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Six Pregnancy Tests in One Week

I visited Christian pregnancy centers that lure women in with false promises of medical care. Here's what they told me about abortions, breast cancer, shame, and death.

Six Pregnancy Tests in One Week

Kim Scafuro

My first pregnancy scare happened when I was 19. The night before leaving for a six-month trip to France, I had farewell sex with my boyfriend using a novelty condom of Gene Simmons's tongue. Long story short, Gene Simmons's tongue broke. (I've always hated KISS.) Early the next morning, I boarded a plane and prayed to the merciful loins of sweet baby Jesus—like atheists sometimes do when they're scared shitless and circumstances are spinning beyond their control—that I wouldn't get pregnant.

Three weeks later, my period was two weeks late. I didn't want to tell my boyfriend or mother—there was little they could do for me besides worry along. I didn't feel comfortable confiding in my devoutly Catholic host family (also, I was in France, so I was functionally mute and only semiliterate). I scoured the small supermarché in the tiny town where I lived but saw nothing resembling a pregnancy test. What I needed to find was the French equivalent of Planned Parenthood.

So I looked up the French word for "pregnant" in a phone book and jotted down a business in a neighboring town with a question mark in the ad. After class, I took a bus 20 minutes through the French countryside to a slightly larger tiny town to see if I could get a pregnancy test. When I entered the establishment, three women looked up and greeted me kindly. One spoke perfect English. I teared up. She shuffled me into a small room, where on one wall I noticed a cherubic baby Jesus smirking at me from high atop a cloud. She closed the door and asked me to take a seat. Jesus, the woman, and I sized each other up, and I wondered, What fresh hell is this?

I'd accidentally walked into a Christian adoption center instead of a medical clinic. When I told the woman that I wouldn't be giving any potential babies up for adoption—because I'd be getting an abortion—she refused to direct me to a doctor who could administer a pregnancy test.

Luckily, I found a pharmacy in town after I left the adoption center. After a macabre game of charades that involved mangling the French words for "pregnant," "baby," and "blood" while gesturing enthusiastically at my vagina, I was able to locate and buy a pregnancy test. I took it in a public restroom.

It came back negative.

For that woman at the Christian adoption center, it was more important to deny medical access that might conflict with her religious views than to help a scared teenager with no support system find the services she needed. That was the Christian thing to do.

This is what people at limited service pregnancy centers do every day with smiles on their faces. There are at least 46 such pregnancy centers in Washington State—and, to some degree, they do great work. They offer free baby clothes, diaper services, and parenting classes to many poor, young mothers.

But for women unwilling to become young mothers—nervous women who are lured into the centers for their advertised free pregnancy tests—visiting these centers can be traumatic. On their websites, brochures, and business signs, many advertise themselves as medical clinics, not Christian pregnancy centers. "Medical Clinic," read many of their business signs, followed by "Free Pregnancy and STI Testing."

But none of these centers are medical clinics—they're not medically licensed with the state. They're largely staffed by volunteers, not nurses or doctors, and their services are far from comprehensive. Some of the centers offer sexually transmitted infection testing or ultrasounds (no diagnostic analysis, just moody pictures of your insides) but no other medical care. None of them provide information about or access to birth control or condoms (just abstinence and Jesus). When you visit their websites or call to make an appointment, it's rarely made clear that these are Christian organizations. Based on anecdotal evidence, only occasionally do they voluntarily disclose before appointments that they're opposed to abortion and won't refer women to providers who offer those services.

In big cities like Tacoma and Seattle, many are strategically located next to Planned Parenthoods and real medical centers that do practice the full spectrum of women's health, including abortions. In small towns, these centers are often the nearest option for women seeking a free pregnancy test. Either way, countless women mistakenly enter these pregnancy centers seeking medical care. What they get instead is an over-the-counter pregnancy test and inaccurate sermons on the horrors of abortion.

Women's advocacy groups have lobbied the Washington State Legislature for the last two years to approve a bill that would make it clear to women what services these centers do—and don't—provide. The bill would require pregnancy centers to inform patients up front that they're powered by the Lord, not science. They don't provide medical care, they oppose any birth control except for abstinence, and they refuse to offer abortion referrals to women seeking those services. If the women's advocacy groups get their way, the "medical center" staff would have to verbally disclose these basic facts before an appointment, as well as prominently post signs in the main languages spoken in that county (think Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, or Vietnamese, as well as English).

But religious activists have been organizing to block the bill again, after killing a similar bill last year that included a requirement that centers provide "medically accurate information" to women. Religious activists blocked that bill on the grounds that it impeded their free speech rights—specifically, their right to say that HIV flies through condoms like "rice through a tennis racket," for example, as one center reportedly told a client according to Planned Parenthood.

This year, anti-abortionists have two arguments: one, that the legislation goes too far. "If a patient is allowed to bring a special civil suit because they're unhappy with an interaction, that's an impossible goal to meet," testified Anita Showalter, the director of Life Choices of Yakima. Showalter said the goal of her organization is to "support women," but then described the bill's language requirement—put there so that patients understand the kind of care they'd be getting—as "unduly burdensome." They argue the bill would put religious pregnancy centers (primarily privately funded) out of business by allowing women to press charges against centers in superior court if they don't follow the law.

Their second argument is that the bill isn't necessary—they already disclose their Christian roots and, even though they don't refer for abortion, they're happy to discuss abortion and respect a woman's right to choose it. "The center laid out all of my options, including adoption, keeping the baby, and abortion," testified Amy Thayer, a woman who got pregnant at age 17, at the bill's hearing in the state house's Health Care and Wellness Committee. Thayer decided to keep her baby after visiting a pregnancy center in Centralia.

But how, exactly, are the pregnancy centers presenting these options? Who's the victim here—the centers or the women who unwittingly enter them looking for comprehensive medical services?

I'm sitting on a baby blanket covered with dancing bears and staring at six plastic fetuses curled in brightly colored plastic wombs. I'm trying not to fidget or accidentally flip anyone off as a beautiful woman named Diane, the director of the Care Net pregnancy center in Gig Harbor, asks me a series of personal questions about my medical background and religious leanings (she stresses I don't have to answer any questions that make me uncomfortable).

I'm taking a crash course in pregnancy centers with the help of Megan Burbank, my incredibly intelligent, long-suffering, unpaid intern. Over the space of a week, Megan and I take pregnancy tests at six centers in Bellingham, Olympia, Tacoma, and the Seattle area. We don't lie—neither of us ever says we're pregnant. We just request pregnancy tests.

Gig Harbor is my first stop. I'm nervous. Also, I'm a little baffled by Diane's line of questioning. She's asking about my drug and alcohol use, about my partner's drug and alcohol use, if I have a good emotional support system in my life, how long I've been in a relationship, and if he beats me. These are the kinds of questions I would expect from a medical professional, but Diane is "just a mom and a Christian." (She does introduce me to a nurse in the hallway.) I have no idea why a pregnancy center that doesn't offer medical services would need to collect such information, but I answer honestly.

"Can you describe your relationship with God for me?" Diane says.

"Superstitious."

She presses me to elaborate.

"I pray to God when my period's late and when I'm scratching Lotto tickets."

She nods and scribbles a note on my "chart." I imagine it reads "heathen."

"And what are your plans if you find out you're pregnant today?"

"I will likely get an abortion."

Diane then asks if she can share her experiences with pregnancy and motherhood, and I consent. I admire her honesty, but her personal narrative doesn't sway my resolve. She then asks if I'd like more information about abortion before I commit to such a weighty decision. Maybe I'd like to watch a video that outlines all my options—motherhood, adoption, and abortion—while I wait for my pregnancy test results?

"Sure."

I go to a bathroom and pee in a cup while staring at a poster of "A Woman's Monthly Carousel." I worry a secret worry that I could actually be pregnant. When I return to the room, it seems that the fetuses have been rearranged to all stare at me with their dark, blank panda eyes, and Choice of a Lifetime is queued on the television. Diane is gone. The video informs me that if I have an abortion, my chances of dying within the year are four times greater than if I chose to keep the pregnancy. If I make it through that year alive, according to the video, my risk of getting breast cancer is likely to "increase by 50 percent." If, down the road, I do decide to have children, I might not be able to bond with them. I could also suffer for years from post-abortion syndrome (a condition dismissed by the American Psychological Association) that may lead me to contemplate suicide.

Then a woman on the video recounts her experience of getting an abortion after being forcibly raped. She says it was easier to forgive her rapist than to forgive herself for getting an abortion because "I did that to myself." The not-so-subtle subtext of the video: Have the baby. Keep it, put it up for adoption, give it to a pack of wolves to raise—anything is better than having an abortion.

Maybe it's working, because I'm genuinely panicking about the results of my pregnancy test. I'm probably not pregnant; I use birth control. But if you're sexually active, there's always the risk of pregnancy.

If you don't want to be pregnant—if you're not expecting it—even confronting that risk can be traumatic.

This is the first pregnancy test I've taken since France. I'm praying for another negative test now, in this tiny room in Gig Harbor, but my anxiety is increasing. I come from a long line of fertile alcoholics. Diane hasn't returned in 20 minutes. Processing the test takes three minutes. The video is long over.

All I'm thinking about is how I can't have a baby. I'm poor and irresponsible. I can't even remember to feed parking meters. I'd have to give up my collection of antique meat cleavers and light sockets. I want a scratch ticket to busy my sweating hands.

Diane walks back in and takes a seat next to me on the couch and shows me the results.

Having a Christian loudly announce that you're not pregnant is a rich, rare gift, sweeter than birthday cake. I tear up. We hug.

Only half of the six pregnancy centers Megan and I visit during our weeklong pregnancy test spree disclose over the phone that they don't perform or refer for abortions. None mention that they're Christian-run clinics. "We do not discriminate, judge, or lecture," says a woman with Whatcom County Pregnancy Clinic, a crisis pregnancy center in Bellingham, when I pointedly ask if the organization is Christian and if they refer for abortions. She dodges the referral question, saying only, "Come in and take a free test. It'll only take a minute and then we can discuss your options."

Christ is waiting in the waiting rooms—Bibles, crosses, and Reader's Digests everywhere. But by the time women are in those waiting rooms, most have already committed to an appointment, which is the goal.

At every center, Megan and I are faithfully given false information about abortions that is presented as fact. Their statistics come from debunked medical studies, the conservative Medical Institute, and Focus on the Family.

After receiving years of testimony from women who visited the centers and were given false medical information by the volunteer staff, the organizations Planned Parenthood Votes! and Legal Voice, a Washington-based women's law center, spent two years investigating these limited service pregnancy centers. In January, after gathering the input they'd received, the groups released a report on the deceptive practices the centers employ.

Their findings are a more detailed, thorough look at what Megan and I anecdotally encountered. According to the allegations, women were subjected to inappropriately long wait periods for pregnancy test results and were provided false or misleading information about abortion, birth control, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections. The report concludes that the centers "provide inaccurate information designed to delay women from making decisions about how to handle unintended pregnancy."

The centers often won't give women their results in writing, which they need to qualify for medical coupons or Women, Infants, and Children programs in Washington. They refuse to issue referrals for services they can't provide and morally object to. And when women visit these centers, they have no guarantee that their medical information will be kept private—again, the centers aren't obliged to follow standard HIPAA privacy regulations because they're not medically licensed businesses.

It was hard to visit these centers and not remember crying in a French bathtub at age 19, convinced I was pregnant. In times of personal crisis, it's hard to critically challenge where "facts" are coming from—especially if the person presenting them is kind and matronly and she hugs you and fetches apple juice. A woman who is emotionally overwhelmed and doesn't quite know what she's getting into is pretty easy to dupe. She might not question "facts" like the "fact" that abortion leads to suicidal thoughts, breast cancer, infertility, and death for many women. She won't be able to forgive herself. Even rape victims aren't able to forgive themselves.

It's so rare for someone who isn't in over her head—who asks informed questions or challenges these "facts"—to walk into these places that the volunteers become immediately suspicious of women like, well, me and Megan. When we politely challenged them and asked lots of questions, they asked if we were "spies from Planned Parenthood." Happened more than once. Those meetings quickly ended. recommended

Megan Burbank contributed reporting to this story.

 

Comments (188) RSS

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1
Great article! I had no idea that the christian-run "medical centers" weren't licensed and therefore don't have to follow HIPPA laws. That's quite scary actually!
Posted by Eugene on February 16, 2011 at 11:47 AM · Report this
kim in portland 2
Fine article. I, also, didn't know that they weren't licensed and didn't have to follow HIPPA law.

Our eldest visited one of these with the youth group she used to be a member of last June. I think she was shown the same video. A smart, abstinent by choice, 15 year old was smart enough to register bullshit, but a scared woman would not necessarily be able to. And, she quit the group over the experience. Which is fine with her pro-choice and birth control advocating parents.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on February 16, 2011 at 12:19 PM · Report this
3
Great article. Thanks for the info.
Posted by spoons on February 16, 2011 at 12:28 PM · Report this
TVDinner 4
Appalling. Thank you for covering this.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on February 16, 2011 at 12:33 PM · Report this
5
Thanks so much for showing the scam these "christians" are running. It makes me sad that women are bullied into making a choice that might not be best for them out of fear. I support Planned Parenthood and am grateful for all the work they do.
Posted by blerg! on February 16, 2011 at 12:54 PM · Report this
6
I hope The Stranger plans on giving this issue the same sort of coverage they've given tainted cocaine. It's a more local issue and media pressure could really help.
Posted by mleemily on February 16, 2011 at 1:21 PM · Report this
7
Great article, Cienna! This is just another example how some Christians have become like Amway. They are both very coy about their true agenda (how many people have been invited to a party or meeting to discuss 'an exciting business opportunity', and it isn't until hours in you realize this is an Amway presentation?).

Why do Christians think they have to be so deceptive and sneaky? Do they think it's OK as long as it's in Jeebus' name? I'm a guy, so I've not needed pregnancy tests, but I vividly remember an evening when I was studying at the cafeteria at SPU (I wasn't a student there; I was living on a old boat at a nearby marina & going to the UW). I kept noticing a pretty coed giving me the eye, and was really excited when she came over and started talking to me. After some pleasant conversation, she said she had to leave to meet some friends at a party, and invited me to go with her! Imagine my surprise when the 'party' turned out to be a student's Bible Study group (FUCK!!!). My new 'friend' introduced me to the group, and then handed me off to another girl (fat & plain), and sat with another guy (her boyfriend?). I made an excuse to leave , and it was 'feets don't fail me now!

That was 30 years ago. Interesting how some things never change.
Posted by MrB on February 16, 2011 at 1:31 PM · Report this
8
Wow, not under HIPPA Regs . . . meaning they can call you & harass you and tell other people they saw you there or what the test results were! OMG
Posted by naughtynanny on February 16, 2011 at 1:41 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 9
Anti-abortionists like to say how women will always regret getting an abortion and they'll be depressed about it.

I know two women who have given up children for adoption (in both cases because they were young and naive and in denial too long and too far along to get abortions) and both of them were terribly, terribly depressed for years afterwards. One had an open adoption and the other had a closed one. Both are still pretty upset about their experiences. Both said they wished they had gotten abortions early so they wouldn't have to go through what they did.

