Like many crisis pregnancy centers, A Woman's Choice is designed to look and feel like a medical center, not a religion-based organization with an agenda. Becky Edmondson, the executive director, said the center chose the look and name to reach women who were bombarded with pressures to abort and might think they had no other choice.
If callers ask how much the center charges to perform an abortion, Lisa Arnold, a counselor and leader of the postabortion group, said: "I say, 'It changes, but why don't you come in for an ultrasound and we'll talk about it.' You don't want to deceive them, but you want a chance to talk to them." Once women come to the center, staff members - who oppose abortion even in cases involving rape and incest - encourage them to make further appointments, and refer them to doctors who share the center's views on abortion.
Anne Ahola, the counseling director of EMW Women's Surgical Center, the abortion provider across the street, dismissed A Woman's Choice as a "fake" health clinic that tricks women into coming in to have abortions then provides inaccurate information about abortion and about their pregnancies. Crisis pregnancy centers have long been criticized for such practices, and courts have limited the terms they can use to pitch their services.
Here's some of what Planned Parenthood has to say about them:
One such center in Indiana shares a parking lot with a real Planned Parenthood clinic, and was designed expressly to lure our patients and deceive them. Recently, people from the fake "clinic" waged a campaign of intimidation and harassment against a 17-year-old girl who, with her mother and boyfriend, came to what she thought was our clinic for an abortion. Over the following days, the anti-choice extremists called the police to say the girl was being forced to have an abortion, showed up at her home, called her father's workplace, and even went to her school and urged classmates to pressure her not to have an abortion.
The worst part? Your tax dollars are funding these "crisis pregnancy centers" to the tune of $60 million.
I can understand that some people, even some of you, have principled objections to abortion. Still, I think this sentence bears repeating:
Over the following days, the anti-choice extremists called the police to say the girl was being forced to have an abortion, showed up at her home, called her father's workplace, and even went to her school and urged classmates to pressure her not to have an abortion.
Even if you object to abortion, is that a strategy that you want your tax dollars to fund?
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has more details, including a confirmation that the Bush administration is funding these frauds.
You may wish to inform your representatives of your opinion on the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act (SDAWS). You can download the full text of the bill from the link above. You can find your reps' contact info at http://www.house.gov.