Crisis Pregnancy Centers Look to Congress for Support

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

(CNSNews.com) - A Colorado Congressman wants his colleagues to go on record as honoring the efforts of 2,500 crisis pregnancy centers around the nation that offer women free pregnancy testing, counseling, clothing, and baby supplies.

House Resolution 302, sponsored by Republican Rep. Bob Schaffer, comes at a time when crisis pregnancy centers are facing active opposition from abortion rights advocates.

Schaffer said his bill, which has 50 co-sponsors, "offers Congress the opportunity to make a positive statement about the importance of crisis pregnancy centers to the women of America."

However, through its "Choice Action Kit," The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) is asking activists to "unmask fake clinics" by writing letters to the editor, posting flyers, applying as volunteers at centers, entering as clients with hidden microphones, and making phone calls to centers.

Schaffer said the "deceptive and deceitful tactics" used in NARAL's campaign "say more about the perpetrators than they do about crisis pregnancy centers."

For 14 years, Judy Geyer has served pregnant women at New Hope Family Services in Syracuse, New York.

Geyer explained what she believes is the meaning behind the NARAL campaign. "They wouldn't be doing this unless we were making a difference, and that's a positive thing," she said.

NARAL claims crisis pregnancy centers, "lure women in" with offers of free pregnancy tests but are "unwilling to provide abortion services or referrals."

Crisis pregnancy center workers, in fact, openly admit they do not offer abortions or abortion referrals.

Sally Rosiek, executive director of the Conejo Valley Women's Resource Center in California, said her center has come under attack.

According to Rosiek, an abortion rights activist wrote a letter to the editor entitled "Deceptive Center," in which she complained that Rosiek's center did not offer birth control or abortion referrals and was not a licensed medical clinic.

While most crisis pregnancy centers serve as basic support centers rather than licensed medical facilities, Conejo Valley Women's Resource Center is medically licensed.

"I knew by what she wrote that she didn't know what she was talking about" and that she was following the instructions found in NARAL's kit, Rosiek said.

Two weeks later, flyers from NARAL's kit were posted throughout Rosiek's community. The flyers claimed that her center participated "in one or more of the anti-choice tactics described above."

Those tactics included: "Providing false and misleading information about pregnancy and reproductive health options;" "Refusing to give information on or referrals for abortion or family planning;" and "Pressuring women into parenthood or adoption."

Rosiek said the center received "a barrage of calls" from women trying to get counselors to mislead them. The center received about six to eight calls per day when it would normally receive only 12 per week.

Mike Reid, president of Care Net (an affiliate organization with more than 600 crisis pregnancy centers across the United States) believes the resolution introduced by Schaffer would be helpful in light of such attacks.

The resolution means "intelligent men and women have looked at our record and have decided we are worthy of this recognition," Reid said.

Schaffer said the resolution will "send a powerful message of encouragement" to centers and that the attacks from NARAL are unwarranted.

"More and more men and women are seeking the assistance of crisis pregnancy centers," Schaffer said. "Like any other enterprise, that doesn't happen by delivering a bad record of service."