The resolution of an unplanned pregnancy, no matter what the final choice is: keeping it, aborting it, or adopting it out, is almost always going to cause grief and sadness. There are plenty of women out there with kids who are depressed and wish they didn't have kids. Same with adoption. Same with abortion. For these "clinics" to lay on the extra helping of guilt and shame is revolting.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 16, 2011 at 1:44 PM · Report this
10
I think the reason that they resort to these tactics is that they believe they are preventing murder. If i thought i was going to prevent a murder i would have no problem lying, cajoling, misleading or even bullying somebody. I hope that most people feel that way. I don't believe abortion is murder so i don't have that moral dilemma, but i can certainly understand it.
Posted by flounder on February 16, 2011 at 1:50 PM · Report this
11
Thank you for this brilliant article. I think all women should remember that the kind Christian ladies actually think we are murderers if we have had abortions and that their 'compassion' is strangely limited to a collection of cells that could not survive on it's own rather than the sentient being carrying those cells. Why these people don't spend their time helping the millions of living children who are dying from poverty and neglect is absolutely beyond me.
Posted by izzie on February 16, 2011 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Slam1263 12
I wish women were like men, and explored their option rationally, instead of being duped, lured, or bamboozeled. It's understandable, after all they are the weaker sex.

/sarcasm

If I was seeking medical care, and I do, I make an appointment to talk with the MD, too make sure that I can put up with them before I'll allow them access to my nether regions.

I have use free services in the Seattle area (hint; speak spanish and it is always gratis), and for the most part they render decent services.

For some reason I just feel better when I pay for the MD myself. It is expensive on a college syudent budget, but some will lower their fees if you are upfront with them.
Posted by Slam1263 on February 16, 2011 at 2:18 PM · Report this
13
@10 my husband is a vegetarian and believes that killing an animal for food is murder. He doesn't spend his life wrestling steaks from people's plates, he lives by his moral code and allows others, including his wife, to live by their own. He recognizes that he does not have the right to judge others or impose his beliefs on them. Why can't Christians do the same?
Posted by izzie on February 16, 2011 at 2:22 PM · Report this
Knat 14
Thanks for putting yourselves through all this to let us know what it's like, Cienna and Megan. Please continue your work to keep the spotlight on this issue.
Posted by Knat on February 16, 2011 at 2:26 PM · Report this
15
@Cienna, please don't use the term 'forcibly raped'. This is a tautology - all rape is forced by definition - and this is a very nasty invention by the anti-abortionists to try to erode womens rights over their own bodies.
Posted by izzie on February 16, 2011 at 2:30 PM · Report this
16
One doesn't get to stand on the grounds of moral superiority/correctness if one has to lie about it.

Posted by unoriginalnames on February 16, 2011 at 2:41 PM · Report this
17
One doesn't get to stand on the grounds of moral superiority/correctness if one has to lie about it.

Just repeating since I'm registered now.
Posted by unoriginalnames on February 16, 2011 at 2:48 PM · Report this
18
All very interesting. I had an abortion at an Eastern Washington clinic when I was in college, which thanks to the personal beliefs of the "doctor" who performed it, was a horrible, painful, and degrading experience. I suffered incredible guilt and shame about it for years afterward, and now, decades later, still have issues.

No one should have to go through that, not even at the diagnosis/referral stage. Abortion is legal and it's a choice for individual woman - no one else's beliefs or religion need be involved.

I do need to point out though, that not all Christians are like the ones in the article, not all Christians are deceptive, and not all Christians are judgmental about abortion. I know, because I am one. So it would be awesome, just once in awhile, for the modifier of SOME Christians be used rather than making blanket statements about adherents to an entire religion.
Posted by islandtruth on February 16, 2011 at 2:52 PM · Report this
19
@13 Exactly, izzie! Why can't christians (and most other religions) just live and let live (tolerance!) and not condemn and attack those that don't believe what they do!
Posted by Eugene on February 16, 2011 at 3:08 PM · Report this
20
Preying on people at their weakest, just like Jesus would have wanted! Can you imagine if these centers decided to target other health issues, maybe tell people lies about cancer, or get them to stop taking AIDS meds?

This is so horrific, thank you (and your intern) so much. You really brought something else to light that's important– the underlying fear so many women have that, no matter what precautions they take, they may be pregnant against their wishes. Hell, I know girls who worry about late periods when they're not even having sex, or who thought they were pregnant in high school when they hadn't even had penetrative sex. So when people treat abortion like a debate class topic, or a side issue, it shows how out of touch they are with half the world's population.

46 pregnancy centers in Washington state... and South Dakota's got a single place to go for a safe abortion. I hope the Stranger continues in this vein, and other cities' papers follow suit.
Posted by Shazaam on February 16, 2011 at 3:17 PM · Report this
21
From the Whatcom County Pregnancy Clinic website: "As a medical office under HIPPA (sic) laws, all our services are confidential. In addition, there is no process to qualify to receive services at no charge."

I could find no info regarding HIPAA laws on the Care Net site, but did find this: "all Medical Services are provided by medical professionals."

I'm guessing that the actual nurses or health care professionals that work at these centers are bound by their licenses to practice HIPAA standards, but the "volunteers" or "staff" are not.
Posted by cb on February 16, 2011 at 3:48 PM · Report this
22
Hey, found this handy-dandy website that helps you actually search for your local anti-choice (not their words, obviously) limited services Pregnancy center. It was linked off of Care Net in Gig Harbor's site. If you search just for Washington state, you get a terrifyingly large # of centers.

http://www.optionline.org/
Posted by bookworm on February 16, 2011 at 4:14 PM · Report this
23
Also, if you move the map around or search for a different state, you can see the anti-choice centers in other places (other states, Canada, the United Kingdom, etc.).
Posted by bookworm on February 16, 2011 at 4:19 PM · Report this
24
@4:I second TV Dinner! I, too, am appalled by unlicensed Christian "women's medical centers"! Thank you for printing this article.
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 16, 2011 at 4:38 PM · Report this
25
I believe in the value of at least some pregnancy centers. I also believe in the diversity of options insofar that I agree with the author that these pregnancy centers (along with planned parenthood and all sexual clinics) ought to be forthcoming about their value sets and offered services. I realize that some (examples given) Christian organizations deceive intentionally, pretending to be "full-service" joints to lure in vulnerable women. However, what we tend to forget when we're fighting for choices is that there are people benefiting from religiously-oriented life and health advice. For some, a secular organization just isn't going to help them, not because there's something inherently wrong with secular values, but because the values of the individual affects how well they mesh with the kind of aid. I want different but equally well-intentioned sex clinics and centers tailored to differing value sets and I want them to advertise honestly, then the Catholic girls can find comfort in the counselling and adoption services a supportive pregnancy center, and the secular or doubtful girls can get acceptance and the comfort of options at Planned Parenthood, etc. Seems to me if we want to respect the autonomy of persons we have to respect the values of individuals, and have more understanding even for misguided religious priorities or dangerously relativistic neutralities. At any rate, it's good to look at centers and clinics individually, which is what this article did. Well done.
Posted by gentleobserver on February 16, 2011 at 5:29 PM · Report this
The Max 26
We really need to come up with a term for these deceptive no-choice bastards that we can use to completely replace "pro-life"
Posted by The Max on February 16, 2011 at 5:59 PM · Report this
27
@21 The institution proper is bound (or not) by HIPAA's privacy rule. Outside of an institutional setting, Doctors/Nurses/etc are bound by their professional canons of ethics. So in the case of a non-licensed clinic with non-licensed personnel, you are fully SOL.
Posted by TokenCanadian on February 16, 2011 at 6:33 PM · Report this
28
@25 What's good about this legislation is that it doesn't, in fact, make it harder for these places to operate - it just protects the client privacy and makes the CPCs disclose what they are about. These are not heavy burdens. They do provide *some* good things for *some* people.
Posted by sahara29 on February 16, 2011 at 8:43 PM · Report this
29
@18

I went to a Planned Pregnancy on the east side of the state and was treated similarly. It was very surprising and difficult to go to a "respected" abortion-allowed clinic that treated me so poorly.

After giving me my positive test result back, they asked what I would like to do. I said that I would like to get an abortion. The woman who was taking care of me then left the room and came back with "Keeping the baby" pamphlets and write-ups on the harms of abortions. She then told me to leave because I was taking too much time during my appointment.

I was later billed $87 for the pregnancy test and "counseling."
Planned Parenthood needs quality control too.
Posted by thecatwalker on February 16, 2011 at 8:46 PM · Report this
30
Great article!
Posted by j2patter on February 16, 2011 at 10:33 PM · Report this
31
@29 - Wow. I had a similar creepy experience at a Planned Parenthood, too. The one in White Center. I was only there to get birth control and I got a *very* bad and shaming Christian vibe from the Nurse Practicioner. I feel bad saying anything negative about PP because I so support the work that they do, however, I left wondering if this person actually did support PP's mission or not and if she was there trying to dissuade people from getting services she deemed inappropriate.
Posted by PetiteXL on February 16, 2011 at 11:18 PM · Report this
MythicFox 32
@10, @11/13--

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
--C. S. Lewis
Posted by MythicFox on February 17, 2011 at 1:03 AM · Report this
33
Many Christians, like members of many belief systems, ethical-moral or otherwise, are afraid of living surrounded by people who do not agree with their viewpoints, because being confronted with others makes you realize that your own options are not the only possible ones and indirectly undermines your certitudes. This is not a privilege of Christians: I know vegetarians who avoid meat-eaters for similar reasons.

Basically, the less truly sure you are (consciously or unconsciously) of your moral system, the more vulnerable you are to the presence of others around you who do not share it. Conversely, the more truly sure you are that you have made the right choices, the easier it is for you to live with those who made other choices and not feel threatened by them.
Posted by ankylosaur on February 17, 2011 at 4:47 AM · Report this
34
@32 a brilliant and apt quote, thanks for sharing.
Posted by izzie on February 17, 2011 at 8:07 AM · Report this
35
Aggressive atheist here. This story is indeed appalling... and this is the one and only case in which I sympathise with the Christian. The righteous, unilateral decision to end human life is unforgivable. They lied, yes, but they were defending the child your righteous abandonment had rendered helpless.
Posted by cameron diaz on February 17, 2011 at 8:09 AM · Report this
36
You would have to be a CRETIN to feel ZERO SHAME after having an abortion (that's a euphemisim for being irresponsible enough to have NO CONTROL over your own body...and then having a child chewed and sucked out of your body).

The clinic is only bringing to your attention what any sentient human WILL feel.

I guess you must be one of them "I KNOW!!" conversational kind of people...all information is known to you already.

Why is it people like getting information that jives with your lifestyle but loathes information that makes you squirm.

I guess that's why Sally Struthers was so effective.

Posted by osage2112 on February 17, 2011 at 8:13 AM · Report this
37
Are any of you reading history?! Christians have been sticking thier noses into other peoples business ever since they were considered a cult{and became a cult classic}I expect lies spewed forth from sheep{that is what they call themselves...right?}since that is what they have been told. baa baa baa
Posted by apagansdruid on February 17, 2011 at 8:14 AM · Report this
38
@25 (gentle observer)...

People go to these clinics seeking medical advice. And if a patient wants further counseling or spiritual guidance, any full-service organization will gladly provide referrals for further counseling or the patient may go to the spiritual leader of their choice. But no.... there is NO place in a medical facility for non-secular counseling unless it is clearly provided as such. The bioethical principle of a patient's right to self-determination precludes the withholding of information that may help her/him make a decision, and no principled medical provider would do it.

Masquerading as a medical provider to provide a religiously-oriented and factually flawed information to people who are seeking medical advice is unconscionable. I don't know how these people sleep at night.
Posted by offfwhite on February 17, 2011 at 8:29 AM · Report this
39
@36 (osage2112)...

Fuck you and your assumptions about my lack of control. I got pregnant with an IUD. I did everything within my control to prevent a pregnancy, but the world is an imperfect place and I got pregnant. I terminated for the same reason I got the IUD.... because I cannot raise a child in the manner I would like to right now.

I feel absolutely NO SHAME about any of my decisions: to have a sexual relationship with my long-term partner, to get an IUD, to terminate the pregnancy. They were all responsible, well-reasoned decisions.

You should be ashamed for making such incorrect assumptions about millions of women you don't know.
Posted by offfwhite on February 17, 2011 at 8:36 AM · Report this
40
@35, 36

Look, these places don't actually say they're anti-abortion. They say they are there because they want to help women. I know - I've been told this by people who volunteer there. But their definition of "helping" includes gentle slut shaming and manufacturing fear around sex ("Did you know that condoms don't work? And that if you have too much sex you won't be able to properly pair-bond with your husband?" - they said this to me!) and proselytizing a very conservative reading of the Bible.

Moreover, these women think that eternal guilt and shame for an abortion is what a woman SHOULD feel. You hear testimony from women on that side who had abortions 10+ years ago and they STILL cry talking about it. What healthy adult doesn't come to terms with grief after a decade? I've known several people who suffered miscarriages or the deaths of older children, and they have somehow managed to be overall happy in their lives.

How is creating eternal abortion guilt helping women?
Posted by sahara29 on February 17, 2011 at 8:57 AM · Report this
John Horstman 41
@10: First off, if they believe they're preventing "murder", they're just plain wrong, as murder is the illegal killing of another human being (and even then, only certain forms of illegal homicide), and abortion is not (entirely) illegal (for the time being :-/ ). Second, if they think it's unjustified homicide and that their reasons for thinking so are good ones, why should they need to lie? Good reasons should be convincing, no? Third, I disagree: I think multinational labor exploitation and USA imperialist invasions are unjustified and homicidal, but I don't feel the need to lie about them in order to make that case, because I have an actual, good case (with which another may disagree, certainly). "The Bible says abortion is wrong" is a) not a compelling case for anyone who doesn't already buy into the idea of which one is trying to convince hir, and b) not actually true.

@13, 19: Because a non-apologetics (literal, not attempting to to salvage a woefully-flawed text, portions of which are demonstrably false and other portions of which advocate behavior that is widely-reviled by "Christians", as uniform, historically-delocated, universally-applicable, unproblematic, and True) reading of the King James Bible (as well as many theological texts and nearly the entire history of organized Christianity) establishes Christianity as an evangelical religion, to the point that the Bible advocates murdering both non-believers and believers who don't follow certain prescriptions and proscriptions? I think a better question is why people who believe radically different things all identify under the label "Christian".

