Pro-abortion forces have had some success at the local level, with Baltimore enacting an ordinance requiring crisis pregnancy centers to “display signs stating they do not provide abortions or birth-control referrals,” as the Baltimore Sun reported last November. Montgomery County, Maryland, and Austin, Texas, have since followed suit.
The abortion lobby has had less success at the state level; but at the federal level, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) have reintroduced the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act, which, as The New American reported in July, would require the Federal Trade Commission to “promulgate rules to prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice, any person from advertising with the intent to deceptively create the impression that such person is a provider of abortion services if such person does not provide abortion services.” The purpose, of course, is to restrict advertising by crisis pregnancy centers.
Pro-lifers have not stood idly by while all this is taking place. In fact, they have enlisted the aid of women who received help from crisis pregnancy centers and chose to keep their babies rather than kill them. The women’s own stories, delivered in person — accompanied by the living, breathing proof that they made the right decision — are powerful weapons against the angry, impersonal attacks of the pro-abortion forces.
CNSNews recently profiled two of these women, both of whom attended the July “Babies Go to Congress” event, sponsored annually by Heartbeat International, an organization of crisis pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption services. Both described how well they had been treated by pregnancy centers and how helpful the people at the centers had been, in contrast to the way they had been treated by Planned Parenthood, whose sole purpose, it seems, was to get them to abort as quickly as possible.
Danica Fountain, for example, found herself pregnant at age 18. Seeing a sign at a pregnancy resource center offering free pregnancy tests, she decided to take the center up on the offer, but surreptitiously, so as not to let her family know of her condition. She had planned to abort if the test came back positive. However, her experience at the center began to change her mind:
The woman [at the center] asked Fountain if she would consider options other than abortion and if she wanted to see the developmental stages of the fetus in the first trimester.
“She showed me a picture of this baby that had arms and legs and a head,” Fountain said. “I couldn’t believe it because everyone referred to that as ‘tissue,’ that it was not a baby, which is why I was comfortable going through with an abortion.”
Not yet convinced that having the baby was her best option, Fountain went to Planned Parenthood, where, she says, her situation was discussed openly in the waiting room, embarrassing her. The receptionist simply scheduled her for an abortion, urging her to have it done as soon as possible; she made no mention at all of adoption or parenting.
Fountain returned to the pregnancy center and underwent an ultrasound. She described the experience to Catholic Online:
“I was absolutely shocked to see that this so-called ‘blob of tissue,’ the term I so commonly heard people use when referencing a pregnancy this early on, was in fact a fully-formed baby! She had a head, arms and legs,” said Fountain. “When I saw my baby’s heart beating I knew I would do anything to protect my child.”
“The emotional support I received from the pregnancy center helped me realize that I could succeed as a single mom. So I continued in my full-time position at the bank, knowing they were there if I needed more encouragement or practical help. I can never thank the Women’s Center of Tucson enough.”
Nikki Payne related a similar experience. Pregnant at age 19, she, too, wanted to do away with the inconvenient child. She told CNSNews that her visit to Planned Parenthood was an “awful experience,” “very impersonal and robotic,” whereas a counselor at the pregnancy resource center she visited “spent several hours talking to her about alternatives to abortion.” An ultrasound also helped convince her to keep her baby, whom she now calls a “blessing,” adding that “there is no way I could choose whether he lives or dies. It’s not my place to choose to take a life away.”
Stories such as these surely help the cause of crisis pregnancy centers, putting the faces of women who have been helped by such centers in front of legislators who have otherwise been bombarded with NARAL’s anti-pregnancy-center propaganda. CNSNews writes:
Melinda Delahoyde, president of Care Net, which oversees a network of more than 1,000 pregnancy resource centers around the United States, said that NARAL’s attempts to discredit the work that centers do through these kind of reports, and also in court cases it has brought against centers, actually can work in their favor when people hear the stories of women like Fountain and Payne.
“When we go in front of state legislators and tell what we do, it’s not working to [NARAL’s] good,” Delahoyde said. “It works for our good because they hear from women themselves.
“We have a chance to educate the media, community leaders, public health officials — everyone who is there in that room,” Delahoyde said. “Here are the stories from women. Here is what actually happens: what do pregnancy centers do and how we’re connected in our local communities.”
NARAL’s campaign is a well-funded, top-down approach that attempts to restrict pregnant women’s options, proving that the organization is not about “choice” but about ensuring that as many abortions as possible take place. The activism of mothers such as Fountain and Payne, on the other hand, is a genuine grassroots effort aimed at preserving crisis pregnancy centers’ freedom to inform women of the full range of options available to them in the belief that, given the proper information, they will choose life. Even jaded politicians ought to be able to tell which side is in the right and then, one hopes, to vote accordingly. It really is a matter of life and death.