(National Review) One of the most common slanders of the pro-life movement is that its members care only about unborn children and never about mothers or those same children after birth. “If you’re anti-abortion, you’re actually pro-birth, not pro-life,” the saying goes.
In truth, the pro-life movement cares deeply about both mothers and children, arguing that every abortion harms not only the child but also the mother — and, indeed, the whole family and community. In part because of this belief, pro-lifers have spent decades building an infrastructure of pregnancy-resource centers across the country, dedicated to assisting pregnant mothers in need and helping them reject abortion. Given that many women choose abortion because they feel they have no other options, these centers offer abortion alternatives and related assistance, usually at no cost. This includes pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, counseling, help with the adoption process, and additional financial or material support.
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Nationally, pregnancy-resource centers outnumber abortion businesses by three to one and, in some states, as many as eleven to one. It’s telling that, rather than acknowledging and celebrating these centers for what they offer women, the abortion-rights movement devotes much of its energy to lying about them and opposing their efforts.
The latest such broadside comes from the Associated Press, in what is presumably meant to be a news article, lamenting that “anti-abortion centers” receive millions in taxpayer funding:
Anti-abortion centers across the country are receiving tens of millions of tax dollars to talk women out of ending their pregnancies, a nearly fivefold increase from a decade ago that resulted from an often-overlooked effort by mostly Republican-led states.
The nonprofits known as crisis pregnancy centers are typically religiously affiliated and counsel clients against having an abortion as part of their free but limited services. That practice and the fact that they generally are not licensed as medical facilities have raised questions about whether it’s appropriate to funnel so much tax money their way.
The article goes on to quote supposed experts who assert, without evidence, that pregnancy-resource centers falsely advertise themselves as providing medical care and that they offer “misleading information about the risks of abortion [without] providing the actual prevalence of when that happens, because abortion is quite safe.”
Though abortion supporters spend plenty of time criticizing pregnancy-resource centers — and enacting laws trying to force them to advertise for abortion — they’ve managed to dig up remarkably little evidence that these centers actually engage in false advertising or offer misleading information. When pressed to provide examples of these supposed falsehoods, for instance, NARAL pointed out that most centers refer to the “fetus” as a “baby.” From the perspective of the abortion supporter, calling an unborn child a “baby” is misleading, but referring to that same child as a “clump of cells” or “part of the mother” is telling the truth.
With this article, the AP has dedicated well over a thousand words to fearmongering about pregnancy-resource centers, premised on the fact that they receive a few million in taxpayer dollars in a few states. (The article fails to document a precise amount, instead gesturing vaguely at a lack of information on the specifics.) But the outlet has shown no comparable interest in critiquing Planned Parenthood, which last fiscal year received more than $618 million from federal and state governments in the form of grants, public funding, and Medicaid reimbursements. Evidently the AP doesn’t have a problem with shady groups on the other side of the debate receiving taxpayer funding; it has a problem with the pro-life agenda.
While the article tries to bill pregnancy-resource centers as nothing more than a hub for brainwashing women into eschewing abortion, the truth is that these centers thrive because they offer services that abortion businesses don’t provide. Compared with 354,871 abortions performed in 2020, Planned Parenthood reported offering only 8,626 instances of “prenatal care” and 2,667 adoption referrals. In other words, for every adoption referral, Planned Parenthood performed 133 abortions, and for every instance of “prenatal care,” its clinics performed 41 abortions. Among services or procedures specifically related to pregnancy decisions — including abortion, prenatal or miscarriage care, and adoption referrals — abortion made up more than 96 percent of what Planned Parenthood provided.
Research suggests that the pregnancy-resource-center model works. One 2021 study by three public-health researchers found that pregnant women considering abortion who visit a pregnancy-resource center are about 20 percent less likely to choose abortion than pregnant women who don’t visit one. While the study’s authors asserted in their conclusion that this result might be due to misleading information, they — like most abortion supporters — uncovered no such evidence.
Abortion supporters are loath to admit the most realistic possibility: Pregnancy-resource centers help women avoid abortion not by misleading them but by telling them the truth: that the child inside them deserves to live, and by offering them the support they need to choose life.
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Editor's note: This article was published by National Review and is reprinted with permission.