@15: Only if you're using a definition of "rape" that necessitates "force"; force is not the same as power (nor the exercise thereof). I would consider coerced sex (directly coerced or culturally-coerced) to be rape, even though it does not involve force, or sex with an unconscious or otherwise incapacitated person (assuming sie didn't put hirself in that state for the expressed purpose of the sexual encounter), or sex under unilaterally-altered conditions deviating from those under which consent was originally negotiated (e.g. sliding a penis into someone without discussion or warning; removing a condom or other protective barrier during a sexual encounter, without discussion or warning; etc.). My definition of "rape" is sex without (freely given) consent of all parties involved, and consent is not only subverted by force - coercion and deceit are at least two other methods.
More...
Posted by John Horstman on February 17, 2011 at 9:09 AM · Report this
John Horstman 42
Oh, I forgot to mention, nice article. :-)
Posted by John Horstman on February 17, 2011 at 9:09 AM · Report this
43
@36 I suppose I am one proud cretin then. Also, I think I would rather be a cretin than an unfit, broke ass, (welfare queen, to the pro life conservative right) reluctant and resentful mother as a result my irrational fears of enraging some sky monster. Thank goodness I have an understanding of the natural world and self esteem enough to know how to make a rational decision that I am still fantastically happy with years later.
Posted by olive on February 17, 2011 at 9:13 AM · Report this
44
Also, this is a fantastic article, Cienna. I remember contacting one of these centers when I was a NARAL intern in high school and being told that "if you have been using condoms for a while and then don't your body goes into a state of shock and will think it is pregnant, but it isn't so you shouldn't take a morning after pill."
Posted by olive on February 17, 2011 at 9:16 AM · Report this
45
Cienna, try asking them some questions that will make them uncomfortable:
"If I kill my baby, will its soul go straight to Heaven?"
"If I keep my baby, is there a chance its soul will go to eternal Hell?"
What's a loving mother to do?
Hideous or wonderful, the fate of the unborn soul is that of 10% to 50+% of all human souls ever created (google 'spontaneous abortion rate').
"Does it matter to the baby whether it's killed by God or by an abortionist?"
"If abortion is so bad, why does God do it so often?"
If believers are going to foist their beliefs upon others, it is fair to ask them to defend those beliefs.
Posted by wolffie on February 17, 2011 at 9:18 AM · Report this
46
@36

I guess if the shoe fits, but as I wrote 36, I knew there would be exceptions, and I didn't feel a need to cover the RAPE, INCEST, WHATEVER situation that can and do happen.

For these people, this is a matter of survival.

I didn't think these people needed absolution...there was NO fault on them.

For the others, there is a guild/shame/ability to never forget the abortion.

My wife and I CONSIDERED abortion, and I feel the guild just for thinking about it as an option.

So @36 addressed some concerns...not the gammut.
Posted by osage2112 on February 17, 2011 at 9:18 AM · Report this
47
@39, you fall in the @46...you had to survive...no guilt there.

Posted by osage2112 on February 17, 2011 at 9:22 AM · Report this
48
@43...don't know if you use abortion as a primary birthcontrol tool, anyone who does needs to feel the shame of being a dunce.

There are pleny of other ways to prevent pregnancy.

But if you do have an unwanted pregnancy...I FULLY support your choice to end it via abortion.

There is shame in life and ending a life flippantly is ONE OF THEM.
Posted by osage2112 on February 17, 2011 at 9:25 AM · Report this
49
osage2112 (@46)

You said nothing of exceptions in @36, only shame. Women have abortions for as many reasons as there are abortions. A huge number of them don't lead to shame. Or regret.

I felt cramps. And relief.
Posted by offfwhite on February 17, 2011 at 9:34 AM · Report this
50
@48 yes. i have unprotected sex constantly and just go get my bi-monthly abortion to take care of any consequences.
No one uses abortion as a primary birth control method, it's a surgical procedure for fucks sake. It belies a complete (possibly willful?) ignorance of a woman's capability for rational thought and decision making (oh we are all such dithering hens! thank goodness we have men to tell us what to do and approve of our actions!) to assume that someone would do that. I DID have an unwanted pregnancy and i DID end it via abortion and I don't want or need the approval of people like you before, during or after.
Posted by olive on February 17, 2011 at 9:35 AM · Report this
51
@#40 This is #35 here. You didn't address my concerns in the slightest. It is likely no one will. I only hope that some day soon we will rise out of our modern dark age and women will stop murdering their children by righteously making the unilateral decision to end the helpless victim's life. It is not your body. You can do whatever you want with your body. What millions of righteous women are incredulously ignorant of is the fact that the subject of lesser-developed child murder almost exclusively regards the victim as the party that will never see the light of day, not you! Again, atheist here.
Posted by cameron diaz on February 17, 2011 at 9:47 AM · Report this
52
It's not "unduly burdensome" to force abortion seeking women to get ultrasounds or 72 wait periods or false information decided upon by white, christian men in govt positions, but saying your business isn't a medical facility is?
Posted by kersy on February 17, 2011 at 10:02 AM · Report this
53
I'm a little distraught that this was presented with an encompassing "all Christians are like this" narrative (and that this has continued in the comments), but thank you for enduring these wretched places and documenting your experiences. What a terrible system these places have set up for themselves.
Posted by pcg on February 17, 2011 at 10:06 AM · Report this
54
@48 Why should they feel like a dunce? There is no abortion hierarchy. If a woman is raped, if the condom breaks, if she is acting foolishly - they are all equal. Women are in control of their own bodies and their choices are not dependent on your approval. Giving judgement and not trusting women with their own bodies makes you just another anti-choicer.
Posted by kersy on February 17, 2011 at 10:08 AM · Report this
55
@48 Why should they feel like a dunce? There is no abortion hierarchy. If a woman is raped, if the condom breaks, if she is acting foolishly - they are all equal. Women are in control of their own bodies and their choices are not dependent on your approval. Giving judgement and not trusting women with their own autonomy makes you just another anti-choicer.
Posted by kersy on February 17, 2011 at 10:08 AM · Report this
56
@36 And if they don't feel shame, what then? Are you going to force these "cretin" women to carry pregnancies against their will? What is the point of your shaming?
Posted by kersy on February 17, 2011 at 10:15 AM · Report this
57
@53 I do sympathise with your frustration at being lumped in with other Christians but you have to see that the anti-choice Christians shout so loud that they drown out the other, more reasonable voices in your religion. Please can the tolerant, compassionate Christians make as much noise as possible on this, and other, issues. Unfortunately you need to convince us atheists that you exist and you care, because in America right now it's very hard to believe.
Posted by izzie on February 17, 2011 at 10:19 AM · Report this
58
@41, fascinating and erudite argument, but does it not rest on force meaning physical force? I mean if you coerce or trick someone are you not still imposing or forcing your will upon them? And is this not just arguing semantics when the point is that if we allow a segregation of rape into forcible and non forcible we are doing a huge disservice to those women who we deem not to have been 'forcibly raped'? Surely you can see that this term has horrible connotations and was simply invented to promote a nasty political ideology?
Posted by izzie on February 17, 2011 at 10:28 AM · Report this
59
@cameron diaz...

It does not require a belief in god to value a cluster of cells above a sentient being, just misogyny. Good for you for being an atheist misogynist. Here's a cookie.
Posted by offfwhite on February 17, 2011 at 11:24 AM · Report this
60
How about the absolute refusal of the abortion establishment to conduct studies as to what extent abortions cause infertility?

They just declare from on high "no it doesn't". Well then, where is the study? You'd think several million abortions in there would be some sort of study. You know, proving their completely unfounded and wrong claims correct. Why no fake study?

You know why. The CONservatives would attack and rip it's baseless nonsense to shreds. So they simply tell the scared woman "it will be okay, you'll be able to have a child later". Neener-neener.

A mirror image of the CONservative inability to study the uselessness of AA for alcohol. Millions of samples, and yet they just can't get a study.

That's cause if there was a FAKE STUDY the Atheist LIEbrals would mock it's absolute worthlessness.

After all, if you look, you know what you'll find, so best to let sleeping dogs die.

In this the CONservative and the LIEbral agree.
Posted by PT Barnum on February 17, 2011 at 11:37 AM · Report this
kerfuffle 61
@osage2112, it must be nice, riding atop that high horse. God forbid you ever make a mistake and take responsible action to make sure that mistake does not negatively effect your life and other lives. What a cretin you would be to feel no shame about that.

The issue with these "clinics" is not that they provide pregnancy tests or non-licensed opinions in the form of counseling to women, or that they are Christian/Catholic based. The issue is that they do not disclose their purpose to women prior to any personal medical or sexual questions being asked with no assurance or legal responsibility that the information provided will be kept private. They do not give women the information they need to make the decision if this is the best place for them to seek care.
It is also that they are providing false information regarding abortion health risks, and condom reliability. These are not medical professionals. This is false information. Essentially there are LIES being told, and the last time I checked, telling a lie is a sin. Shame shame shame on them.
Posted by kerfuffle on February 17, 2011 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Bonefish 62
The fact that they don’t put the results in writing is yet more proof that anti-abortionism is more about “ensuring consequences for sex” than it is about “saving lives.” Medical coupons and WIC vouchers are things that the woman will only need if she decides to KEEP the pregnancy. These are things that go into the CARE of the fetus and, after it’s born, infant. Yet these people deny access to these services just as they deny information about abortion services.

If they were really concerned about saving lives, this would include ensuring that the woman has all the access she can get to various means of FEEDING the fucking thing, but apparently they don’t give a shit about that.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on February 17, 2011 at 12:03 PM · Report this
kerfuffle 63
@PT Barnum, how about you stop speaking out of your ass? Your post made zero sense. Zero. Maniacal ranting with absolutely no point.
Posted by kerfuffle on February 17, 2011 at 12:03 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 64
Great article. Guys freak out over tests for STDs too, we just don't admit it at the time. But then we don't get preggers.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 17, 2011 at 12:07 PM · Report this
65
@60
there are plenty of statistical analysis's done on abortion that show that "vacuum aspiration—the modern method most commonly used during first-trimester abortions—poses virtually no long-term risks of future fertility-related problems, such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion or congenital malformation."

http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/05/0…

Here are the references for that quote:

2. Atrash HK and Hogue CJR, The effect of pregnancy termination on future reproduction, Baillière’s Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1990, 4(2):391–405; and Hogue CJR, Cates
W and Tietze C, The effects of induced abortion on subsequent reproduction, Epidemiologic Reviews, 1982, 4(1):66–94.
3. Ibid.; and Hogue CJ et al., Answering questions about long-term outcomes, in: Paul M et al., eds., A Clinician’s Guide to Medical and Surgical Abortion, New York: Churchill
Livingstone, 1999, pp. 217–227

Posted by kersy on February 17, 2011 at 12:08 PM · Report this
aardvark 66
Great reporting. Just goes to show when people are hesitant to refer to the Stranger as real reporting, or call it a rag, they have their heads up their asses. You guys do Important shit no-one else will touch. Bravo.
Posted by aardvark on February 17, 2011 at 12:13 PM · Report this
67
What a great and necessary article! Thank you!

And, anyone who thinks that "making due of a bad situation" via teenage pregnancy is a swell idea can watch a few episodes of 'Teen Mom'. Those little babies suffer in nearly every episode due to their mother's ignorance and lack of support. Yes, it's tv, but still valid.
Posted by wheeee1 on February 17, 2011 at 12:56 PM · Report this
fashnable1 68
@45 love the list. Here's my own comeback: "I guess adoption would be okay, but only by a same-sex couple."
Posted by fashnable1 on February 17, 2011 at 1:12 PM · Report this
69
I think it's disgusting how the fundamentalist Christians I've met, talked with, and discussed religion with get literally GIDDY at the thought that the person across from them is disillusioned, confused, or at all in flux with their feelings or opinions. I've had Christians try to TALK ME INTO being disillusioned and lost when I was merely still making up my mind. They joyfully seek vulnerability in other human beings, then exploit it with a reasonable-sounding but false and/or bankrupt message about fairies, unicorns, miracles, grace, and other empty bullshit.

Not "all" Christians. But all of a specific strain/faction.
Posted by nullbull on February 17, 2011 at 1:15 PM · Report this
70
Even if care net blatantly said they were Christian and wanted to stop abortions, people would still complain. The issue is not so much about honesty, it is more about bashing on people who want to stop abortions.

Even if abortion should not be illegal, there are still moral issues with terminating or potentially terminating a life. Arguing that a fetus can never be an actual life is ignoring scientific reality. It is legitimate to try to persuade people not to have abortions. This is a separate issue from whether abortion should be legal. I agree that the pro life movement has a disproportionate share of wackos and hypocrites. However there is room for debate on whether someone should make the choice to have an abortion even if it is legal. It is valid for an organization to present reasons for not having an abortion. Again I acknowledge that care net is being accused of being deceptive but I think the broader issue is that the abortion issue has gotten politicized to the point where any organization that attempts to stop abortions is going to get attacked regardless of their tactics.
Posted by granola on February 17, 2011 at 1:56 PM · Report this
71
@61...did you read the later comments...I'm talking about the people who use abortion at a primary form of birth control.

I also believe in choice, but could never use it myself. I've friends that have and there is guilt and shame in the choice.

INCEST, RAPE, MISTAKES...are all reasons where the person is NOT TO BLAME...but for the dumbass that took no precaution and WOUND-UP knocked up...should get some grief for being a dumbass.

YOU sound like you were responsible...why you need to assume everyone is, is beyond me.

In this entitled world we live in...more people are not responsible for anything.

Posted by osage2112 on February 17, 2011 at 2:14 PM · Report this
72
@70 Planned Parenthood and many other local clinics to an excellent job of counseling women who are unsure of what to do without pushing abortion above all other options. The 'clinics' in question offer false information with the explicit motive of preventing abortion. It is not fair to pressure someone to do or not do something by intimidating them with false medical information, especially threats of infertility and early mortality.
I agree that abortion is not always the right option, but deciding what to do with an unplanned pregnancy is a deeply personal issue. I don't think anyone should be talked in or out of keeping/aborting/adopting out a potential child, counsel should be factual and supportive with the final decision left up to the one carrying the fetus.
Posted by olive on February 17, 2011 at 2:18 PM · Report this
pastaefagoli 73
@46 and all the other anti-choice assholes out there:

Your logic is seriously flawed. (With the exception of hardliners who want abortion abolished in all cases, including rape and incest. Yous guys are dead wrong, but at least you have a logically consistant argument and are [maybe, benefit of the doubt] adhering to your self stated purpose of preserving the life of all embryos)

Many anti-choicers say that in the case of rape or incest, they are ok with a woman obtaining an abortion.

But, if abortion is murder, and murder is wrong, why do those women get carte blanche to commit murder?

Is it becasue, oh I don't know, you're not so much for preserving the life of embryos, but PUNISHING women for having sex?

If a women becomes pregnant but didn't want/ask for the sex, than it is ok for her to murder her baby.

Yes?

But it is not ok for a woman to murder her baby if she wanted/asked for the sex. Then, she must accept the consequences of her actions.

Yes?

But abortion is always murder, and murder is wrong.

Right???

SO TELL ME HOW THE FUCK YOU CAN DENY THAT YOUR ANTI-ABORTION STANCE IS NOT ACTUALLY ANTI-WOMAN?

Please explain, thanks.
Posted by pastaefagoli on February 17, 2011 at 2:30 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 74
@60,

Here's your study: The millions of women who go on to have children after having an abortion.
Posted by keshmeshi on February 17, 2011 at 3:04 PM · Report this
kerfuffle 75
osage2112, I did read your later comments. You believe in a womans right to choose as long as she meets your requirements, but she is a cretin if she feels no shame.
Nobody uses abortion and their primary form of birth control. Please tell me of case studies where women used abortion as a primary form of birth control. There are women who have made the decision to terminate more than one pregnancy, sure, but your choice of words wrong. Abortion is not birth control. Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but your judgement calls are akin to someone saying that AIDS flies through condoms like rice through a tennis racket. They are simply false and misleading.
Posted by kerfuffle on February 17, 2011 at 3:28 PM · Report this
76
I've paid for three abortions in my life and I think it's the best money I've ever spent. I've never regreted it for one second and would do it again without hesitation.

Christians are some of the biggest liars, cheats and murderers on the planet, this doesn't bug them much because they think they are forgiven by jesus for being so weak and evil.

