With many thanks to our intern, Amber:
After we spent a year working to investigate Virginia’s crisis pregnancy centers and expose the majority of them for what they are—anti-choice, anti-truth, anti-women—we had hoped that the General Assembly would work to advance the interests of the people of Virginia, not fake clinics.
While we wish we could say that the GA represented our best interests, not those of politically or religiously motivated centers that masquerade as medical clinics, they did not. First, they chose to bypass legislation requiring said centers to only give out medically accurate information and to post signs detailing the limitations of their services.
Now, the House has gone a step further. With the session ending on Saturday, anti-choice representatives introduced, at the last minute possible, a resolution commending crisis pregnancy centers.
The resolution talks about the “life-affirming impact” CPCs have, including their “encouraging women to make positive life choices”, providing “complete and accurate information,” about their “unborn child,” providing “grief assistance for women and men who regret the loss of their child from past choices,” and “teaching effective abstinence education in public schools.” (All emphasis mine.)
This statement is beyond problematic. From the assumption that the only positive choice a pregnant woman can make is to continue pregnancy, the ignoring all of the studies that have time and again shown that there is no such thing as effective abstinence-only education, the idea that an abortion is something that must be grief-inducing and that people regret and need counseling afterward, and the flat out lie that crisis pregnancy centers offer anything close to “complete and accurate information.”
In our experience, the majority of Virginia’s crisis pregnancy centers were anything but accurate:
- “Damage to the cervix and scarring of the uterine lining [from an abortion] makes you unable to have a baby.” (“The Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia, Culpeper.” In-Person Investigation. 13 Aug. 2009)
- “All condoms have flaws or holes…Using a condom does not protect you from AIDS or pregnancy.” (“Condoms. Do They Really Work?” Heritage House ’76, Inc. 1998. Heritage House. Received from Assist Crisis Pregnancy Center. In-Person Investigation. 14 May 2009.)
- “Aborting a baby messes up normal pregnancy functions, which can cause abnormal cells and increase your risk of breast cancer 50%.” (“SLM Pregnancy Help Center.” In-Person Investigation. 24 June 2009.)
- “28% of women attempt suicide after an abortion.” (Abortion: Procedures, Risks, Side Effects. Received from 1st Choice Women’s Health/Life Line. In-Person Investigation. 5 Nov. 2009.)
- “The counselor told me I might suffer from promiscuity, alcoholism, and depression after my abortion. She said every woman who has had an abortion regrets it- even if she says she doesn’t, it’s just because she was refusing to admit it to herself and others.” (“Alexandria Pregnancy Help Center.” In-Person Investigation. 4 August 2009.)
- “And then she [the CPC counselor] said, ‘Because the doctor can’t see what he’s doing, he could accidentally suck out your bowels.”’ (“Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center.” In-Person Investigation. 30 July 2009.)
If these are examples aren’t the complete antithesis of complete and accurate information, I don’t know what is! And our legislature wants to commend these people—people who told potentially pregnant girls “the only birth control you need is abstinence,” “you’re living in sin,” and “you’ll be dead before college if you continue this lifestyle”—a commendation for their service to the Commonwealth.
The exact wording? They want to give CPCs “an expression of the General Assembly’s admiration and gratitude” for their work.
All of the commendations were heard together in the House earlier today, but Delegate Herring requested that the CPC one be heard on its own. The block of the bills passed without objection, and the CPC resolution passed with a voice vote. Although we could hear many of our friends objecting to this nonsensical, nondeserved commendation, there was no official count of who voted in favor and against it.
Now it is up to the Senate to stop this travesty! They’ll probably hear the resolution on Friday or Saturday, so please contact your state Senator and ask her/him to reject this resolution (HJR 435)!
Read about this in the Washington Post: Resolution commending pregnancy centers protested in the House and Senate.