The following is an op-ed by Chris Slattery, released today by American Life League:
What does it mean to practice medicine? If someone brings a sick friend chicken soup, is that person practicing medicine? Should someone who wraps a twisted ankle or bandages a cut be castigated for practicing medicine without a license? In 2002, that is exactly what Eliot Spitzer, then New York state attorney general and an ally of pro-abortion organizations, did.
And recently, a hit piece by Time magazine, “The Grassroots Abortion War,” made a strong attempt at discrediting the good work of America’s pro-life pregnancy centers. It raised serious charges and made outrageous allegations about the good intentions of this army of compassion. However, I believe it completely failed to achieve its goal. Rather, it lent credibility and prestige to the vital heart and soul of pro-life activism.
The institution of pro-life pregnancy centers is the fruit of a movement that has existed for many years. In the United States, such establishments go far back through Christian ministries such as Catholic hospitals and Christian maternity homes. What Time believes it recently uncovered as a new angle to pro-life activism has been in widespread practice for some 200 years.
In fact, today’s centers are a scaled-down version of the original Catholic-Protestant outreaches that began in the mid 1800s. Catholic hospitals, the Salvation Army, the Christian Aid Society and many early adoption agencies provided similar, though antiquated, services to what current pregnancy resource centers do.
But today’s ministries are much more decentralized and more specialized than those of old. While American Catholic hospitals and American Protestant service agencies have done a lot of good, the pregnancy resource centers of today are in many ways truer to the mission of compassion to expectant moms because they concentrate on turning women towards the joy and peace of life-whereas zeal is often lacking in the larger Catholic and Protestant institutions.
Alas, after decades of printing NARAL and Planned Parenthood’s propaganda, Time has just discovered today’s pro-life pregnancy center and thus its article rehashes the same old canards which call into question the information and education provided to expectant mothers, largely mirroring the criticisms of the major medical establishment.
Yet the sad fact is that the many American medical establishments have embraced abortion and avoided any serious research into its real impact on American women and the whole of society. Meanwhile, small U.S. studies and major international studies on abortion have shown a consistent, negative impact on women, but the medical community and the media turn their heads. They would rather live the lie of convenience and wealth than uncover the truth about abortion.
Perhaps one of the most insidious aspects of the article is its purportedly balanced focus on the informational practices of pro-life centers. While the article spends a great deal of effort muddying water with the he- said/she-said aspect of information being disseminated, it completely fails to point out the vile, government-funded advertising and educational campaigns being waged by such organizations as Planned Parenthood. In essence, Time has given a free pass to the abortion industry on the pornographic sex ed materials it distributes to 10-year-olds in public school classrooms and the lies it tells patients regarding fetal development.
At one point the article addresses women going undercover into pregnancy centers as an attempt to expose some sort of illicit activity (which was never found), but nowhere does it address the multitude of Planned Parenthood counselors from across the nation that have been recorded instructing 13-year-old girls not to tell the age of their 22-year-old boyfriends (after they had already) so that Planned Parenthood could avoid reporting potential statutory rape cases to the police.
It’s really no surprise that organizations such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL are so willing to attack America’s pro-life pregnancy centers, since these centers pose such a huge profit risk to the near billion dollar abortion industry. Isn’t it ironic that the U.S. abortion industry, which is largely unregulated and faces thousands of lawsuits from those who have been injured and maimed as a result of their “medical practices,” goes unreported and uninvestigated, while the media and others severely scrutinize the good work of pro-life pregnancy centers, whose care has never harmed a single human being. Women who visit pro-life centers and feel mistreated are given much media attention while families who’ve lost their daughters to an early death or serious medical or psychological trauma from abortion go unreported and ignored. The hypocrisy of Time and other media in attacking the major competition to one of their favorite industries is appalling, but again, not surprising. Pro-lifers know that our growing numbers of pregnancy centers and clinics, with our increasing sophistication and provision of full medical care, including ultrasound, prenatal care, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, gynecology and natural family planning, is a serious threat to the abortion industry.
Frontline Pregnancy Centers, the organization I founded, recently launched a mobile ultrasound unit in the Bronx, New York and already we are helping to spare mothers and their babies the tragedy of abortion. I predict that the use of three and four of these mobile ultrasound units will greatly reduce the number of abortions in our area. I also predict that we will see more attacks on pregnancy care centers by Congress; but these politically-motivated attacks will be thwarted very successfully by a far more media and legal savvy pro- life movement. Every year, better organization and training prepares the pregnancy centers/clinics to reach substantially more mothers considering abortion and it enables us to continue eroding America’s abortion rate.
Even if we don’t change the law, I see great potential for America’s abortion rates to be halved within 10 years. When abortion-minded women are given complete, accurate information by compassionate counseling educators, more than two out of three consistently choose life. I am greatly optimistic over the growth and development of America’s pro-life pregnancy care centers and I expect that all efforts to crush us in the media and Congress will fail.
Time magazine missed the most essential point about these centers, which is that they are motivated by an endless source of hope and optimism rather than money. Our hope can never be squashed by hype or political investigations. The boundless enthusiasm for saving lives grows exponentially every year and we will see an increasing impact that greatly diminishes abortion numbers in our time.
Chris Slattery is founder and director of Expectant Mother Care, also known as EMC FrontLine Pregnancy Centers, a network of 15 pregnancy centers located in four New York City boroughs and suburbs, including five locations in the Bronx. EMC, an American Life League associate group, has served more than 70,000 clients since 1985, saving over 17,000 babies from a certain abortion, and was the first full-time pregnancy center in the New York City area.