The reason that Xians care about saving babies while condoning the murder of countless adults is because they know that they have to install the brainwashing in you while you are still young, doing it to an adult with developed defenses is much much harder.
Posted by Christians come from hell on February 17, 2011 at 4:22 PM · Report this
Sandiai 77
Thank you @76. I'm going to quote you so everyone can see your response:

"I've paid for three abortions in my life and I think it's the best money I've ever spent. I've never regreted it for one second and would do it again without hesitation.

Christians are some of the biggest liars, cheats and murderers on the planet, this doesn't bug them much because they think they are forgiven by jesus for being so weak and evil.

The reason that Xians care about saving babies while condoning the murder of countless adults is because they know that they have to install the brainwashing in you while you are still young, doing it to an adult with developed defenses is much much harder. "
Posted by Sandiai on February 17, 2011 at 5:21 PM · Report this
78
@26: The Max: How about "Pro-Scrotum", or "Pro-Santorum"? Apparently they think that dicks have more rights than women.
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 17, 2011 at 5:43 PM · Report this
79
@72: RIGHT ON, OLIVE!!!! I could not have said it better myself!!!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 17, 2011 at 5:47 PM · Report this
80
Many pro-life activists aren't Christian. What about the pro-choice agenda planned parenthood is pushing (their revenue depends on it) is Cienna looking to bring them down as well?
Posted by sleazminx on February 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM · Report this
MoralSlinky 81
@46, If you generally hold such conservative views, you probably feel very frustrated reading The Stranger. Maybe you should go away and not try to present a tired-out regret story to pro-choicers who are not budge on their support for women's basic rights. If you don't support abortion, then don't get one.
(http://inpoortaste.tumblr.com)
Posted by MoralSlinky http://www.inpoortaste.tumblr.com on February 17, 2011 at 6:10 PM · Report this
82
Yes, it's a good article and the majority of posters on this site are in the right. Now, let's stop congratulating ourselves for being right, and drive these frauds out of Seattle, one neighborhood at a time. We know where these "clinics" are located, so let's take a page from the anti-choice crowd's playbook and picket them. If you believe what these people are doing is wrong and care about women, team up to make sure no one every enters one of these places without knowing exactly what to expect and what deceptive pigs the staff members are. Why spend months trying to pass a law requiring an exchange of info that could be facilitated, clinic by clinic, beginning tomorrow? Plus, the resulting PR would work to further spread the word.
Posted by Getupstandup on February 17, 2011 at 7:07 PM · Report this
83
Yes, it's a good article and the majority of posters on this site are in the right. Now, let's stop congratulating ourselves, and drive these frauds out of Seattle, one neighborhood at a time. We know where these "clinics" are located, so let's take a page from the anti-choice crowd's playbook and picket them. If you believe what these people is doing is wrong and care about women, team up to make sure no one ever enters one of these places without knowing exactly what to expect and what deceptive pigs the staff members are. Why spend months trying to pass a law requiring an exchange of info that could be facilitated, clinic by clinic, beginning tomorrow? Plus, the resulting PR would work to further spread the word.
Posted by Getupstandup on February 17, 2011 at 7:15 PM · Report this
84
I'm sending another check to Planned Parenthood....
Posted by AnnaC on February 17, 2011 at 7:19 PM · Report this
85
I'm sending another check to Planned Parenthood. God Bless 'Em.
Posted by AnnaC on February 17, 2011 at 7:24 PM · Report this
86
@84 Good for you. You're really taking a stand. Gandhi and MLK would be proud. You wrote a check and were snarkily superior.
Posted by Getupstandup on February 17, 2011 at 8:22 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 87
@80,
Abortions account for about 3% of the health services Planned Parenthood offers (see pages 8 and 9 specifically):

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/A…

They could eliminate abortion services and PP would still do just fine. Their revenue does NOT depend on it.

But yes, PP DOES have a pro-choice agenda: They want women to be free to choose how to best care for their reproductive health. Those monsters!!!
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 17, 2011 at 8:24 PM · Report this
88
@78, I know I'm not a registered user, and that no one will read my comment, but I have to say I am against "pro-scrotum." I am as pro-choice as you can get, and I am a guy, but I can't seriously label myself as "anti-scrotum." I guess you can say that I've grown too attached to my own scrotum to be against it.

"Pro-Santorum" is okayish, but it doesn't seem to be as on target as the label should be. I do agree that a new label is needed, but it needs to be perfect. Keep on brainstorming!
Posted by Pro-choice guy on February 17, 2011 at 9:21 PM · Report this
89
I am a board member of a pregnancy medical clinic (PMC) in Washington State. There is much misinformation & hearsay in this article about pregnancy medical clinics in our state. Here are two fallacies and facts.

Fallacy: PMCs are fake medical clinics.

Fact: PMCs are licensed medical clinics under WA State law RCW 18 and RCW 70. PMCs are medical clinics because they provide medical services under the direction & supervision of a licensed physician & such medical services are implemented through licensed medical professionals.

Fallacy: Abortion clinics are licensed and regulated by the State but PMCs are not.

Fact: According to the Dept of Health Offices, Health Systems Quality Assurance, WA State does not license or regulate abortion clinics or any medical clinic for that matter. Rather, the State licenses & regulates the medical professionals who practice in medical clinics. Therefore, PMCs are licensed & regulated under the same WA State standards as abortion clinics, Planned Parenthood, OB/GYNs, or any medical clinic.

State Impact:
In 2010, the pregnancy center network in WA State served over 62,000 women & provided over $18 million in free medical & maternal/infant services. The Dept. of Health has reported NO complaints about the services of PMCs and NO law suites have been filed against any PMC in our state.

I urge everyone to please get the facts before declaring war on community-based social service pregnancy centers that are doing so much good for so many women and children.
Posted by Beth Chase on February 17, 2011 at 9:42 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 90
@89, links or you're lying.
Posted by scary tyler moore http://pushymcshove.blogspot.com/ on February 17, 2011 at 10:35 PM · Report this
91
@89, Hi Beth, thanks for commenting. While I have no doubt that you believe that you are doing good by women, I have to ask, how does spreading scientifically false information such as abortions lead to a 50% increase in developing breast cancer, not being able to bond with future children, and the possibility of suffering from post-abortion syndrome (which as, Ms. Madrid pointed out, is not recognized by the American Psychological Association) benefit the women who choose you to use your services?
Posted by Pro-choice guy on February 17, 2011 at 10:58 PM · Report this
92
@89, 91 I have an addendum to my previous post. If Christians (which I assume compose the majority of PMC workers, and I could be wrong) view science as empirical proof of God's will, is not lying about the results of scientific studies baring false witness against your neighbor? I know that there is the commandment that thou shalt not commit murder, but baring false witness lies within the same list. As far as I know there are no caveats among the 10 commandments, so why is breaking one in prevention of another okay?
Posted by Pro-choice guy on February 18, 2011 at 12:32 AM · Report this
93
Fine reporting: informative yet funny, and the personal angle makes the story resonate.
Posted by glassmongoose on February 18, 2011 at 9:38 AM · Report this
94
Thank you for this article, Cienna! Also, the part I didn't suspect ('cause I guess I never stopped to think about it carefully) was the lack of needed HIPPA compliance at these "clinics", which adds an additional chill to the bleak pallor of rest of the story. Yeesh.

Transparency, transparency, transparency. We *need* regulation in this state to insist that these religiously-affiliated shops must be upfront.
Posted by PepV on February 18, 2011 at 10:34 AM · Report this
slade 95
Your Bill is as useless as a dollar bill? many a con man operate many a scam in the United States Of Scams? Scumbags posing as Christians as well and thats really not new News to anyone who pays any attention.

But to the point enforcement of laws are the key and as well if you discovered some shady places don't be a total frigging sissy and not name them as in "Name of place and names of people and Address?

Your use of the word Cristian is referring to a large percentage of the world?

and the old school word for what the hell you were looking for is an "Abortion clinic" and as they are the ones who would know about Abortions and complications there of your should really find a city that would educate you against the word "free" frigging anything?

Family is very cool and Family can really suck so your choice is yours to make and for you to deal with. you may be happy with it or you may lay awake at night in regret
Posted by slade http://www.youtube.com/user/guppygator on February 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM · Report this
Free Busch On Tuesday 96
I was going to comment, something witty, a retort, to all those who hate women and their bodies. Then I just gave up from a migraine.

I will go with an old one liner...
"Keep your Rosaries off her ovaries"

Busch, out.
Posted by Free Busch On Tuesday on February 18, 2011 at 2:06 PM · Report this
97
I understand that there has been much confusion regarding what WA State does and does not do regarding licensing and regulating medical clinics.

The good news is that getting the facts about what WA State does and does not regulate or license regarding medical clinics is not difficult. In fact, it can be as simple as a phone call away.

Call the WA Dept of Health at 1-800-525-0127 and ask for yourself. They will tell you that WA State does not license or regulate medical clinics in our state. They do, however, license and regulate medical professionals who practice in medical clinics.

For you who love blogs, go to the following link to see a statement from Debbie Puryear-Tainer, Department of Health Office of Customer Service, Health Systems Quality Assurance regarding WA State that confirms that WA State does not regulate any medical clinics in our state(i.e., abortion clinics, OBGYN clinics, ambulatory clinics, Pregnancy Medical Clinics) but the state does license and regulate medical professionals who practice in the medical clinic: http://thesavvycitizen.blogspot.com/2011….
Posted by Bethc on February 18, 2011 at 4:16 PM · Report this
98
@91 & 92 Thank you for asking for clarification regarding the claims that Pregnancy Medical Clinics (PMCs) in WA State are spreading false information about reproductive health concerns. I appreciate the oppportunity to educate about this issue.

PMCs have Medical Directors (MDs) who are licensed physicians. These MDs are responsible to ensure that quality health care is implemented at the PMC.

As in any medical clinic, nurses and patient coordinators at PMCs are instructed by the Medical Director regarding patient health education. At a PMC, the Medical Director determines what evidence based health information about pregnancy, pregnancy options and other reproductive health is shared with patients.

While doctors rely on scientific research to make the right decisions regarding health care, it is not uncommon to find credible scientific studies with contradicting conclusions. This is why doctors often disagree with their peers.

Many respected scientific studies support a wide variety of conculsions regarding reproductive choices. A simple Internet search indicates such. It is up to the MD to determine which study he or she wants to use to support their evidenced based health care services.

PMCs believe that women are smart and capable of making their own reproductive health decisions. PMCs do not receive any money from the choices their patients make.

Bottom line, PMCs are good for Washington State. Where else can any woman, regardless of her financial condition or socio-economic status, go for pregnancy diagnosis, ultrasound exams, nursing consultations, community referrals, and maternal/infant care services -- all free of charge?
Posted by Bethc on February 18, 2011 at 7:14 PM · Report this
99
Thank you for writing this Cienna. I tend to be a pretty skeptical person and somehow I fell for this scam many years ago when I was pregnant and extremely poor and living in big city. All of the same lies you mention in the article (50% greater chance of breast cancer, the possibility of not being able to have children in the future, and yes death) were sweetly described as possible consequences when I asked about abortion. I was also shown some very disturbing pictures. To top it all off they called my house to "check up on me" (a big gnarly college house I lived in with mostly guys) and they told my roommates they were calling from a pregnancy center even though when they asked if that would be ok I said no and that they should use a pseudonym. These places pray on women at their most vulnerable, poor, and afraid.
Posted by displayname on February 18, 2011 at 9:25 PM · Report this
100
@98, Hi Beth, thanks for responding. I understand how scientific studies can report a wide variety of conclusions (I work in a field of science, not medicine though). Based on your comment, I decided to dig a bit deeper into one of the issues. Since I work at a university, I have access to various medical journals, and I browsed some articles relating to abortions and the increased risk of breast cancer.

From what I've found out (I'll admit, I did use Wikipedia as a starting point), all major credible medical associations (the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) support the conclusion that there is no correlation between receiving an abortion and developing breast cancer. In fact, the only organizations that support such a claim have pro-life leanings which cast doubt on the objectivity of their conclusions.

My reasoning of why the studies which claim that there is no link between abortions and breast cancer are accurate comes from the question: what do these organizations stand to gain from such a statement? Abortions are not some sort of money making industry, but a surgical procedure, and I cannot fathom a reason why a scientist would justify letting women undergo such a procedure unless they had objective proof that it was safe.

However, I can see such a justification on the other side of the argument. The organizations that I found, which claim that there is a link, have ties to the pro-life moment. I know that Christianity believes that abortions are a sin, and I can see that belief blinding certain scientists to the bias inherent in their results.

Additionally, proponents of no link make a compelling argument that the results of studies which show a link fall victim to response bias.

Beth, I would like to thank you for your comments, but I know that I am on terra firma when I state that abortions do not lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, and that any medical professional that claims otherwise is being deceitful.
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Posted by Pro-choice guy on February 19, 2011 at 5:11 AM · Report this
101
I am a fourth year ob/gyn resident in a catholic latin american country (In buenos aires, argentina, to be precise)I work mainly in a very large public maternity hospital. (public means, in our health care system that ALL patients are seen absolutely free, and any practice and hospitalization is free (yes, that's a public health system and this is not precisely a socialist country) Health care can be burocratic if it's not an emergency but it can be done. We administer free urine pregnancy tests daily and the results are back in hours (because they are done and given back all togheter)
It is practically a MORAL OBLIGATION to offer free, state paid birth control (mainly condoms, IUDs, pills or inyections) to every woman who gets a negative result in a pregnancy test.
yes, my catholic country pays for it all.Yes, we are poor and thirlwrordly, but contraception is cheaper than complications in a country where abortion is illegal.
A few weeks ago when I was doing just that a christian evangelical patient started lecturing ME about the fact that the methods I was offering were all sinful, SHE tried to teach ME about natural family planning and I had to remind HER that her rights as a patient didn't include questioning my moral support of abortion or offending MY beliefs.
she says I am going to hell. After having slept an hour and a half in the last 28, she was the closest to hell I've ever been.

Posted by ferfer on February 19, 2011 at 5:17 AM · Report this
102
@100 I appreciate your push back on the possible abortion and breast cancer link. Clearly, there are reputable studies that come to different conclusions regarding this issue. I am not a doctor and leave the interpretation of medical research up to medical professionals.

However, I will go to the mat to defend the right of women to hear BOTH sides of any issue when it comes to their reproductive health.

I respectfully challenge your statement that 'all major credible organizations' suppport the idea that there is no connection between abortion and breast cancer.

First, there is the work performed by Dr Janet Daling, a self-described 'pro-choice' researcher with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research and the University of Washington.

On Nov. 2 1994, Dr Daling and fellow researchers published an article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (pp. 1584-1592) concerning induced abortion and breast cancer risk link for premenopausal women.

The outcomes of Dr Daling's research indicated that women under 18 who had an induced abortion have an increased breast cancer risk of 150%. Women of age 30 and above who aborted a first pregnancy increased their breast canser risk by 110%. And overall, women who have an induced abortion have an increased breast cancer risk of 50%.

