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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A fantastical post by Mr. Banana Grabber this past Sunday reminded me of an experience I had a couple years ago. After joining Abortion Land and having had my eyes opened to the horror of CPCs, I started looking out for them everywhere. Under tables, behind bookcases. I had to make sure patients had the correct names, addresses, phone numbers of clinics to ensure that they didn't accidentally wander into a CPC wondering why they have no trained health care personnel on staff. So it was pretty obvious when the signs depicting a distraught young black woman and the thoughts floating around in her head (" baby...") started showing up in city buses that they were up to no good. So like any curious/concerned/asshole person, I gave them a ring.

The conversation went a little like this:

Me: Hi, I think I'm pregnant.
Them: We offer free pregnancy tests if you come to one of our centers.
Me: What kind of pregnancy test? I don't like needles.
Them: No it's a urine test.
Me: Is it accurate?
Them: Sure, it's [some commercial brand] that is 99.9% accurate, like in the commercials.
Me: Do you have a doctor on staff?
Them: No
Me: What kind of people work there?
Them: We're social workers.
Me: But what if I want some medical information? I want to make sure I'm healthy.
Them: Well, you can come into our center and we can give you some information.
Me: I work, and I don't have a car. I don't know if I can get there. Can you tell me some info over the phone?
Them: We don't give out information over the phone, you'll have to come into our center. (emphasis added)

I think I even got an address for one in the 'burbs where "se habla Español", but of course I didn't go. I did try not to sound to hip to what they were really about. I figured I'd ask questions that any average Joanna would ask about a pregnancy center, using cues from actual phone convos I'd had with patients. I don't remember now if I blocked my number or not; they undoubtedly have caller ID, but luckily I never received a call back.

So, let's go through the red flags that most folks would just gloss over:

1. No doctor - or nurse, or physician's assistant, or nurse's assistant, or dental hygienist - was employed. They are not licensed to practice health care or give medical opinions (at least credible ones)
2. No clinically significant pregnancy test is administered, meaning they have no diagnostic/laboratory capacity. They buy stick tests from the drugstore that you could easily administer yourself.
3. Ambiguous clinic name. I don't remember what it was when I called, and it didn't say on the bus signs, but I remember being confused by the name. It was very unclear what kind of enterprise this was.
4. Insisting that I come to the center! They would not talk to me about anything over the phone. They wouldn't refer me to any external resources (not even external anti resources, which I found surprising). They wanted me to come in so they could hold me hostage and force feed me propaganda.

For lack of time to live a double life I dropped my investigation. I didn't think I had the gumption to actually go there and snoop around wearing a wire, but maybe I should one of these days. Of course, to get the kind of info I'd need for an exposé I'd have to get real specific and make it clear that I was onto them. For example:

"Please cite the research that you use to determine that 50% of women die within one year after having abortions."
"Please describe the physiological mechanism by which abortion causes cancer of any kind."
"Please explain why you have no health care professionals present to substantiate these health risks."
"Is this center affiliated with any religious institutions? If so, why?" (After all, there must be some atheist antis out there!)

And so on. But how to carry this out without blowing my cover? I guess it's a lost cause. But what a scoop! At the very least, some CPCs are being *sorta* honest about what they can do for you. Take the banner above, from a CPC in Michigan. They admit on their website that they do not perform abortion services, and gives a fair assessment of Plan B (at least!). Haven't gone through the entire site, but why is that so hard for CPCs to do? Why can't they just say, up front, WE DO NOT PROVIDE ABORTIONS. It might be bizarre for us to request that McDonald's disclaim that they don't provide abortion services, but not so for a pregnancy center! What a bunch of whiners.

Anywho. Pregnant ladies, if you're out there, please beware!


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