Last Wednesday, we hit the road to head out to Purcellville (population 6,200), bringing our ‘Crisis Pregnancy Center Road Tour’ with us to educate more Virginians about the lies these fake clinics are telling women! Purcellville is located in western Loudoun County at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A fantastic NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia member and high school senior in Purcellville reached out to us to invite us to share our study with her community. The event, hosted by our “Support without Shame” campaign, was held at the Loudoun Valley Community Center, and fostered some great conversation amongst participants. While our Deputy Director, Emily Polak, shared the majority of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s report, findings, and subsequent actions, it was the Road Tour attendees who really added personal insight into the dialogue.
One attendee’s mother had been a counselor at the local CPC and she was able to speak about her perspective on her mom’s work. Another attendee asked about the type of work being done to regulate these facilities since the state government knows that they’re lying to women on a daily basis. We provided honest answers, ones that sometimes prove more frustrating since the commonwealth currently does nothing to limit the misinformation CPCs share with women.
There are two CPC’s located in Leesburg, only about 10 miles away from Purcellville and we made sure to bring the literature our undercover volunteers obtained from both Birthright and Life Line Inc/ 1st Choice Women’s Health Center. We were able to show the deception they use in their advertisements- never once mentioning that they exist as ‘abortion alternatives,’ but instead emphasizing their abilities to discuss a range of options with women and provide ‘factual information’ about abortion and pregnancy. We also brought the materials these CPCs hand out that insist on a scientific link between abortion and breast cancer, infertility, and post-abortion stress disorder.
But we’re calling their bluff.
None of the reputable, major research institutions like the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, or the American Cancer Society acknowledge any of these mythical links.
Sadly for the women of Purcellville, the nearest comprehensive reproductive care center is double the distance away. A woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy and limited resources will likely have easier access to one of the two crisis pregnancy centers in Leesburg, where she will undoubtedly encounter misleading and medically inaccurate information.
After we finished our Road Tour conversation, we headed back out to the parking lot where a smattering of cars had been covered with anti-choice propaganda from the ‘Secular Pro-Life Movement.’ What we’d like to ask is why wouldn’t these ‘anti-choice activists’ come in to join our conversation and have an open dialogue about crisis pregnancy centers and the untruths they tell women rather than having a passive dialogue with the windshields of our cars?