Second, in the December 1993 issue of The Journal of the National Medical Association, a publication by black medical professionals concerned with black health problems, reported the results of a Howard University study that found that black women of age 50 and above who had at least one (1) induced aboriton have an increased breast cancer risk of 370%. (Breast Cancer Risk Factors in African-American women:The Howard University Registry Experience, Journal of the National Medical Association, A E Laing et al., 1993, 85:931-939)

In addition, this website contains 16 studies from all over the world that are at least 95% confident that induced abortion incrases breast cancer. http://www.errantskeptics.org/Abortion-B…

Such studies coming from credible national and international sources that have found possible links between abortion and breast cancer link provides the medical evidence that supports why most physicians and medical professionals at Pregnancy Medical Clinics in WA State want their patients to at least be aware of such research indicating that there may be link between induced abortion and breast cancer.

It's about a woman's right to know so that she can make an informed decision. Women are smart and capable of making their own decisions.
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Posted by Bethc on February 19, 2011 at 11:33 AM · Report this
103
Nicely done ladies, I loved every sentence of the article.
Posted by mattius05 on February 19, 2011 at 12:15 PM · Report this
104
Great article. But isn't "forcibly raped" redundant? It irks me when I read that, as if rape isn't forced? Otherwise, good stuff to read.
Posted by rizzo on February 19, 2011 at 12:30 PM · Report this
105
These places make me SO angry. There's one that always puts up fliers on my college campus. I take them down at every opportunity.
Posted by TaylorMal on February 19, 2011 at 5:19 PM · Report this
106
@MrB:
[ My new 'friend' introduced me to the group, and then handed me off to another girl (fat & plain)]
This applies how? That you thought you might get some and instead they cut "bait" and switched you to the "ugly" girl? Get over yourself.

Good article. I am pro-choice but still accept that abortion is killing a human life. By some miracle I am able to see both sides of the issue and understand where the pro-life people are coming from, even though I don't side with them. I am 44 years old and don't understand why, even in this day and age, anyone would be surprised by the general christian mentality of these anti-abortion crusaders. They aren't there to help you. They're only there to serve their god as they think is appropriate and to save another potential baby christ crusader. I understand, but it's still disgusting.
Posted by redglitter on February 19, 2011 at 5:23 PM · Report this
107
@MrB:
[ My new 'friend' introduced me to the group, and then handed me off to another girl (fat & plain)]
This applies how? That you thought you might get some and instead they cut "bait" and switched you to the "ugly" girl? Get over yourself.

Good article. I am pro-choice but still accept that abortion is killing a human life. By some miracle I am able to see both sides of the issue and understand where the pro-life people are coming from, even though I don't side with them. I am 44 years old and don't understand why, even in this day and age, anyone would be surprised by the general christian mentality of these anti-abortion crusaders. They aren't there to help you. They're only there to serve their god as they think is appropriate and to save another potential baby christ crusader. I understand, but it's still disgusting.
Posted by redglitter on February 19, 2011 at 5:25 PM · Report this
108
@88: Will do. I didn't mean to tromp on anybody's toes.

Hey--how about this one: Pro-Fuck-up?
Anti-abortionist fanatics (male or female) are so desperate for undisputed control over women at all costs they don't care WHOSE life gets fucked up--the woman's OR that of the unborn child's?
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 19, 2011 at 7:57 PM · Report this
109
@88: And THANK YOU for being a PRO-CHOICE MALE! I find that very refreshing!
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 19, 2011 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Sea Otter 110
My mom was the head of the local Planned Parenthood in my hometown in the '80s. She received death threats from anti-choicers (can't really call them "pro-life" under those circumstances).

Funny thing is, although she identified firmly as pro-choice, my mom thought one of the major roles of Planned Parenthood was, and should be, preventing abortions - by preventing unplanned pregnancies from happening in the first place.

I don't know if there's any way to prove this, but I'll bet Planned Parenthood, by providing education about and access to birth control, has actually prevented far more abortions than any of these limited service Christian pregnancy centres.
Posted by Sea Otter on February 19, 2011 at 9:03 PM · Report this
111
Wonderful article! And with the congress saying that planned parenthood would receive no more funding the future of these places staying and offering more misleading information is damn near assured.
Posted by Minerva Hana on February 19, 2011 at 9:34 PM · Report this
112
This is a good article except for how over-dramatic you got. You teared up? Seriously? You had no real reason to think you were pregnant. I just found that whole part pretty stupid.
Posted by Jamez on February 19, 2011 at 10:10 PM · Report this
113
Thank you Cienna. That was a fine price of investigative journalism. You're my f'n here.
Posted by Xrock on February 19, 2011 at 10:41 PM · Report this
XiaoGui17 114
Osage, who the fuck uses abortion as a primary form of birth control? Abortion is expensive, bureaucratic, and time consuming, not to mention the morning sickness, fatigue, and aches that accompany the initial pregnancy. Out of sheer self-interest alone, no one would think, "I'm going to not use condoms, films, BC pills, a diaphragm, jelly, or anything else, BUT I'll get an abortion if I happen to get knocked up." No person would think of that.
Posted by XiaoGui17 on February 19, 2011 at 11:50 PM · Report this
115
@102, Beth, thank you for replying. I have a few rebuttals to your claims.

First off, your citation of Dr. Daling's research is outdated. Dr. Daling did a larger follow up study in 1996 which found an average risk increase of 1.2 (i.e. 20%) with a 95% confidence interval of (1.0-1.5). The 95% confidence interval is what is important. Roughly what this statement means is that if the study is repeated 100 times the study will conclude the increased rate of developing breast cancer following an abortion will fall between 0% and 50% in 95 out of the 100 studies. In fact, this statement can be spun that it is possible to claim that abortions lower the risk of developing breast cancer (while factually true, no respected science professional, myself included, would ever make such a claim). Furthermore this study only indicates correlations, and one thing that is drilled into every scientist's brain is that correlation does not imply causation. In her paper, Dr. Daling phrases her conclusion as follows: "There was no excess risk of breast cancer associated with induced abortion among parous women. These data support the hypothesis that there may be a small increase in the risk of breast cancer related to a history of induced abortion among young women of reproductive age. However, the data from this study and others do not permit a causal interpretation at this time; neither do the collective results of the studies suggest that there is a subgroup of women in whom the relative risk associated with induced abortion is unusually high." If you claim that there is an increased risk in developing breast cancer and cite Dr. Daling as evidence you are putting words in her mouth.

Similar analysis can be done on the Laing et al paper. Their conclusion is that abortions increasing the risk of breast cancer in African-American women is possible, but not necessarily definite.

Additionally, in your post you claim that it is important that women hear BOTH sides of the issue, but from Ms. Madrid's article, I don't believe the sides of the argument that I've addressed were even presented. So it is hypocritical that PMCs believe that women need to hear all sides while only presenting one.

As for the website that you linked, I won't even touch that one. Looking at the site's main page indicates a heavy Christian bias. I would even go as far as to say that sites like that only serve to increase scientific illiteracy in our country.

To auntie grizelda, @108, No offense taken. I laughed at your original comment and just wanted to mess with you. And at your comment in @109, I feel a bit weird in accepting your thanks for being on the side of a fundamental human right. If you want to thank someone for my position, then thank my mother. I learned from her.
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Posted by Pro-choice guy on February 20, 2011 at 1:47 AM · Report this
116
Pro-Choice Guy, Thank you for providing a rational side to BethC's wharrgharble.

I always feel extra disgusted when it's women hating on women like she's doing here.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on February 20, 2011 at 8:45 AM · Report this
117
this is a beautifully-written piece, and I cannot thank you enough for publishing it. I am recommending it to all my friends, it should be required reading for everyone.
Posted by a.m. on February 20, 2011 at 12:01 PM · Report this
118
@9 "One had an open adoption and the other had a closed one. Both are still pretty upset about their experiences. Both said they wished they had gotten abortions early so they wouldn't have to go through what they did."

I understand that adoption can be terribly traumatic when handled badly (and sometimes even when handled well). My country (New Zealand) has pretty much banned closed adoptions. But they do understand that when they say they wish they had had an abortion they are saying they wish their child was dead?
Posted by 's complicated on February 20, 2011 at 5:23 PM · Report this
119
EXCELLENT article! I was once at a clinic in Pittsburgh 15 years ago similar to what is described in the article. They asked what my education level was and I explained that I was in my second year of college, going for my Bachelor's in Nutrition. During my "consult" phase while the test was "processing" I told my counselor that I knew what she was doing, testing for HCG (maintains pregnancy, I do this for a living now). Her response was, "If you are so smart, you wouldn't be here". I think these clinics need to be upfront with women. I'm 34 and pregnant now - what if I was 13 and had been raped by a family member?

Sincerely,

A 6 year American Society of Clinical Pathology Board Certified Lab Technician

Posted by Monkeyaunt on February 20, 2011 at 6:28 PM · Report this
120
I was 19 yrs old when I discovered I was pregnant. I was in college, and very scared. A girl in my dorm gave me the name of a Dr. In town that provided abortion services. I am eternally grateful for this woman, she and her assistant did abortions in the morning before seeing her regular OB/GYN patients.The cost was reasonable, and the care was compassionate. The assistant held my hand and reassured me through the procedure.
Through the years ( I am now 50, with 2 children) I have often thought back on that day and thank God that I had access to a safe abortion. We have the legal right to have an abortion, I get so angry at people who tell women outright lies regarding this issue. They take advantage of a woman's vulnerability at an extremely stressful time. We have a choice, we have a choice, never forget that!
Posted by luvthesun on February 20, 2011 at 6:54 PM · Report this
biju 121
Cienna, way to go - awesome write up and glad it made the cover.
Posted by biju on February 20, 2011 at 9:19 PM · Report this
122
After reading Cienna Madrid's lead article about a proposed bill to stop Christian pregnancy centers from distributing misinformation, I expected she'd eventually get to information about the bill itself (Limited Service Pregnancy Center Accountability Act [HB 1366/SB 5274]), who voted against it last time it failed, how similar bills have fared in other states, where we might attend a meeting to better organize and assure its passage this time. Perhaps a little side bar with some info on Reproductive Health & Rights Lobby Day on Monday, February 28 in Olympia.

What I got instead were some jokes about praying, condoms, and scratch tickets (and the uproarious line "while pointing at my vagina"). But I had to remind myself that this is an entertainment newspaper, even if its subject matter sometimes falls under the guise of news.

http://www.prochoicewashington.org/getin…
Posted by SMAJ on February 20, 2011 at 9:26 PM · Report this
123
@102 - thank you for saying you should leave the interpretation of medical literature up to medical professionals - scientists make bold statements to make their work sound fascinating, and that's why other scientists are trained to skeptically review their methodology and data, not just accept their claims. The general public is not. I'm halfway to my M.D., and partway into a Ph.D., so while I'm not a full professional, I know a thing or two about interpreting the literature. First of all, those papers are old. In scientific terms, anything published more than 5 years ago should be read very carefully, and should prompt a search for newer information. The site claiming that a number of studies were "at least 95% confident" (and this is a misuse of a statistical term that isn't nearly as firm as he makes it sound) that abortion causes breast cancer doesn't cite anything more recent than 1999. In Dr. Daling's article (J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 1994 Nov2, 86(21):1569-70), the authors themselves state "However, the results across all epidemiologic studies of this premise are inconsistent--both overall and within specific subgroups. The risk of breast cancer should be reexamined in future studies..." I can't do a full review of the literature here, so I'm going to defer to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists statement from 2009. They conclude that early studies were flawed and that more recent rigorous studies do not suggest a causal role of elective abortion in breast cancer. It is the responsibility of a medical professional to give their patient all of the current information they might reasonably need to make a decision. It is also their responsibility to dispel misinformation a patient quotes from a source they found on the internet.
Posted by Gwynn on February 20, 2011 at 9:53 PM · Report this
124
@102 - thank you for saying you should leave the interpretation of medical literature up to medical professionals - scientists make bold statements to make their work sound fascinating, and that's why other scientists are trained to skeptically review their methodology and data, not just accept their claims. The general public is not. I'm halfway to my M.D., and partway into a Ph.D., so while I'm not a full professional, I know a thing or two about interpreting the literature. First of all, those papers are old. In scientific terms, anything published more than 5 years ago should be read very carefully, and should prompt a search for newer information. The site claiming that a number of studies were "at least 95% confident" (and this is a misuse of a statistical term that isn't nearly as firm as he makes it sound) that abortion causes breast cancer doesn't cite anything more recent than 1999. In Dr. Daling's article (J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 1994 Nov2, 86(21):1569-70), the authors themselves state "However, the results across all epidemiologic studies of this premise are inconsistent--both overall and within specific subgroups. The risk of breast cancer should be reexamined in future studies..." I can't do a full review of the literature here, so I'm going to defer to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists statement from 2009. They conclude that early studies were flawed and that more recent, more rigorous studies do not suggest a causal role of elective abortion in breast cancer. It is the responsibility of a medical professional to give their patient all of the current information they might reasonably need to make a decision. It is also the role of a medical professional to dispel misinformation a patient may have found in an old, misguided, or deliberately misleading article on the internet.
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Posted by Gwynn on February 20, 2011 at 10:00 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 125
@118,
They never said to me "I would prefer my child was dead," they say "I would prefer never having had gone through it at all."

They're saying they wish they never had a child at all, not that they wish they had a child and that child subsequently died.

Yes, it is most certainly complicated. And it's most certainly not a black and white, "you're either 100% for it or 100% against it" situation either.

I felt, and still feel, very bad for both of them. Just from knowing them, I know they suffered a lot from their experiences.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 21, 2011 at 6:20 AM · Report this
126
As a former "pro-choice liberal" who used to love, support and volunteer for Planned Parenthood, I was never someone who WANTED women to have to choose abortion and I indeed thought they were preventing abortions by providing women with ALL options of BC, adoption and parenting. But they don't make their money from providing 'safe sex' information! They only make it by killing babies, lying to and hurting women. http://www.abortionfacts.com/online_book…

Over 50,000,000 babies have been killed since Roe v. Wade.

"Maybe it's working, because I'm genuinely panicking about the results of my pregnancy test. I'm probably not pregnant; I use birth control. But if you're sexually active, there's always the risk of pregnancy."

---So if this is the case and you are responsible enough to make that kind of "adult" decision, is it responsible to kill the human child that is growing inside of you out of convenience? I cannot speak from experience but I have friends who have had multiple abortions and it's still affecting them today. How is that helping women? Even if they HAVE had post-abortive counseling, that guilt may never go away and that's no way to live life.

"Gig Harbor is my first stop. I'm nervous. Also, I'm a little baffled by Diane's line of questioning. She's asking about my drug and alcohol use, about my partner's drug and alcohol use, if I have a good emotional support system in my life, how long I've been in a relationship, and if he beats me. These are the kinds of questions I would expect from a medical professional, but Diane is "just a mom and a Christian." (She does introduce me to a nurse in the hallway.) I have no idea why a pregnancy center that doesn't offer medical services would need to collect such information, but I answer honestly."

---As a Christian I will say that we are called to care and love others and if someone EVER treats you in a nasty way yet calls themselves Christians, they lie and they will have to answer to the Lord Himself. (If the subject of judgement ever comes up, know that we as Christians can judge ACTIONS, not hearts. http://www.gotquestions.org/do-not-judge…. And if we are hypocrites and doing the same actions as unbelievers, we are just as guilty to be judged (our actions) by others and eternally by the Lord.) If you were to answer yes to some of those questions, the worker may sense that you were not wanting an abortion for yourself but because of someone else. If you were being abused or had problems with drugs, there are rehabilitation centers and shelters (probably Christian-based) for women who experience intimate partner violence that they can make referrals to. Many times women who don't have a support system or relatively stable lives feel like they wouldn't be able to support a child and that abortion is their only option when it shouldn't be. Parenting is never easy to begin with, but discarding of a life should not have to be the answer.

