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Friday, August 4, 2017
MRC Pretends Crisis Pregnancy Centers Don't Mislead Women
Topic: Media Research Center

Stories abound of crisis pregnancy centers -- typically run by anti-abortion activists -- misleading women who visit them with fearmongering about abortion and even emotional coercion. But the Media Research Center is actively trying to deny that fact.

In a May 31 MRC post, for instance, Sarah Stites claimed that "while outlets like MSNBC have questioned whether crisis pregnancy centers are 'misleading,' and host Rachel Maddow calls them 'fake abortion clinics,' these organizations provide women with help and support during difficult times."

A few days later, Stites asserted that it was a "false narrative" to point out the pretty well established fact that "crisis pregnancy centers are misleading, coercive and dangerous to women." She went on to play stenographer for a crisis pregnancy center fighting a law requiring that they post a sign stating that they don't perform abortions," whining that it was "compelled speech" and that "the receptionist says ‘we don’t provide abortions,’ but she says it with her own voice, not because she’s been forced to" is good enough. Stites framed this reasonable disclosure as "hostility to religion," even though she provided no evidence the law specifically singles out any religion.

In a June 23 post, Matthew Balan dismissed the documented tactics of crisis pregnancy centers as nothing but "left-wing spin."

The latest instance is a July 25 post by Tom Blumer complaining about an Associated Press article about a similar law in Seattle:

In this story, the AP's headline writer and the story's reporter wouldn't even allow the words "crisis pregnancy centers" to appear without including scare quotes which explicitly question the term's legitimacy — even though there are at least nine national networks of honest-to-goodness crisis pregnancy centers.

Here's what crisis pregnancy centers do:

Crisis pregnancy centers typically provide women with the following free services: pregnancy tests, caring and confidential counseling from trained professionals, medical referrals, abortion and adoption information, information about medical insurance or government assistance, temporary shelter, and much more.
You ... can likely find a crisis pregnancy center near you in the yellow pages of your local phonebook (e.g., under "Abortion Alternatives" or "Pregnancy Counseling").

The supposed need for this regulation was an investigation by undercover "trained volunteer college and law students" claiming that "the centers give medically inaccurate information about abortion and some don't tell patients that they don't provide abortions or make referrals involving abortion and contraception."

Care Net of Puget Sound, which has six crisis pregnancy centers in the region and is mentioned in the AP report, blasted that contention as "an absolute lie." Of course they don't provide abortions (and I'm sure they clearly tell patients that), and of course, as pro-life-driven, they won't make such referrals. The obvious question about this "investigation" should be: Where's the James O'Keefe-level video proof, with all the raw footage?

Given how O'Keefe's "video proof" has been demonstrated to be misleadingly edited, nobody wants that kind of "proof," and Blumer shouldn't either.

Also, Blumer's description of "what crisis pregnancy centers do" is copy-and-pasted directly from the website of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, which arguably has a bias on the issue in promoting such groups. And some of those "trained professionals" -- as trained by Care Net, at least, are apparently trained how to shepherd "broken" women toward Christ, which certainly seems far afield from its stated mission of helping pregnant women.

That sounds a lot like misleading women to us. The MRC should stop pretending crisis pregnancy centers don't do this, or that it's "left-wing spin" to point that fact out.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 4, 2017 2:11 PM EDT

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