"This is B.S., but you're trying to make me think it's true."
August 20, 2015 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Pregnant? Scared? Need Options? Too Bad: "The majority of pregnancy-center staff I've met are Evangelical Christians who say they're dedicated to helping women escape a cycle of premarital sex and spiritual pain. Yet at the conference, Heartbeat speakers coached center staff to scrub their websites of Christian references. Speakers also recommended pregnancy-center staff to discourage women and girls from not only abortion but also contraception by emphasizing disproven "negative consequences" and encouraging "sexual integrity," meaning sex only within heterosexual marriage. All of this is supported by tens of millions of federal and state dollars."

At least 11 states now directly fund crisis pregnancy centers. Employees of CPCs are not required to be trained or licensed, and are thus unbound by professional codes of ethics and free from the specter of malpractice lawsuits.

The United States government has long acknowledged that federally funded CPCs routinely disseminate false and misleading health information [PDF]. So why aren't crisis pregnancy centers illegal?

CPCs previously, previouslier.
posted by divined by radio (42 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
All of this is supported by tens of millions of federal and state dollars.

Yet not only has Federal funding of abortion been prohibited, via the Hyde amendment, for decades now, but said funding for Planned Parenthood's other reproductive health activities is now under assault thanks to yet another, entirely separate and distinct, campaign of lies.

So why aren't crisis pregnancy centers illegal?

I'd settle for just having their Federal funding withheld as long as they're in the business of disseminating false information with a hidden, Xtianist agenda.

These people need to be reminded that lying is a sin, too.
posted by Gelatin at 11:59 AM on August 20, 2015 [26 favorites]


[Several comments deleted. Let's rewind and start off without the "I don't see the problem," when the articles talk about what the problem is.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:41 PM on August 20, 2015 [14 favorites]


According to Real Alternatives' contract with the state, it reimburses a center just $2 each time a woman receives food, clothing, or furniture — a maximum of four times. That's a $24 cap for an individual pregnant woman's material needs. Centers may dispense more through donations. Still, the government program gives them the incentive to spend more time providing ideologically driven counseling, which is reimbursed at more than $1per minute, than they spend providing direct services.

In order for a woman to receive any material support, the program requires that she receive at least 20 minutes of counseling from staff, usually after taking a pregnancy test.
In other words, a state-funded church. Nice.
posted by klanawa at 12:46 PM on August 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


A state-funded church that actually harms the people it 'counsels'.
posted by jrochest at 12:49 PM on August 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


For an idea of where the CPC types come from here's this:

Infertile Couple to Planned Parenthood: You're Aborting Our Children

Because remember ladies: you must go through with a pregnancy so nice Christian couples have a better crop of babies to pick from! Of course, one wonders why they haven't already adopted. Lots of kids in foster care looking for parents.

CPCs themselves are nothing but a well-funded scam that sees pregnant women as their legitimate prey. That's bad enough, until you contemplate what a difference it would make in women's lives if that money went to Planned Parenthood or other types of women's healthcare.
posted by emjaybee at 12:51 PM on August 20, 2015 [17 favorites]


> For an idea of where the CPC types come from here's this:

Infertile Couple to Planned Parenthood: You're Aborting Our Children


Great leaping horror, could they be more entitled? Anyway, if God has decided to not give you the blessing of children, that's His will, right? Maybe He wants fewer kids raised by people like that.
posted by rtha at 12:55 PM on August 20, 2015 [22 favorites]


Infertile Couple to Planned Parenthood: You're Aborting Our Children

If there's a more explicit endorsement of the contention that the anti-abortion crowd views women's bodies as property, I can't really imagine it.
posted by Gelatin at 1:07 PM on August 20, 2015 [31 favorites]


A state-funded church that actually harms the people it 'counsels'.

Well, that's the thing. If you ask these people what they're doing they will be VERY sincere in stating and believing that they're helping rather than hurting -- if you believe that abortion is always murder, it's ideologically consistent. They're using various degrees of deceit to try to prevent what they view as a far greater evil. Hey, it beats their using gunfire and other violence, as many of their more zealous brethren have (shamefully) done.

If their message is so clear and their logic is so sound and their God so undeniable, why do they need to hide behind a false front and draw needy women in through false pretenses? Well, um, something something Satan's lies something something sin cursed world something corrupt society something er um cough cough mainstream media something Jesus.

While I loathe their lack of tolerance for any other viewpoint, in a way I have to respect their right to hold it. I can no more convince them that their faith-based belief that abortion is murder is wrong than they can convince me that my science-based belief that it isn't is wrong. I'm as much of a fanatic to them as they are to me.