"The centers often won't give women their results in writing, which they need to qualify for medical coupons or Women, Infants, and Children programs in Washington. They refuse to issue referrals for services they can't provide and morally object to. And when women visit these centers, they have no guarantee that their medical information will be kept private—again, the centers aren't obliged to follow standard HIPAA privacy regulations because they're not medically licensed businesses."

What?? Why would they not give women the written results so they can get the supplies to care for their child?! That doesn't make sense.. This kind of practice to "not keep medical information private" is absolutely not OKAY. The goal is supposed to be to help women make better choices which doesn't involve harming themselves or their children but I don't see how lying does that. Dishonesty depletes credibility. If you believed 'meat is murder' as an animal rights activist, would you refer someone to a burger place?

"She might not question "facts" like the "fact" that abortion leads to suicidal thoughts, breast cancer, infertility, and death for many women. She won't be able to forgive herself. Even rape victims aren't able to forgive themselves."

Abortion can indeed lead to suicidal thoughts, especially if there is no post-abortive counseling. Abortion is taking a life. And when many women look back on what they did, they feel guilt and shame and maybe no one to turn to. But God is always there to forgive them and give them new lives. He is a God of redemption and forgiveness and I can personally attest to that. With time and God's mercy comes healing, and piecing back together your life.
Both of my friends who had abortions (more than once) did tell me that their doctor or whoever performed their abortions said they may not be able to have children when they wanted to! This truly saddens me. How is that ok or safe? Abortion also CAN lead to death. There have been others, but even ONE report of an injury during an abortion (Feb 15) is not ok! Instruments may not be sterilized properly, because they want more women to have abortions, they rush patients in and out without any counseling or groups to go to. So if they go home and the procedure caused internal damage or infection, they have to go to the hospital and their fate may not be what they were expecting it to be. It may be rare for this to happen, but it should not be happening to any of our fellow women AT ALL!

For someone, especially a Christian, to say something like 'rape victims can't even forgive themselves' is absolutely deplorable! There is forgiveness and they should know that!! Guilting and shaming women is not going to get them to trust or listen to you, especially when it comes to two human lives. NO ONE should ever say something like that! I know you were not pregnant, but I want to apologize on behalf of them because that was very wrong.
I hate that these places are dishonestly advertising services. Please know that real Christians are only trying to help and love BOTH of them and provide better opportunities. There are genuine people who only have the heart of Jesus in these situations and that they are not trying to control you. Jeremiah 1:5 says "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." He knew us BEFORE we were born and that He had plans for us despite the circumstances. I was on the other side for 6 years, but God had other plans for my life.

There are other things that go along with this issue: knowing that Jesus Christ loves you, knows you're beautiful, and died for you, sex is a beautiful way that God reveals Himself through the covenant of marriage for one man and one woman, waiting for your spouse for sex is very rewarding, children are a blessing and God can take children from rape and incest and use them for amazing purposes! God will also heal victims of rape and incest. Think about the rapists and disgusting men who have committed incest who would have been caught and punished had those children been born!

I know it sounds crazy because I once thought so too, but I was where you all were not too long ago. When you realize that there is a loving God who wants to be everything you need, you'll understand why Christians are so opposed to abortion. These are our children and the enemy wants to kill them! Children are always a blessing but it is the action of rape and incest that is from the enemy!

Please know there ARE honest and credible pregnancy crisis centers who want nothing more than to truly help women and support LIFE, not death, for everyone.

My prayers for you all to see the light in this dark world. May you be led to God and declare His word truth, His son Savior and His ways just.
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Posted by bant on February 21, 2011 at 7:59 AM · Report this
127
If you are old enough to think you might be pregnant, you are old enough to figure out which groups have "Christian" agendas and which groups don't.
Sure, it would be nice, in a truth in advertising sense, if the anti-abortion centers would put great big crosses on their roof, like churches, or Republican elephants bearing tea bags in their trunks, so you could identify them at a glance.
But any time you are going to a private company for "anonymous" medical advice or treatment, you know somebody's money is behind it.
These are more likely Catholic organizations than generically Christian, but the ones you describe are all socially conservative. Some might even be Mormon. An internet search before one goes to such a place would reveal its affiliation, if any.
A county free clinic is much more likely to give real medical advice rather than religious counseling.
Posted by AndreaE on February 21, 2011 at 10:39 AM · Report this
128
@126:

1) If a woman does not believe your Magic Sky Fairy exists, telling her stories about how Magic Sky Fairy will punish her rapist in heaven is not terribly much comfort.

2) You seem to be saying that as long as there is the possibility that even one abortion could go wrong and hurt the woman, abortion should be illegal. In any surgical procedure there is the potential for something to go wrong... should heart surgery, root canals, and cancer operations be illegal too?

Finally... I am a vegetarian but if I ran the tourist information booth in town and someone came to me asking where to get a burger, I would tell them - because if I am advertising unbiased information and help, that's what I am obligated to provide. If my information booth was clearly labeled "Vegetarian Tourist Information", only then would I feel justified in providing partial and incomplete information.

We get that Christians believe certain things and CHOOSE to be bound by certain spiritual guidelines. Fine, but like it or not many people are not Christian and we have a right not to be controlled by the rules of someone else's religion.

Posted by Andrea12 on February 21, 2011 at 11:21 AM · Report this
129
Walk for Choice Feb 26 at 12pm.
Broadway & Pine - Capital Hill

http://walk4choicesea.tumblr.com/links

We have a VOICE, we have a CHOICE!
Posted by sarisea on February 21, 2011 at 11:50 AM · Report this
130
Great article, Cienna. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. As a guy who agrees that a woman should have the option to do what she thinks is best, I think it's important for this health care option (pregnancy termination) to be safe and legal. As a guy who has a daughter whose first home was Shanghai, I've got to let you know how much my wife and I appreciated the courage of the birth-mother who made the child available to us. These decisions are too important and too personal to insist that others agree with our own point of view - that's why I'm also grateful for another article written by someone else who thought carefully about what they wrote. http://www.theweek.com/article/index/212…
The question I want to ask some of you folks who are remarkably certain of your point of view (apparently, to the exclusion of others') would you *really* talk to each other that way in a face-to-face setting?
Come on good people, pay attention to Rodney King.
All Respect - Deeve
Posted by Deeve on February 21, 2011 at 11:52 AM · Report this
aerie 131
@127:

In the south, these 'clinics' are all over the place and are most certainly *not* Catholic; since the southern Baptists have decided that they are headed for hell with the rest of us.

These "pregnancy care centers" are easy to spot for most of us, but you would be shocked at the level of ignorance that exists in these southern, rural areas. A lot of them are clueless to their own basic female anatomy & some really *don't* know where babies come from (technically speaking). Some of these young women (and men) come from multi-generational pools of abject poverty & ignorance that is unlikely to improve in the near or distant future.
Posted by aerie on February 21, 2011 at 1:19 PM · Report this
132
I love reading The Stranger. I learn so much about liberal/leftist hypocracy. These Christians sincerely believe that life starts somewhere before passage through the vaginal canal and are working hard to provide alternatives to abortion. Yet when a Christian actually stands up for their beliefs, they are labeled intolerant. Heaven forbid that they didn't assist this young woman intending to abort her baby. The poor woman engaged in risky behavior with a novelty condom and now thinks the world owes her compassion just because she might be pregnant. When she doesn't get what she wants she criticizes people who stand by their convictions. She expects Chritians to throw away their convictions because she was upset! She narrowly defines how a Christian should behave and then chastizes them when they don't meet her expectation. Does this woman not know about how Jesus acted when he found money-changes in the temple? He turned over their tables and ran them out. That doesn't sound very "Christ-Like" does it? Theses exchanger might have had their feelings hurt. What a pity.

I just once wish the left would look at it's own intolerance. As for denying science the left refuses to consider life may begin inside of the womb and consistently refers to the baby as a fetus even when it is a viable baby. They ignore that the life has different DNA and is therefore not a part of the woman's body. However, the left treats it like it was a parasite. They work against any parental concent laws for minors because they might loose the chance to kill one more baby. Like all businesses it is about the money. Abortion clinics are money driven and greedily seek to end any pregnancy they can. That is why they don't want to let a woman walk out of the clinic. I have known women who felt just as coerced inside a abortion clinic to have an abortion as this writer claims she did to save the baby? Which one is trying to save an life and which one is profiting from their actions?

Abortion is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It is like burning down your house because it has termites. Hardly any woman dies from a healty pregnancy anymore, yet the left frequently touts the "dangers of pregnancy".

The left actually thinks aborting a baby is good. In reality, their are a lot of couples, straight or gay who would happily give these babies a home. Isn't that better than killing it?

The numbskull who commented that he knew some women who felt guilt when they gave away their baby stated that they would not have if they had aborted earlier. Well maybe they would have felt guilt either way, but with adoption, the life of the baby is saved and the adopting parents have the joy of this child! Big difference don't you think?
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Posted by TheLiberator on February 21, 2011 at 6:34 PM · Report this
133
I see another example of liberal bias in the commenter who just painted Southern Christians as ignorant to the point they don't know where babies come from. I doubt if this person has ever been to the South other than maybe driving through, yet apparently is an expert on all things Southern. Liberals would be the first to castigate such a person as making such statements if the stereotype was about one of their sacred cows. Hypocracy run amok.
Posted by TheLiberator on February 21, 2011 at 6:48 PM · Report this
pastaefagoli 134
Hey @132: my cervical cancer has different DNA than the rest of my body too, I suppose that should be left where it is as well?
Posted by pastaefagoli on February 21, 2011 at 6:48 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 135
Here is a shortened version of what @132 said:

"I am holier than thou."
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 21, 2011 at 7:16 PM · Report this
auntie jim 136
A related issue is the constant drumbeat to legalize "concience" as an excuse for a pharmacist to refuse to provide contraceptives. If it becomes allowable, pharmacies where contraception is available could face picketing, stalking, harrassment and violence.
Excellent article, I see the outfit nearest my home is still there.
Posted by auntie jim http://www.gaysnohomish.org on February 21, 2011 at 7:36 PM · Report this
137
134 - you are being absurd.

136 - The left doesn't know the definition of "a right". What you are talking about is an obligation for one person to behave differently than there conscience. For the government to do so is coercion. A right is something that the government can't prevent you some doing. There is no "right to healthcare". We may argue it is an obligation, but I doubt most people could push their beliefs off on someone else if they were honest about it.

135 - typical liberal tactic - a person on the right states their opinion and instead of arguing the facts, they are labeled racist, homophobic, bigoted, etc. etc. I think liberals are either to afraid to think deeply about the positions presented by the right or it is far easier to just dismiss it by conjuring up epithets.

Back to the article - the author uses the argument that she is not mature enough to take care of a child. I know of several women who say that thier child required them to grow up and be responsible and they were better for it. In the past people wanted to grow up and become responsible. Today it is apparently ok to stay infantile and self-centered.
Posted by TheLiberator on February 21, 2011 at 7:57 PM · Report this
138
@TheLiberator But you were being bigoted. The vast majority of the right has no deep positions, and they put to shame the GOOD members of the right who have valid positions and arguments but see their voices covered by the sheer stupidity of the right mass. I'm have a mix of right and left-leaning positions, but I feel ashamed to admit that some of my positions are right leaning because of morons like you.
Posted by Anon500 on February 21, 2011 at 9:14 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 139
@137,
Oh, sorry to use a "Typical Liberal Tactic." Is that a trademarked term, by the way? Is there a "Typical Conservative Tactic" as well?

Fine. You begin with
a person on the right states their opinion and instead of arguing the facts, they are labeled...
Are you suggesting that your opinions are facts? Are you suggesting that the opinions of the right are so superior to the opinion of the left that the left can only counter the right's opinions with facts? Whatever.
I think liberals are either to afraid to think deeply about the positions presented by the right or it is far easier to just dismiss it by conjuring up epithets
I could say exactly the same thing about conservatives. So this "point" advances us nowhere.
Back to the article - the author uses the argument that she is not mature enough to take care of a child. I know of several women who say that thier child required them to grow up and be responsible and they were better for it.
You're countering my personal anecdote with a personal anecdote of your own. Again, we've advanced nowhere.
In the past people wanted to grow up and become responsible. Today it is apparently ok to stay infantile and self-centered.
A false generalization. "Everything was so much better before! Why, oh why can't we go back to the good ole' days?" Do I really need to educate you on history (recent history even) to show you how the good ole' days were only good if you were white, male, protestant, straight, and wealthy? Growing pains are ugly, but they lead to a better character. The so-called "good old days" concealed a rotten undergrowth that needed to be painfully ripped into modern society. Something that's still occurring, by the way (pssst... gays are still discriminated against, in case you didn't know).

As for your original post @132? Well shit, where to begin? The entire thing is about "The left just loves to kill babies! They make money killing babies! Those good christians only want to save the babies! Why should the good christians be forced to give them information they ask for? They are saving babies!"

Your post is nothing but an emotional mess. My posts were nothing but emotional messes too, but I didn't justify or villify the actions of the women that I knew... all I said was, they suffered and they both specifically told me they wished they had gotten abortions. I didn't judge either of them. I just listened and tried the best I could to sympathize and comfort them.

What I wrote was far closer to fact than anything you wrote.

Abortion is a difficult, painful, personal decision. Anti-abortionist zealots who can only see what their masters command them to see want everyone to believe abortion is a purely black and white issue... that only irresponsible and selfish girls throw away their birth control and fuck every man they see, in the hopes they'll get pregnant so they can murder their babies in pledges to satan.

Anti-abortion zealots spread lies, because they feel the ends justify the means.

The truth is complicated and mutifaceted. Women of all walks of life have to contemplate this difficult decision. And they're really the only ones who are forced to actually live with it too. You call them irresponsible? I say it's one of the most responsible decisions anyone can make in their entire life. To choose to bring another person into the chaos and indifference and harshness of life completely unprepared and on their own? Or to spare another person from misery they KNOW that person will suffer.

Life is not an embryo. Life is not a fetus. Life is not a baby. Life is not a child.

Life lasts a long time, and I assure you, there are many people who wish life had never been given to them in the first place (you've heard of suicide, yes? It's a leading cause of death in young people in case you didn't know).

Conservatives only care about birth. They just want that fetus to pop out the vagina, and then it's "so long, fucker, you're on your own now! See you in prison, in the morgue, or in hell most likely!" I've barely understoody WHY they only care about that, but I do know that's the truth. It's too bad, because it misses the point entirely. But then again, conservatives miss the point on entirely too many things.
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Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 21, 2011 at 9:30 PM · Report this
140
I feel the need to say this anytime I can spare the time typing when the whole fetus-sucking debate comes up :

I am SUPER careful about not getting pregnant and VERY rarely even have penile-vaginal penetrative sex. I make the fact that I WOULD NOT under ANY circumstances have a baby at this point in my life if I got pregnant CRYSTAL CLEAR to any man I do have p-v penetrative sex with. I DO NOT want to have my tubes tied or whatever because 1) I can't afford it, 2) I'm too young, and 3) what if I change my mind and do want a kid someday (unlikely, but you never know).

