings of the pro-life movement,” said Jeanneane Maxon, vice president for external affairs at
Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group. “That ground level, one-on-one, reaching-the-woman-where-she’s-at approach.”

Pregnancy centers, while not new, now number about 2,500, compared with about 1,800 abortion providers. Ms. Maxon estimated that the centers see about a million clients annually, with another million attending abstinence and other programs. Abortion rights advocates have long called some of their approaches deceptive or manipulative. Medical and other experts say some dispense scientifically flawed information, exaggerating abortion’s risks.

Jean Schroedel, a Claremont Graduate University politics professor, said that “there are some positive aspects” to centers, but that “things pregnant women are told at many of these centers, some of it is really factually suspect.”

The centers defend their practices and information. “Women who come in are constantly telling us, ‘Abortion seems to be my only alternative and I think that’s the best thing to do,’ ” said Peggy Hartshorn, president of
Heartbeat International, which she described as a “Christ-centered” organization with 1,100 affiliates. “Centers provide women with the whole choice.”

Read the whole thing.

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