A Students for Life chapter in Colorado recently held a virtual gathering to counter misinformation circulated on the Colorado State University (CSU) campus about pregnancy help organizations.
CSU Students for Life invited representatives from four pregnancy help organizations (PHOs) to share specifics about the services they provide and address the issue of transparency with clients. The May 15 meeting was held to address harmful rhetoric about PHOs, the Denver Catholic reports, in particular a resolution from the school’s student senate asking CSU to “to take action in preventing AACC (Anti-Abortion Counseling Centers) from spreading misinformation on reproductive Health Care by ensuring that AACC’s do not have any misleading advertisements on CSU’s grounds.”
“In my mind, Resolution 5008 didn’t provide a lot of evidence that local Colorado pregnancy help centers or Christian medical clinics provided misleading information aside from word-of-mouth claims and viral YouTube video cited by Vice,” the pro-life group’s President Laura Rencher said. “I wanted to promote civil and mature conversation on several of the claims made during the bill.”
PHOs are often derided as so-called ‘fake clinics’ as an abortion lobby tactic to discredit the PHOs’ work. The main basis for this falsehood campaign is because PHOs do not offer or refer for abortion, which would conflict with their life-affirming mission.
The Pregnancy Center Truth website refutes the ‘fake clinic’ misnomer by highlighting the services provided by PHOs, which can fall into two groups; pregnancy centers and pregnancy help medical clinics.
Pregnancy centers offer services such as free pregnancy tests, information about pregnancy options, material resources, including diapers, clothing, etc., and ongoing support, including parenting education and abortion recovery groups.
Pregnancy help medical clinics typically offer many of these services and also consultation with a licensed medical professional, limited ultrasound for pregnancy confirmation and testing for sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
The roughly 2,700 pregnancy help centers in the U.S. served almost two million people in 2019, according to the latest Charlotte Lozier Institute report, providing hundreds of millions of dollars in essential medical, education and support services.
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The four pregnancy centers that took part in the CSU Students for Life event were Marisol Health, Birthline of Loveland, Alpha Center, and Life Choices. Rencher brought them in to speak from experience and resolve any misconceptions about pregnancy help centers.
Marisol Health is a medical center providing pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, comprehensive OB-GYN and prenatal care, fertility/infertility care, and no cost or low-cost options for STD testing and treatment, along with other services. The Marisol Health medical clinic partners with Bella Health and Wellness, an Englewood OB-GYN, with access to Bella’s doctors and nurses for medical services.
Birthline of Loveland is a pregnancy resource center that refers clients to Life Choices for medical services. Birthline provides maternity clothing, layettes and diapers for new moms, infant and baby clothing, free pregnancy tests, free STI testing and adoption information. The center also supports families with services for two years after their babies are born.
The Alpha Center is a medical clinic that provides education and services related to sexual health, including pregnancy and STD testing, limited ultrasound, miscarriage, and early infant loss support, and pre-abortion screening with other services.
Life Choices is a pregnancy center that provides similar services to the other centers as well as abortion pill reversal, post-abortion support, and healing as well as parenting classes.
A video accompanying the resolution portrayed a Texas pregnancy center purportedly misleading women about whether abortions were provided by the center, the Denver Catholic article said, causing controversy.
Angela Davis, volunteer coordinator for the Alpha Center, said she does know of clinics that operate that way and expressed dismay at this giving the wrong impression about all pro-life pregnancy clinics.
Speaking about the element of religious beliefs in a center’s operation, Jennifer Green, community engagement specialist of Marisol Health in East Denver, said, “We serve because we are Christian, but you don’t have to be Christian for us to serve you. We just want to serve because we want everyone to get the care they deserve.”
Marisol Health is part of Catholic Charities, which recently carried out an agency-wide trauma and care training.
At the student senate hearing where Resolution 5008 was passed, the comment was made that “people who are pro-life are not pro-life, they are anti-choice.”
The comment was part of what moved Rencher to hold the virtual gathering on pregnancy help centers.
“As someone who is pro-life, that was extremely hurtful to me because the resolution was saying we are against non-inclusive and misleading language,” Rencher said. “Yet they use non-inclusive and misleading language towards someone who is pro-life as someone who is anti-choice and that’s it… And so that’s another reason why I wanted to start this conversation.”
Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News.