MOST OF ALL I want everyone to know I would feel precisely ZERO remorse if I did have to have an abortion. You could try to shame me all day long and at best, you'll annoy me because you're wasting my time. I find it obnoxious, the worst kind of smug self-righteousness that anybody thinks they have a right or personal obligation to try to make me feel a certain way about a private medical procedure. Perhaps we should also try to show people who are about to have some sort of rare and risky operation how "scary" their surgery is so that they too can feel the full emotional impact of what other people project onto their circumstances.
Posted by screw you guys on February 21, 2011 at 10:57 PM · Report this
141
Cheer up Madrid! If you're a typical liberal woman you probably needed 6 pregnancy tests in a week for as many possible daddies. You killed 2 birds with one stone!

Call me crazy, but since you hate Christian organizations so much, why not just stop going to them? Planned Parenthood will be happy to enable prostitution, promiscuity, underage abortions or anything else with no values or morals whatever. No morals or ethics? Yeah, that would be a liberal for you.
Posted by don't go there dummy on February 21, 2011 at 11:36 PM · Report this
142
@141, I know reading may be hard, but I'd like to draw your attention to the following line in the article:

"When you visit their websites or call to make an appointment, it's rarely made clear that these are Christian organizations."

Next time, please read the article before posting. It will make you look less like an idiot while you're being an asshole.
Posted by Pro-choice guy on February 21, 2011 at 11:47 PM · Report this
pastaefagoli 143
@137: just pointing out the absurdity of your argument. Because really, there is no difference. A fetus contains cells which have all the DNA necessary to eventually become a human infant. So do cervical cancer cells (and the added bonus of retroviral DNA, making it distinct from me -- it's mother). Citing the fact that the fetus has distinct DNA from the mother is a bullshit argument. I mean, HeLa cells (cervical cancer!) are fucking immortal! Thank jeebus we've been keeping them alive, perhaps one day we'll have the knowledge to make a plate of them into a fetus. Maybe then you'd understand -- just because you believe in a higher power, and that life begins at conception, doesn't make it true.

Now STFU, and keep it in your pants. I mean, if the ladies have to, so should you, dipshit.
Posted by pastaefagoli on February 22, 2011 at 12:11 AM · Report this
144
#143 - I don't know of anyone who would want to keep cancer cells alive. Your point is nonsense and a futile attempt to distract from the fact that it is not just the woman's body that is affected by abortion, but an different body hosted by the woman.

# 139 apparently I touched a nerve, but you are still engaging is diversionary, distractive actions. The whole "good ol days" rant was one. I never said all things in the past were wonderful, but you built up your straw man and then attacked it.

And then there was the argument that the right doesn't care after they are born. It is a tired old hack and is a crock of lies. The left builds in its mind that the right is evil and therefore they can discount everthing they say.

The suicide argument is just precious. You must really hate your life to go there. So because a certain percentage of people kill themselves, then everyone who may be born under less than ideal circumstances can be justifiably killed for their own benefit. How about the people who would have wanted to live? That is what my argument is all about.
Posted by TheLiberator on February 22, 2011 at 6:58 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 145
@144,
I never said all things in the past were wonderful
Fine. But you DID say
In the past people wanted to grow up and become responsible. Today it is apparently ok to stay infantile and self-centered.
Which, as I said before, is a false generalization. There have been both responsible and irresponsible people in the past, just as there are responsible and irresponsible people today. To claim there were more at one time than the other is bullshit.

Everything you write is just your opinion. You think that clump of cells is a full human being who desperately wants to live. I don't hold that same opinion. I think that if left alone, there's a possibility it will become a full human being. But I don't feel any more remorse for destroying a not-yet-human clump of cells than I do for destroying any other random, unthinking, unfeeling, not human clump of cells.

If you have anything to offer other than emotional-fueled opinion, let's hear it.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 22, 2011 at 8:03 AM · Report this
146
Dear Anon500 - You accuse me of being bigoted but don't offer examples. Please enlighten me. I think you meant biased, but please clarify.
Posted by TheLiberator on February 22, 2011 at 8:06 AM · Report this
147
Dear Anon500 - You accuse me of being bigoted but don't offer examples. Please enlighten me. I think you meant biased, but please clarify.
Posted by TheLiberator on February 22, 2011 at 8:34 AM · Report this
148
Dear Urg, You only have to read historical literature and compare it to this publishedd article to determine that values have shifted in this country. Some values have changed for the better, but some have not. However the author who wrote this piece does advocate her perpetuated immaturity.

You accuse me of emotionalism, but iI am sitting here just as calm as I normally do. I think you areprojecting your emotional state onto me.

We obviously do have a difference of opinion. My opinion ties to save life. Yours attempt to take life. Weigh that for a while.

As to the clump of cells argument, in as little as 12 weeks from conception, the baby has fingers, toes, a beating heart, and brain activity. In any other environment that is considered life, but the abortionists consistently deny it as life. Just because the baby is not sentient does not determine its worth. The sentiient argument you made could be used against a baby tht has passed through the vaginal canal over a week past.
Posted by TheLiberator on February 22, 2011 at 8:56 AM · Report this
149
One of my comments wasn't posted. Hmm. Well here it is as best as I can remember.

I never said nor claimed to be a Christian. You don't have to be a Christian to oppose abortion. I do acknowledge that women have rights over their own body, just not when another life is at stake. I give priority to the unborn because as difficult as pregnancy can be, it is still a temporary problem. Abortion is permanent.

When Obama said his pay grade didn't allow him to say when life began, it was very telling. If you don't know isn't it better to side on the side caution especially since the abortion is irreversable. That is where I am. I would rather side with the unborn than the mother.
Posted by TheLiberator on February 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 150
@122, I've covered the bills extensively on Slog and in the paper. If only there was some sort of searchable database where you could find more information on them!

Posted by Cienna Madrid on February 22, 2011 at 12:11 PM · Report this
elizabethinseattle 151
Great article, Cienna!
Posted by elizabethinseattle on February 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM · Report this
152
I am anti-choice and lucky enough to live in a country where the law reflects my views. But these places sound truly awful. It is a shame that the people who need this information most are least likely to read your article :(
Posted by saoili on February 22, 2011 at 2:11 PM · Report this
153
@10: "I think the reason that they resort to these tactics is that they believe they are preventing murder. If i thought i was going to prevent a murder i would have no problem lying, cajoling, misleading or even bullying somebody. I hope that most people feel that way."

Scientologists bully, lie to, murder, and lock people up in internment camps because they think that psychologists are evil.

"I hope that most people feel that way".
Posted by you people who hope that anyone has "morality" are scum. on February 22, 2011 at 7:00 PM · Report this
154
First Number 11, you have to realize, that most of the "christian" women who work for these centers are the same women who do choose to adopt, foster, and travel around the globe to help children, women, and families. I don't see too many feminists doing this same thing. As for being licensed and following HIPPA laws. Abortion clinics are not licensed either, only the doctors are...same for the pregnancy clinics. Most of the women working in these clinics have been helped by the same clinics at some point in time, or they themselves have had abortions. They do NOT consider women who choose abortions murderers. They understand first hand the feelings of guilt and remorse that can come from these choices, all Three choices. These women working for these clinics and doctors and nurses, volunteer their time because of the deep love they feel for the women and the choices that lie ahead. It isn't to "force" a woman NOT to choose what she feels is right, but to make a fully informed decision and to fully have the ability to talk out anything she wants. a 99.7% approval rating is higher than just about ANY clinic that is out there. And I think the doctors and nurses that work for free would beg to differ that the pregnancy centers are not medical. All information is completely upfront that they do NOT and will NOT perform abortions or refer for abortions. I think Even Megan Burbank would tell you that she had to initial every line that states all of these facts before being seen. I think we are also failing to remember that although many women regret NOT having an abortion, How many more regret Having had an abortion? I think maybe it's a case of the grass is always greener on the other side. Maybe this is why the centers seem to stress abstinence. Is it not true that this is the only 100% effective way to not get pregnant or an STI or STD? It is hard to fight that fact. Some seem to think that we as humans are animalistic in our behaviors and cannot choose to abstain from sexual activity. It is an easy excuse to just say it is my body and I can do with it as I please. Yes it is, and no one is telling you otherwise, but there are MANY consequences to making this decision. Yes you can use birth control, But you and I know that it isn't 100% effective, and most young or immature women don't take it like they are supposed to therefore way less than 100% effective. Yes condoms are available and do help cut down the risk of STI's considerably but these too aren't used properly or effectively too much of the time. And then (even though most will disagree) there is a HUGE personal side of giving yourself away, to whomever you please. I don't care who you are, if you are completely honest with yourself, every time you have gone to bed with someone you barely knew you will wake up and regret it to some extent at some point, if not the next day.
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Posted by havingbeenthere on February 22, 2011 at 7:40 PM · Report this
155
@havingbeenthere...

I couldn't disagree more with your characterization of my sex life.
Posted by offfwhite on February 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM · Report this
156
Thanks for the article, research and visiting these centers. I'm spreading the word!
Posted by mycultlife on February 22, 2011 at 9:40 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 157
As a Catholic, I've listened to the "pro-life" glurge all my life.(and it is glurge: worse than an early 70's feminine deodorant commercial)

The fact remains: if a woman doesn't want to have a baby, she shouldn't have to. If nothing else, she should get accurate information about whether or not she's pregnant, and what all her options are under the truth in advertising and consumer protection laws.

If we as a nation really cared about the unborn, we'd have universal health care, and adequately funded public schools. But we're just a bunch of cheapskate prudes, willing to put up with BS like these pregnancy centers in order for us to feel superior and judgemental over women in tough circumstances.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay http://www.danlangdon.com on February 22, 2011 at 9:49 PM · Report this
158
Chalk me up as a woman who chose to give her baby away to a good family, who is satisfied, even happy, with the results of her decision, but who, in retrospect, wishes she had chosen to abort.

That's right. I wish I had aborted the baby instead of bearing her and giving her up for adoption. Maybe now I wouldn't be cursed with the physical changes of having a baby and giving her up (I had no follow-up care; the adoption agency dropped me like a hot brick after they had what they wanted from me), the social repercussions of being publicly pregnant, of losing my good job because of it, of having to tell future serious boyfriends I bore a child by another man and gave it away...
Posted by Speedwell on February 23, 2011 at 2:36 AM · Report this
159
Excellent article on a truly appalling set of practices.
Posted by jennined on February 23, 2011 at 9:40 AM · Report this
160
Excellent article.
Posted by jennined on February 23, 2011 at 9:44 AM · Report this
161
Whoops, double post. FORGIIIIIVE MEEEEEE!!!!!
Posted by jennined on February 23, 2011 at 10:00 AM · Report this
162
@125

"@118, They never said to me "I would prefer my child was dead," they say "I would prefer never having had gone through it at all." They're saying they wish they never had a child at all, not that they wish they had a child and that child subsequently died. Yes, it is most certainly complicated. And it's most certainly not a black and white, "you're either 100% for it or 100% against it" situation either." I felt, and still feel, very bad for both of them. Just from knowing them, I know they suffered a lot from their experiences."

Thank you for clarifying this. I'm sorry that they are still suffering from their decison -- it must have been such a heart wrenching one. I absolutely understand wanting the whole thing not to have happened.

That sort of situation is why my currently 1.5 year old daughter (and any subsequent children, male or female) will be reading "Cycle Savvy" http://tinyurl.com/4vec9l9 at age 9 or 10 and giving me a full report on it, as well as attending http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Whole_L… . I'm not under the illusion that we could prevent all unwanted pregnancies with better education about the emotional and physical aspects of sex, but I think it would be a good start.
Posted by 's complicated on February 23, 2011 at 5:09 PM · Report this
163
@TheLiberator: "As to the clump of cells argument, in as little as 12 weeks from conception, the baby has fingers, toes, a beating heart, and brain activity. In any other environment that is considered life, but the abortionists consistently deny it as life."

I agree: "that clump of cells" is a life, and technically it is human. But I disagree to the idea that it is a human person, with all the rights we usually consider part of what a human is. At the stages of development where abortions are usually carried out (about 90% of abortions in the US are performed within the first trimester, or 12 weeks, of the pregnancy), the embryo is simply not developed enough. Sure, there's brain activity there by week 12, as you say, but there's brain activity in cows as well (now, if you're a vegan, and opposed to the slaughter of animals as well, then we'll have to disagree, and I'll applaud your internal consistency even if I disagree with your conclusions. Actually, come to think of it, vegans should probably all be anti-abortionists).

A topic that seems not to be raised too often when it comes to abortions is the difference between early and late abortions. There's a very large difference in the development of a foetus from 10 weeks to 16 to 20 weeks. I am against late-stage abortions on request, and with what I know of foetal development, I think the laws used many places in Europe, where abortion is only freely available for the first trimester, strikes a good balance between choice and life. I could agree to 16 weeks, but allowing abortions without a sound medical reason beyond that stage is starting to stretch it. At 20 weeks, the foetus is possibly able to feel pain (though that is a debated topic), and at 21, it is technically viable (though the chances of survival at 21 weeks is really small). I'd prefer if there was a little bit of a safety margin on these numbers, so 12-16 weeks seems good.
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Posted by Thomas on February 23, 2011 at 6:08 PM · Report this
164
@Thomas...

The necessary corollary to limiting late-term abortions is increasing access. Unfortunately, the majority of late-term abortions that are not medically necessary are often late-term because the woman has hit obstacle after obstacle in trying to get the procedure done. Most notably, women are often "chasing the fee"... while they try to scrape up the money for an abortion, the price increases weekly as the pregnancy progresses.

Here's an excellent article on late-term abortions, and the myriad circumstances that lead to them:
http://abortiongang.org/2010/07/what-eve…
Posted by offfwhite on February 24, 2011 at 6:38 AM · Report this
165
Feature article: Fact or Fiction?

Really, Cienna? Really? Did you really go to the Gig Harbor Center first that day?

Did you really watch a video in the Gig Harbor Center?

Did you actually hear the director tell you about her pregnancy and the wonders of motherhood?

Did you really have to wait 20 minutes for your pregnancy test results?

Fact: If you were a patient at a center, because of confidentiality promised to a woman, those involved would not be able to disprove or prove what happened during an appointment. The center staff would keep its promise even if the patient told the world that events happened in ways that they didn't.

Fact: The Care Net Centers of Puget Sound: Lakewood, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Federal Way, Puyallup and Kenmore are licensed under board certified OB/GYNs as pregnancy medical clinics and have over 32 medical professionals providing medical services in the centers. Their licensure is with the physicians just like Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics or family planning clinics. These centers follow all applicable laws including OSHA, HIPAA,and CLIA.

Googling Megan Burbank shows that she is a member of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and other sources state that Cienna was at the hearings in Olympia supporting Planned Parenthood who is behind this bill to regulate pregnancy centers.