What I can condemn are governments who pointedly take the side of specific religious groups in funding this kind of religious activism while ramming every restriction possible into the law to drive their opposite numbers out of town and out of state. If a church group wants to lead a moral crusade, fine, but leave the law and our tax dollars out of it. That belongs to all of us.
posted by delfin at 1:16 PM on August 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wonder how many of these self-appointed moral guardians appear on the Ashley Madison data slurp ...
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:27 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


While I loathe their lack of tolerance for any other viewpoint, in a way I have to respect their right to hold it.

But they don't hold to it -- they obfuscate their actual agenda, which is all the more shameful.
posted by Gelatin at 1:40 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


[A few comments deleted. resurrexit, your starting set of facts on this are pretty far out in a way that it makes a real conversation impossible. As in another recent thread on this, rather than have the thread turn into everybody vs you, I'm going to ask you to just leave it alone.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:41 PM on August 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


Its hard to argue that there isn't a need for real pregnancy crisis centers, but it's strange how evangelical Christians seem to be the only people who are actually interested in organizing, funding, and staffing them.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:09 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Its hard to argue that there isn't a need for real pregnancy crisis centers

What is a "real pregnancy crisis center"?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:23 PM on August 20, 2015


The kind that has protesters outside it on a regular basis, berating it for being a real pregnancy crisis center.
posted by delfin at 2:28 PM on August 20, 2015 [42 favorites]


> Its hard to argue that there isn't a need for real pregnancy crisis centers

From the website for the Planned Parenthood near me:

Services Offered

Abortion Services
Birth Control
HIV Testing & Services
LGBT Services
Men's Health Care
Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
Pregnancy Testing & Services
STD Testing, Treatment & Vaccines
Women's Health Care

"Pregnancy Testing & Services" includes:

pregnancy testing
abortion services
abortion referrals
adoption referrals
fertility awareness education
pregnancy planning services
trained staff to discuss your options with you if you are pregnant
trained staff to talk with you about early pregnancy loss (miscarriage)

Is there something specific that a "crisis pregnancy" (I assume this means an unplanned pregnancy) center ought to do or offer that isn't on these lists?
posted by rtha at 2:36 PM on August 20, 2015 [34 favorites]


Its hard to argue that there isn't a need for real pregnancy crisis centers, but it's strange how evangelical Christians seem to be the only people who are actually interested in organizing, funding, and staffing them.

This is so obviously untrue that I hope you're kidding...

Planned Parenthood provides counseling and medically accurate information about sexual health and pregnancy options to its patients, yet thousands of people -- evangelical Christians chief among them -- have spent years desperately attempting to defund them and salt the earth so nothing similar can rise in its place. There is literally nothing an evangelical CPC can offer that PP hasn't been doing more honestly, ethically, and professionally for decades.
posted by divined by radio at 2:36 PM on August 20, 2015 [47 favorites]


The kind that has protesters outside it on a regular basis, berating it for being a real pregnancy crisis center.

Seriously. In this era of doctored Planned Parenthood sting videos, it's the height of ridiculousness to say that there aren't other places where women can get the kind of educational and medical services that these places provide without the part where they're brow-beaten into carrying the pregnancy to term because God.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:38 PM on August 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


From what I understand of these faith-based pregnancy crisis centers, the material help they offer (diapers, mostly, and formula and other baby supplies) does, I'm sure, help a portion of the women who go in--those for whom a "crisis" pregnancy is still wanted, but it's an "oh shit I have no money and a limited support network" crisis. So that much is legit, probably.

However! It does not outweigh the vast harm done at these places. A place to get free diapers with some preaching does not outweigh legislation and a culture designed to punish women and mothers. Handing out diapers with scripture probably feels good for the person volunteering their time, but doesn't really affect the amount of suffering that an unprepared mother (and her child, and their family) will endure if having the baby presents a hardship. Planned Parenthood can help with that part, and social programs can help with that. If only we'd divest from these crummy faith-based organizations.
posted by witchen at 2:46 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is very upsetting and enraging for a multitude of reasons
posted by glaucon at 2:59 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just want to share that I regularly drive past a billboard advertising a CPC called "Chicks in Crisis".
posted by agentofselection at 3:00 PM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


if our right to choose wasn't so constantly under attack, planned parenthood or other organizations could probably have enough funds and time to hand out diapers and formula, but as it is we're pretty much spending all our time, organizational power, and resources on maintaining our reproductive rights.
posted by nadawi at 3:06 PM on August 20, 2015 [15 favorites]


20.00 worth of diapers and a can of formula isn't going to get you very far if you can't afford to have a baby at all.

