Gentle readers of the educational journal known as Cosmopolitan are in for their third installment of fruitless attacks from serial pregnancy help detractor Meaghan Winter.
Winter has been on the warpath against community-funded nonprofits serving women and families with life-affirming pregnancy help for the past year, nabbing two previous bylines (here and here) in Cosmopolitan, one at Slate.com and even one at the New York Times back in November.
Her latest, "'I Felt Set Up': Why More Women Seeking Abortions Are Ending Up at Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers" is subtitled with the scare quote-equipped, "'Medical' pregnancy centers are starting to look more like abortion clinics, and some women feel misled."
Nearly 3,000 words, the article rehearses a bevy of flimsy and well-worn accusations against pregnancy help organizations. Whether too overtly religious or not religious enough, too equipped with medical staff and equipment or too ready to disseminate information on abortion, it appears pregnancy centers are getting it all wrong.
(This is the space in a response-type article like this where it's customary to identify the one potentially salient or otherwise dangerous point Winter touched upon. The problem is, there really wasn't one.)
But for all pro-life organizations seem to get wrong, the main issue in Winter's mind is that pro-life groups, politicians and individuals fundamentally reject abortion's promise to deliver mothers from motherhood.
Consider the following sentence, which Winter sets forth as the destination of her exposé's voyage:
"They make everything about how you're killing your baby instead of anything about the wishes of the mother."
As the article's penultimate sentence, this is by far the most disturbing, yet revealing portion of the entire piece. Winter, quoting a post-abortive woman whose story she employs to alert readers to the nonexistent horrors of pregnancy centers, gets right to the very heart of the issue with this quote.
It may be that Winter and her editors are unaware of the point she accidentally makes here. But she could hardly have been more precise in her exegesis of the very pulse of the abortion lobby.
The ideology that fuels abortion depends almost entirely upon introducing a fundamental war between a mother and her "wishes," and the baby she carries in her womb. It's as if there is an ultimate standoff between a mom and her baby — only one will make it out of this situation alive. It's either my baby or me.
This is, of course, a morbidly false dilemma. It's a violently oppressive rhetoric that scams mothers into taking the lives of their children in pursuit of "happiness."
We can certainly sympathize with Alison's tragic story. She felt abortion was her only choice — her one shot at chasing joy, at fulfilling her destiny, at realizing her "wishes."
Compare that to Matennah, a mother who was in a situation very similar to Alison's back in 2011. Like Alison, she had bills she couldn't pay. She was collecting unemployment. She and her 2-year-old daughter were on the perpetual brink of homelessness.
Like Alison, Matennah went to a doctor for an ultrasound. What she saw left her, in her words, "crying like a child." She was pregnant. With twins.
Shocked, Matennah went to the Yellow Pages and searched under "A" for abortion. Included in that section were two options — one was the now-infamous Kermit Gosnell's "House of Horrors" abortion clinic. The other was Alpha Pregnancy Services, a life-affirming pregnancy help center.
It was there — at Alpha, that is — Matennah found the practical help and emotional support she needed to choose life for her twin daughters. I met Matennah and her three beautiful girls when she went with Heartbeat International on an annual event called "Babies Go to Congress."
At Babies Go to Congress, moms have the chance to sit across the desk from one of their elected representatives in Washington, D.C., and tell them the life-saving difference pregnancy help made in their lives.
(You can watch Matennah tell her story here. It's four minutes I promise will be worth your time.)
While we walked the halls leading from one congressional office to the other with Matennah and her girls, I watched her grow in confidence. At no time in her life had Matennah been given a voice like this. With the help of a pregnancy center, she had emerged as a victor — a mother — from the so-called "War on Women."
And Matennah's girls — all three of them — are celebrating Christmas together this year with their momma. Turns out, she didn't have to choose between her happiness and her babies' lives. Neither did Alison.
That is the true tragedy of Alison's story.