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Sixteen attorneys general attempt to censure pregnancy centers with abortion industry canards

by | Nov 3, 2023

By Lisa Bourne

Repeating timeworn abortion industry talking points, the attorneys general from 16 abortion states signed an open letter last week debasing pregnancy centers, despite ample evidence of the benefit pregnancy help brings to women and families.

Led by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, the AGs make the abortion industry’s claims in their eight-page letter that pregnancy centers are deceptive and harmful to women. They also object to pregnancy centers not referring clients for abortion.

A review of the 40-plus sources in the AGs’ letter shows largely abortion-affirmative voices. 

The AGs give support in the letter for Yelp, the social media review company that is the subject of a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for alleged discrimination against pregnancy centers due to Yelp’s controversial labeling of the centers, also regarded as a debasement of the centers. 

The attempted branding by abortion proponents of pregnancy help centers and medical clinics as “fake clinics” and other varied disparagement have occurred for years but have ramped up since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in 2022.

Rampant falsehoods about pregnancy centers prompted Heartbeat International to establish the Pregnancy Center Truth website years ago to provide factual rebuttal. 

Heartbeat is the largest network of pregnancy help in the U.S. and internationally, with more than a 50-year history of supporting women and families through pregnancy help. The pregnancy help network manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News.

Bonta is also suing Heartbeat and California’s RealOptions Obria Medical Clinics to bar both from “advertising Abortion Pill Reversal as safe and effective.” Similar to Yelp, he issued a “consumer alert” in 2022 “warning Californians that crisis pregnancy centers do not offer abortion or comprehensive reproductive care.”

Along with Bonta, attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia signed the October 23 letter denouncing pregnancy centers.

Heartbeat President Jor-El Godsey pointed out the abortion bias conveyed via the letter.

“Notice all of the AGs who signed onto this letter are in abortion states,” Godsey said. “Clearly, Big Abortion is pulling the strings on their political campaign dollars.”

“Pregnancy help centers continue to help women access alternatives to abortion at no cost,” said Godsey, adding, “Every woman should be loved and supported in her pregnancy. Unfortunately, these AGs are ignoring a woman’s choice to choose life in favor of supporting abortion profits.” 

Heartbeat International Vice President of Communications & Marketing Andrea Trudden spoke to the letter’s dependence upon long-time pro-abortion myths.

“There is nothing new in this letter,” Trudden said. “We developed PregnancyCenterTruth.com a few years ago to dispel the consistently false claims pro-abortion activists and politicians make and yet, they continue to lie to appease their base and fundraise.” 

“They completely dismiss the fact that actual clients continuously give pregnancy centers a satisfactory rating,” she said. 

“But these women don’t matter to these Attorneys General,” Trudden said. “They will continue spewing lies about the harm pregnancy centers cause ‘pregnant people‘ because they refuse to allow any option other than abortion be available to those they pretend to stand up for.”

Trudden was referencing client satisfaction findings from Charlotte Lozier (CLI) that a 2019 national study of more than 2,000 pregnancy centers found that on average 99 percent of clients reported having had a positive experience at their pregnancy center. 

Further from the report:

This astronomically high satisfaction rate is unheard of in most American businesses. In 2018, Forbes, using the American Customer Satisfaction Index, found Chick-fil-a to be the highest-rated business for customer satisfaction with a rating of 86.0.

CLI assesses all aspects of pregnancy centers regularly for the pregnancy help movement. In presenting its comprehensive data on pregnancy centers CLI explains that centers “provide essential and professional care to vulnerable women and youth on a free or low-cost basis.”

Services typically include “pregnancy testing; options consultation (including education on parenting and adoption, parenting and child raising, and abortion); medical services (early obstetrical ultrasounds, medical exams, STD testing and treatment, and increasingly other health services); prenatal and parenting education; material assistance; sexual risk avoidance education; after-abortion recovery support; referrals for medical care; and linkages to vital community and public health resources.”

“Care is provided by trained workers and licensed professionals through a holistic health paradigm taking into account emotional, social, mental, spiritual as well as physical health,” CLI states.

And further, “by providing practical assistance and links to needed resources, pregnancy centers improve health outcomes for women and promote health and well-being for themselves, their children, and their families.”

That no temporal value can be placed on a human life aside, a glimpse at the fiscal impact that pregnancy help organizations have in their work of saving and impacting lives also shows the good that these centers do. 

In 2019 alone at centers in the U.S., almost 2 million people received assorted services valued at roughly $270 million, nearly always at no cost to the recipient.

The 16 state AGs behind last week’s letter are in the minority with their disdain for pregnancy centers as CLI data shows that between 2010 and 2017, 21 U.S. states passed more than two dozen legislative commendations of pregnancy help centers. 

Those states were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virgina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Additionally, earlier this year Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron led a group of 24 state AGs from life states writing to Yelp in opposition to Yelp applying negative bias toward pregnancy centers in its online consumer notices. 

Cameron was joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming in sending the letter.

Pro-life and pregnancy help organizations joined Heartbeat in criticism of the abortion state AGs’ assailing of pregnancy centers.  

National Right to Life News noted in the headline of its report on the letter that the “16 pro-abortion attorneys general” “[reiterate] bogus claims,” remarking in the article that they “[throw] in every pro-abortion cliché.”

“Californians have, for all intents and purposes, an absolutely unimpeded ‘right’ to abortion,” Editor Dave Andrusko wrote. “What drives people like Bonta crazy is that there are more women-helping centers than there are abortion clinics.”

“The crucial work pregnancy centers do for women and their families all across the country is irreplaceable and needed,” said Tom Glessner, president and founder of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). “Our pregnancy centers operate to the highest standards and properly inform women about abortion with peer-reviewed medical information.”

Glessner and others commented on the letter for Fox News.

“These Attorneys General are purposely targeting this good work for the simple fact that pregnancy centers believe women deserve better than abortion,” said Glessner. “Instead of attacking these centers and actively taking time and resources away from the very women they claim to want to protect, why not work together to further the good work the pregnancy centers do for women in their time of need?” 

“Pregnancy centers exist to help women in need by providing free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, medical exams, counseling, parenting classes, financial classes; items such as food, diapers, and clothing; and financial assistance for housing and utilities,” said Kelsey Pritchard, director of State Public Affairs for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. 

“The twisted attempts to hinder pregnancy resource centers’ ability to serve women prove that Democrats are not pro-choice, they are pro-abortion,” said Pritchard. “Today’s Democrats view success as more abortions and with the help of Yelp and Big Tech, they are concealing the options that exist for women.”

March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said, “The more than 3,000 pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) across our nation are on the frontlines every day helping women who want to keep their children do so. 

“These centers enjoy overwhelming support (91%) from Americans of every demographic,” she said, “providing tangible resources like food, clothing and housing assistance as well as the emotional support and encouragement women who have chosen life are often seeking.”

Unlike abortion centers like Planned Parenthood, these centers are not operating with a “financial interest,” Mancini added.

“[P]RCs have no financial interest at stake but benevolently and generously come alongside women facing an unexpected pregnancy,” she said. “It is simply unconscionable that any politician would endeavor to rob such freedom, choice and true support from these women.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has also remarked on the “incessant smears” of pregnancy centers on the part of abortion advocates, saying that those swayed by the abortion movement’s propaganda “couldn’t be more wrong.”

Editor’s note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News where this first appeared. Reposted with permission.

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