Filed under: Opinion, Post By: Michele J, Starring Local Feminists, Women's Health
When a woman decides to take a trip to a “pregnancy help center” to learn more about her options for an unplanned pregnancy, the last thing she is expected to return with is a horror story. I mean, the word “help” is in the name of the place, right? However, these “help” centers are almost never what they appear to be from their advertising and can often do more harm than good on the psyches of young, pregnant women.
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While a student at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a small liberal arts school located at the southern tip of the state, I heard about a young woman who visited our local Care Net center, where she had hoped to learn about abortion. The large billboard out front reading, “Pregnant? Need help?” with the mournful face of a young girl (we’ve all seen that before, I know) pasted across the background seemed like an invitation for kind and considerate care, and when facing something so monumentally life-changing as an unwanted pregnancy at a young age, who wouldn’t find the idea of “help” comforting? Instead of help, however, the young woman received a lecture about her decision to have sex, which the workers there viewed as immoral. Those that she was hoping to receive help from threatened not to let her leave until she promised she was no longer considering abortion as an option. One woman even chased her into the parking lot, using rather unkind language, trying to get her to accept God’s forgiveness for her actions.
Unfortunately, this sort of bullying happens all the time at supposed help centers for young, pregnant women. Centers that advertise comfort and guidance often hide their religious agenda at the forefront, and then attempt to sway the minds and hearts of the women they meet, which means that many confused, or not-so-confused, women don’t get the kind of treatment they’re looking for at these places. Offering only ultra-sounds and pregnancy tests, the medical procedures available within these help centers are severely limited, and no methods of birth control are on hand to give out. Instead of the pill, visitors get penitence; instead of options, they get a stern talking-to about the provider’s perception of the only option.
When looking at George Mason’s own “Pregnant? Need help?” fliers, put up by the Pregnancy Lifeline Centers of Fairfax and Alexandria, there is no indication that the group is affiliated with Christianity on the piece of paper with phone numbers available to be torn off at the bottom. Once one explores the website, however, the Christian point of view becomes apparent, slowly but surely. While I am not against Christian organizations reaching out to young women about their sexuality, I am against the spreading of misinformation, intolerance, and guilt. When comparing the Pregnancy Lifeline Center’s website directly with Planned Parenthood’s, a number of examples of misinformation, intolerance, and guilt can be found. One of the most upsetting differences between these help organizations is the continuing assertion that a condition called Post-Abortion Stress (PAS) exists, even though it has been discredited by research. Read more