A FB friend of mine who is firmly committed to being a moderate who is neither wholly liberal nor wholly conservative currently saying he has "concerns" about PP, so of course I immediately asked him what those might be, seeing as they've done nothing illegal and have already been completely exonerated in several states. No answer yet. He might just unfriend me. It's awkward, because his kid is my kid's bestie. Argh. I just want to go live in a hole sometimes.
posted by emjaybee at 3:19 PM on August 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


Remember that meme that "1984 was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual"? That now applies for "A Handmaid's Tale".
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:35 PM on August 20, 2015 [19 favorites]


it's also fascinating to me that the people behind these CPCs talk about how much we have to help women who want to be mothers out of one side of their mouths while encouraging legislation that removes aid from these women and their children. sure they give out diapers (that are usually donated or supplied from the tax free tithes of churches), but it's hard to see that as real charity with the politics they support.
posted by nadawi at 3:47 PM on August 20, 2015 [10 favorites]


It is also worth noting that some (many?) CPC's are, in fact, fronts for adoption mills. Step 1 being to convince the woman to go through with the pregnancy, step 2 to convince her that she's a horrible person and unfit to be a parent so she ought to give up the baby for adoption.

See here, here, and here.

They make quite a bit of money off every woman they convince to both carry the pregnancy to term and give the baby to an adoption agency which charges sky high fees to the adopting parents.
posted by sotonohito at 4:44 PM on August 20, 2015 [16 favorites]


I was going to say -- sometimes those places will hook you up with free medical care, housing, all kinds of stuff if AND ONLY IF you agree to place your baby for adoption. There's a place near me that will let mothers stay for six months after the birth of their child if they placed the baby for adoption (for free!) but only three weeks if they choose to parent. That's evil.
posted by KathrynT at 5:33 PM on August 20, 2015 [23 favorites]


> There's a place near me that will let mothers stay for six months after the birth of their child if they placed the baby for adoption (for free!) but only three weeks if they choose to parent.

Jesus wept.
posted by rtha at 5:56 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I feel like pregnant women have become the 'new homeless'. Christian organizations have been evangelicalizing to men and women for years to very basic resources of food and water. Literally some Shelters won't feed you unless you pray to their god.

I think crisis pregnancy centers are the same way- if you can't afford non judgemental care you get to take what you can with with a large dose of God for your soul (and your babies soul).

This is not what social services (and crisis pregnancy centers are a social service) should be about and it is terrifying that the government helps find these places to carry on their agenda.

I just want people to have all the options available to them and sound medical advice. That is not much to ask.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:20 PM on August 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


I recommend that young women between 16 and, say, 46, visit crisis pregnancy centers routinely. Get a free pregnancy test. You don't have to be pregnant or think you're pregnant or even have had sex recently or ever. Get a test and any other services. Talk to them calmly about your need for health care, not just for your pregnancy, but for you. Talk to them about your need to be safe from sexual assault. Talk to them about how much it sucks to not have equal pay. Talk to them about emotional labor, and how maybe they, almost certainly volunteers, are being exploited. Go once a month. In larger towns you can probably visit several a month.

Steal the little plastic fucking fetus while you're at it. That shit is creepy.
posted by theora55 at 6:31 PM on August 20, 2015 [25 favorites]


Enraging as it is that Federal tax dollars are going to these organizations, as far as I can tell pretty much all of the CPC's are created by/legitimized by/awarded contracts by/given legal cover and authority by state-level laws and politicians and bureaucrats.

Shit like this is why people need to pay attention to who the hell is getting voted into their state governments, and get our asses out to vote in non-Presidential-election years. It fucking matters.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:00 PM on August 20, 2015 [10 favorites]


Its hard to argue that there isn't a need for real pregnancy crisis centers, but it's strange how evangelical Christians seem to be the only people who are actually interested in organizing, funding, and staffing them.
There's a place near me that will let mothers stay for six months after the birth of their child if they placed the baby for adoption (for free!) but only three weeks if they choose to parent.
I just thought these two observations should be juxtaposed.
posted by gingerest at 8:51 PM on August 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


And so we stroll toward a fully dystopian future.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:24 AM on August 21, 2015


Well, I was on the fence about contributing to MoveOn.org's defense of Planned Parenthood, but as I read this, I was so horrified. So it's not much, but I could send them $10... Fuck these assholes trying to control women's bodies.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 12:59 AM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Blasdelb: "Its hard to argue that there isn't a need for real pregnancy crisis centers, but it's strange how evangelical Christians seem to be the only people who are actually interested in organizing, funding, and staffing them."

divined by radio: "This is so obviously untrue that I hope you're kidding...

Planned Parenthood provides counseling and medically accurate information about sexual health and pregnancy options to its patients, yet thousands of people -- evangelical Christians chief among them -- have spent years desperately attempting to defund them and salt the earth so nothing similar can rise in its place. There is literally nothing an evangelical CPC can offer that PP hasn't been doing more honestly, ethically, and professionally for decades.
"
There is a gap in the American safety net that might be hard to see, like a gap in a staircase you've never learned to notice, but it is horrifically massive and lethal to both women and infants. Most of the reasons why the US infant mortality rate is more than double what our wealth and healthcare spending should otherwise predict fall outside of Planned Parenthood's primarily medical mission and require much more social kinds of support to fix. What is missing is the direct financial and logistical support for families both before and after birth that every other developed nation in the world sees as an absolute necessity and the American electorate tends to view through darkly eugenic lenses.