So, as interesting as this topic is, and as many comments as it has generated, this writer did not check her facts before writing this article which seems truly intolerant against centers whose main purpose is not to be a family planning clinic or an abortion clinic. These pregnancy medical clinics are for those women who wish to continue their pregnancies and need help and an extensive referral network to support them in their Choice for continuing their pregnancies and either parenting or placing their children for adoption.
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Posted by pso4her on February 24, 2011 at 12:04 PM · Report this
166
@124 You bring up some good points. Again, I am not a physician and defer the decision about what to inform a woman regarding possible risks that may be associated with their reproductive choices to the physicians who are responsible for their care.
Posted by Bethc on February 24, 2011 at 2:05 PM · Report this
167
@offfwhite: Agreed there. Abortions should, and indeed would have to be, be easily available in the first trimester, so that one could indeed practically be able to have one as early as possible.
Posted by Thomas on February 24, 2011 at 2:15 PM · Report this
168
Please don't "clump" all of us Christians into Hate mongers who are only in the business we are in to save some "cells" that are growing in womens bodies. We actually have a DEEP appreciation for the women themselves. As for my self, I have been on every side of this issue and as I have grown I have completely changed my entire life. IF only we could "convince" you of the miraculous difference in our lives AFTER finding the truth in God it would be astonishing. I wasn't raised christian, I didn't believe it, thought it was all fraudulent. I even fought on the abortion rights advocates side at one time. Finding myself pregnant at 19, I was referred to, at the time, Crisis Pregnancy centers. They did NOT force anything down my throat, in fact they were the only place that treated me like a friend rather than a "patient", but they did give sound advice. I never forgot that place. But they had no influence, overall, on my eventual Christ following. Later in life everything changed. I completely "woke up",I understand the position you are looking at it through You feel I "fell asleep" but you couldn't be further from the truth. I went on to have one more daughter and adopt a son from the foster care system at two days old. They are amazing. Best of all my son was born FROM a drug addicted mother, who tried unsuccessfully to abort him. He is here without a single side effect. He is a straight A student and the best thing that ever happened to our lives. Please don't tell us that we DON'T understand, when you REALLY Don't understand at all. I can completely remember seeing it from all of "your" perspectives, and I Clearly see how WRONG that was. But I don't intend to change your minds here. I am just stating the facts. Without a belief in God or the bible, there is Nothing wrong with the feelings you have, You can't be held accountable for something you don't truly understand.
I have Such a HUGE respect for women, and I WISH none of them would choose abortion, BUT I still realize it is 100% their decision. It is absolutely heartbreaking that 1 of 2 babies are aborted in King County, and 1of3 in Pierce. All I can tell you is that working with these girls first hand I have YET to find ONE that was using birth control consistently...NOT ONE that was using it while she got pregnant. NONE Use condoms on a regular basis. So it pretty much is being left to abortions being used as a form of birth control, yet none of the advocates seem to think anyone would choose this form of birth control. Tell that to the women that have had 3-10 abortions. I think even they would differ.

Since most of the NARAL and planned parenthood activist's believe in freedom of speech and the right to choose, why don't you just let the clinics exist? This is giving thousands of women a CHOICE..the choice to go somewhere that Has NEVER once Hurt someone physically..Yet you fight for abortion clinics that hurt women daily, physically and mentally. Some women will never regret the abortions they had but FAR more will.
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Posted by havingbeenthere on February 24, 2011 at 11:21 PM · Report this
169
I would like to answer your post, havingbeenthere, from the end to the beginning. Let me preface this by stating that I am not from the US, so some of my knowledge on the subject of US culture when it comes to these things may be lacking.

First, it's not their right to exist that is being attacked. As several people have pointed out, these clinics do indeed do good in some areas, and they're supposedly an excellent resource for women who choose to keep their baby (I can't really comment on that, as I have no experience with them, but I do believe this to be true). What they are attacking is the fact that at least some of the pregnancy centers (1) operate under a sort of false flag concept, where they are not up-front about their pro-life leanings, and (2) use outdated medical/scientific studies as propaganda to scare the women visiting them away from having an abortion. If these centers gave medically correct and balanced advice, but still were adamant on their stance on abortion, they would, in my book and most but the most extreme pro-choicers, be entirely accepted. It is the deception that at least some of these centers use as a tactic to scare women away from abortion (as opposed to trying to convince them with sound arguments) that we find despicable.

The lack of use of birth control is indeed a big problem, but I don't think it's one that is directly linked to the availability of abortion. What pro-choice activists mean when they say "no women use abortion as their primary form of birth control" is that very few women thinks that way. They don't go "meh, let's not use a condom, if I get pregnant, I can just have an abortion". What they think is more along the lines of "I'm in my safe period now, I won't get pregnant" or "it's not really going to happen to me", if they think about it at all (having been on an alcohol binge or two myself, I can safely state that if you're drunk enough, you're in no state to make responsible decisions). They delude themselves into thinking they won't become pregnant, and when they discover, a couple of weeks later, that they are, they fall to abortion as their way out.

What is needed is better education about birth control, as well as having it cheaply available (which, in the case of condoms, I suppose it really is). Abstinence-only sex education leads to lack of knowledge about safe sex, and while it may well cause a slight reduction in sexual activity among teens and young adults, those that do engage in sex engage in risiker sex, leading both to more STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

As for your comments regarding christianity, I can't really say much about that, so I won't. I will say that the Bible is somewhat muddier regarding the question of abortion than what most churches tend to teach. For example, according to the mosaic laws, causing a woman to miscarry is punishable by a fine as determined by the judges (Exodus 21:22). If the woman dies, however, it's considered murder and capital punishment is to be dealt out.

In fact, there are several American churches that are pro-choice, and don't find the Bible to condemn abortion.
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Posted by Thomas on February 25, 2011 at 5:24 AM · Report this
170
Perhaps somone should look into the Christian adoption agency practices - including 'unwed' mothers homes. Big business that focuses upon the profitable outcome instead of the woman in crisis.
Posted by vel on February 25, 2011 at 12:20 PM · Report this
171
Well well...who is the one that is fake? Cienna!
the center who is truthful and kind. That takes no government funds and supported by volunteers or the fake client who distorts, judges others and lies!
Posted by 4women on February 25, 2011 at 4:39 PM · Report this
172
Good article. I would have liked to hear more detail about the other centers visited.
Posted by worldcitizen on February 27, 2011 at 4:39 PM · Report this
173
For someone who basically agrees with the main points of this article, I couldn't even finish it because the tone/writing style was so insufferable.

Should these centers disclose what they are right away? Absolutely.

Is it ok that they try to pass themselves off as medical centers or push blatantly untrue facts about abortion on pregnant women? Absolutely not, and this should be written into law.

Should Cienna Madrid try to tone down the self-righteousness just a bit, and not characterize all Christians as liars and condescending assholes? Perhaps. You know the only thing as obnoxious than a self-righteous, know-it-all, fundamentalist Christian? Someone of the same personality type who builds her identity around being a bad-ass, enlightened, sex-having victim/rebel against "Christians". This could have been a great piece of journalism if it had been written by just about anyone else.
Posted by I'm a sugar junkie too! on February 27, 2011 at 5:43 PM · Report this
174
I guess the moral of the story is don't be a sleazebag, slut of a whore and your life will be better. Wow, who ever thought it could be that simple.
Posted by God is not pleased on March 2, 2011 at 11:10 AM · Report this
175
Having heard about these "crisis" pregnancy centers for a long time, I'm glad this article made the community fore aware of them. Capitalizing on a woman in a bad situation is painful to think about, I'm a BIG fan of planned parenthood for this reason. Informative and understanding. Being a Liberal Catholic i do sometimes take offense to people categorically defining christians as conservative, deceptive, closed minded individuals, I have no problem with a womans right to choose. If I were a young woman in a situation I couldnt handle, I absolutely would choose termination of pregnancy.
Posted by katiebirdd on March 2, 2011 at 12:44 PM · Report this
176
Great idea for an article, well done.

My question is - what is the percentage of women (who would seek an answer to whether they are pregnant or not) who would use these "services" as opposed to buying a kit in a grocery store? Granted, the store-bought ones may not be 100% accurate but still.
Posted by jenn976 on March 2, 2011 at 2:37 PM · Report this
177
@176

It's not just the pregnancy test most clients are seeking, but options counseling and information as to "What next?" if the test is positive. Also, many have already used an OTC test and know they are pregnant, but most clinics (crisis pregnancy center and comprehensive clinics) will perform their own test to confirm.
Posted by offfwhite on March 4, 2011 at 1:42 PM · Report this
178
This is for the scumbag who lied about about only 3% of planned parenthood's funding coming from abortion. That is a lie and the fact that you and anyone associated with you believes that is insanity, please give a source. The mere fact that you would try to mitigate abortion proves your misgivings about killing a silent and underdeveloped human. Why not extend child killing rights to 9 month out-of-the-womb babies as they are not fully developed humans?
Posted by sleazminx on March 5, 2011 at 9:04 PM · Report this
179
Just in case you come back in France: it's called Planning Familial.
Posted by Kyrie on March 16, 2011 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Geni 180
Lying weakens their position immensely from a moral standpoint. Basically, if you feel you have the moral high ground ("preventing the murder of babies"), there is zero reason to lie about condom effectiveness, the psychological effects of abortion, invent spurious claims of cancers, etc. You already have the argument that you feel trumps everything else ("babies!"). The fact that they feel the need to lie about so many other things makes it clear they do not have the courage of their convictions.
Posted by Geni on March 17, 2011 at 2:12 PM · Report this
181
One thing that is not mentioned is that the emotional effects post-miscarriage are much the same as what these "crisis pregnancy centers" claim are what happens after a procured abortion. Nothing like finding your wanted pregnancy has expired, but not been expelled, and having it labeled a "missed abortion". There is a lot of emotional fallout from that, as well, including depression.
Posted by miscarried on March 26, 2011 at 8:34 PM · Report this
182
@miscarried (181)...

I am sorry for your loss, but miscarriage and its emotional fall-out are irrelevant here. Women with wanted pregnancies do not go to these "clinics," and the emotional fallout of the miscarriage of a wanted pregnancy is due to a very different relationship with the fetus than a woman has with an unwanted pregnancy. It's a false equivalence.

No one is saying the emotional fall-out CPCs claim comes from abortion doesn't exist, it's just not necessarily a likely outcome of abortion.
Posted by offfwhite on March 31, 2011 at 7:20 AM · Report this
183
When oh when will some coherency come to this cultural clusterfuck of a hot issue?

I'm neither liberal or conservative. I try to not root for a team but look for what's true and support that. We should think for ourselves and stop watching the news/reading everything planned parenthood promulgates (if this was a red state, I'd say stop listening to everything focus on the family says). Lets get some other opinions and stop treating this like it's an issue about treating women well. It's an issue about women wanting to be as careless, disrespecting of themselves and hopeless as the men who knock them up. Men get to walk away from sex and not have any physical worries about being attached to a child. Why shouldn't women get to too? But this is irresponsible, defeated logic. Women, be strong and set the example for men. Men, we need to stop objectifying women and take responsibility for the sexual decisions we make. We all learned in 5th grade what sperm is and where babies come from.

As a society, we do have an interesting issue that most generations haven't had to deal with to the degree we do. In agrarian culture kids were a massive plus. It's only the last hundred years they've become an economic drain. Industrial, consumer culture has brought us to the place we are with kids and self-absorbtion. But we still need to make the right choices as a culture and individuals. It's no more ok to not take responsibility for babymaking as it is for not taking responsibility for our clothes being made in sweatshops or our economy raping the environment.

The ironic thing is that the West's obsession with individual choice and freewill comes from Christianity's influence (at very least on Locke and his influence) on us. History 101, really.

Lastly, I hope the language I used wasn't too divisive. We all believe what we believe and only open-mindedness and existential revelation can change it. I just hope we can take a sober look at this issue and not let our emotions continue to be fuel for corporate media advertising salespeople. The madder you get while watching your favorite talking head, the more $ they make.
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Posted by GuitFu on July 21, 2011 at 11:47 PM · Report this
184
When oh when will some coherency come to this cultural clusterfuck of a hot issue?

I'm neither liberal or conservative. I try to not root for a team but look for what's true and support that. We should think for ourselves and stop watching the news/reading everything planned parenthood promulgates (if this was a red state, I'd say stop listening to everything focus on the family says). Lets get some other opinions and stop treating this like it's an issue about treating women well. It's an issue about women wanting to be as careless, disrespecting of themselves and hopeless as the men who knock them up. Men get to walk away from sex and not have any physical worries about being attached to a child. Why shouldn't women get to too? But this is irresponsible, defeated logic. Women, be strong and set the example for men. Men, we need to stop objectifying women and take responsibility for the sexual decisions we make. We all learned in 5th grade what sperm is and where babies come from.

As a society, we do have an interesting issue that most generations haven't had to deal with to the degree we do. In agrarian culture kids were a massive plus. It's only the last hundred years they've become an economic drain. Industrial, consumer culture has brought us to the place we are with kids and self-absorbtion. But we still need to make the right choices as a culture and individuals. It's no more ok to not take responsibility for babymaking as it is for not taking responsibility for our clothes being made in sweatshops or our economy raping the environment.

The ironic thing is that the West's obsession with individual choice and freewill comes from Christianity's influence (at very least on Locke and his influence) on us. History 101, really.

Lastly, I hope the language I used wasn't too divisive. We all believe what we believe and only open-mindedness and existential revelation can change it. I just hope we can take a sober look at this issue and not let our emotions continue to be fuel for corporate media advertising salespeople. The madder you get while watching your favorite talking head, the more $ they make.
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Posted by GuitFu on July 21, 2011 at 11:51 PM · Report this
185
I think it would be far harder to have a baby and give it away. How could you not think about if the people you gave it to would give it a good home or if they would mistreat it? There are too many kids already starving and neglected in this world. Why don't the people who run these clinics stop preaching about creating more overpopulation of this planet and adopt and care for those neglected babies?

Posted by juss on February 18, 2012 at 8:32 AM · Report this
186
I truly weep for all of you kind Christians who have the misfortune of being lumped in with the bigots... Except, no, I don't. You have a voice. Use it. You want people to stop lumping you in with the vocal majority of Christians? Prove you're not them, and not just by popping up and saying "but not all Christians are like that!"

As far as all of the anti-choicers, I believe that a BORN child has the right to be loved, wanted, cared for, and well educated over the "right" of a fetus to be born. Pregnancy can be a dangerous condition for a mother, but a life in poverty can be even more dangerous for a child.

Every mother should be willing and every child should be wanted.
Posted by Dragonlady on May 9, 2012 at 10:13 PM · Report this
187
All I can say is you shouldn't believe everything you read. I work at a CPC that is licensed, has medical professionals staffing it and we do comply with HIPPA regulations. We do what we do because we care about women and their children and we don't take one dime from our patients for the care they receive. We offer first trimester OB care, free ultrasounds, free STD testing, free housing at our maternity home, free diapers, baby supplies, parenting classes, life-skills classes, etc. etc. etc. It would be nice to see an honest look at the CPCs and an acknowledgement of the services they provide that no one else is providing.
Posted by Sadie567 on November 21, 2013 at 9:05 PM · Report this
188
@187 The easiest part of all would be to call the state and find out who's licensed and who's not. You don't even have to leave the house. Apparently you are at a place that is an exception, rather than the rule as you are in fact licensed and are HIPPA compliant. Most CPCs aren't apparently. Does your CPC also not tell people they are Christian and anti-abortion before they receive treatment?

I'm also curious - only providing first semester OB care implies that you don't have OBGYNs or even OB nurse practitioners on staff. Is that the case?
Posted by gnot on April 29, 2014 at 9:38 PM · Report this

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