In most of the world you get mailed a monthly check for each kid you have with bonuses when its time to buy things like school supplies, you get at least nearly free health care that is totally free when kids are involved, you get services like someone who will come around your house and clean it for you for free once a month and serve as an early warning signal for additional services you might need, and you get whole departments dedicated to helping people navigate the massive array of services available. Planned Parenthood is great, but they can't give you a place to stay for the duration of your pregnancy to get away from the shithead father, they can't support you financially because the disruptions of your pregnancy are preventing you from working, they can't sort out getting you a lawyer to legally emancipate you from your shithead parents, and the scale of how much time they can spend with you is appropriate to the efficiency required by their medical mission.

There is a desperate need for things like pregnancy crisis centers that will be more than just adoption factories or opportunities for evangelizing to cover the holes we designed into our safety net that pregnant women fall through the hardest.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:00 AM on August 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Enraging as it is that Federal tax dollars are going to these organizations, as far as I can tell pretty much all of the CPC's are created by/legitimized by/awarded contracts by/given legal cover and authority by state-level laws and politicians and bureaucrats.

Shit like this is why people need to pay attention to who the hell is getting voted into their state governments, and get our asses out to vote in non-Presidential-election years. It fucking matters.


It's also why the phrase "Federal block grants to states" should raise red flags that similar shenanigans are afoot.
posted by Gelatin at 4:44 AM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Steal the little plastic fucking fetus while you're at it. That shit is creepy.

Everyone needs a little plastic fetus! I don't care if it rains or freezes, 'long as I got my Plastic Fetus riding on the dashboard of my car.
posted by delfin at 5:30 AM on August 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


Remember the case in Indiana where the woman is essentially being charged with neglect for having a miscarriage? The OB/GYN who helped bring charges against her turns out to be the same guy who talked my (unwed, single parent) sister out of getting an IUD after her twins were born. He focused on all the horrible side effects and convinced her she'd end up with a hysterectomy if she got the IUD. It worked... He got her to give up the horrible abortion device IUD, and she got a 4th kid almost immediately! Nice work, assholes. Keep your religious agendas out of family planning.

Best part is that under Indiana rules, she can't get enough assistance to afford day care unless she stays unemployed... Why do these people only care about kids BEFORE they are born?
posted by caution live frogs at 6:05 AM on August 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


If only she could sue him for child support...
posted by five fresh fish at 6:10 AM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Purvi Patel wasn't just charged but convicted. She is currently serving a 20 year sentence. Her lawyers are trying to appeal, so she might get out eventually, but her entire life has been derailed by this bullshit.

Then we have Huckabee affirming that it's the right thing to do to force 11-year-old rape victims to carry to term. Because who cares about an actual traumatized kid when you have a fetus to save.

That's the world they want to take us to.
posted by emjaybee at 7:11 AM on August 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


Blasdelb: Planned Parenthood is great, but they can't give you a place to stay for the duration of your pregnancy to get away from the shithead father, they can't support you financially because the disruptions of your pregnancy are preventing you from working, they can't sort out getting you a lawyer to legally emancipate you from your shithead parents, and the scale of how much time they can spend with you is appropriate to the efficiency required by their medical mission. There is a desperate need for things like pregnancy crisis centers that will be more than just adoption factories or opportunities for evangelizing to cover the holes we designed into our safety net that pregnant women fall through the hardest.

I can't see any way to square this hypothetical definition of "crisis pregnancy center", one that's a pipe dream even for many countries with far more robust welfare states than the U.S.'s, with your earlier comment:

Its hard to argue that there isn't a need for real pregnancy crisis centers, but it's strange how evangelical Christians seem to be the only people who are actually interested in organizing, funding, and staffing them.

The word "crisis pregnancy center" has a very specific definition to most people, that of the "adoption factory" you refer to above, which are run for the most part by pro-life evangelical Christians. You now say you are using that phrase to describe this far more comprehensive level of support, but when have the actually extant crisis pregnancy centers run by pro-life Christians ever shown any interest in providing that level of support as you claim in your first comment?

I can't read this sequence as anything other than an attempt to stake out an outrageous claim and then move the goalposts once you were called on it.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:51 PM on August 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Planned Parenthood provides counseling and medically accurate information about sexual health and pregnancy options to its patients, yet thousands of people -- evangelical Christians chief among them -- have spent years desperately attempting to defund them and salt the earth so nothing similar can rise in its place. There is literally nothing an evangelical CPC can offer that PP hasn't been doing more honestly, ethically, and professionally for decades.

House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood
posted by homunculus at 6:03 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]




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