Pro-Lifers, Crisis Pregnancy Center Operators Push Back Against John Oliver's 'Hit Piece'

Comedian John Oliver on 'Last Week Tonight,' April 2018.
Comedian John Oliver on "Last Week Tonight," April 2018. | (Screenshot: Last Week Tonight)

Pro-life advocates are pushing back against comedian John Oliver who used his HBO show "Last Week Tonight" to smear nonprofit pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, alleging they give women medically inaccurate information.

Oliver spent the much of his program Sunday sarcastically mocking the work of the pro-life pregnancy centers, at one point suggesting they ought to appreciate contraceptives and be "filling Pez dispensers with birth control pills, giving condoms to trick or treaters, and IUD earrings as hostess gifts."

Near the end of the segment, Oliver opened up a fake crisis pregnancy center in New York called "Vanned Parenthood" that was set up in a van driven by "Wanda Jo Oliver," portrayed by Rachael Dratch, who dispensed "alternate facts" about abortion.

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One operator of a pro-life health clinic commented that Oliver's take was one-sided, though she spoke with him about her line of work.

"It was extremely troubling to watch this 'one sided' presentation of John Oliver ripping Crisis Pregnancy Centers," wrote Brandi Swindell on her Facebook page. Swindell is the founder and CEO of Stanton Healthcare in Idaho, which has centers across the state.

She recounted that she was personally interviewed over the phone by Oliver last week and spoke with him at length about her work.

"I talked to him about the professionalism, quality medical care, compassion and commitment we provide for women who choose to come to Stanton," she explained.

"Thankfully, Stanton and myself were NOT mentioned in this bizarre satire story however it's disturbing because it shows the obvious bias against life-affirming clinics."

Her center and others that offer similar services "didn't fit the narrative for his hate piece," she went on to say, and the compelling points she made during the interview did not sync with his agenda.

"The most troubling part of the segment is the total disrespect and disregard for the strong, capable, and amazing women we serve. Their voice is what matters most. And one has to wonder why a man would be so obsessed with abortion and making sure women don't have options other than abortion? It's sick."

Likewise, prominent pro-life advocates decried the segment.

"This is a misogynistic hit piece on amazing, nonprofit medical and pregnancy resource centers for women. They provide confidential, free support to those in need. They don't push or sell abortions, but offer life-affirming practical solutions," said Lila Rose, president of the pro-life investigative group Live Action, on her Twitter account Monday.

"Shame on you," she said.

Abby Johnson, who was once a Planned Parenthood staffer and now advocates for the unborn, noted the dishonesty and double standard in media coverage of abortion clinics versus pro-life pregnancy centers.

Writing on her Facebook page Monday, Johnson elaborated that "when it is exposed that Planned Parenthood or any other abortion facility is skirting around the law, committing Medicaid fraud, covering up statutory rape, etc., the media says that it was an 'isolated incident.' However, if there is one teeny tiny incident at a pregnancy center, the media paints all centers with a broad brushstroke and says they are all like that one center."

Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood “Employee of the Year,' says Planned Parenthood takes the lives of 332,278 unborn children in 2009 in a Life Always TV commercial.
Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood “Employee of the Year," says Planned Parenthood takes the lives of 332,278 unborn children in 2009 in a Life Always TV commercial. | (Screenshot: Life Always)

"Pregnancy centers will never be able to effectively compete with the abortion industry, nor should we want to. Almost half of their services and revenue is tied up in abortion...a service that we will never provide. So, we want to provide services that they would NEVER consider providing: material assistance for Mom and baby, professional counseling, true options counseling, grief counseling from past abortions, lactation support, parenting and childbirth classes, fertility care instruction, and so much more."

She addressed the charge from the abortion industry that pro-lifers are "coercive," speaking from her experience of having worked in the abortion industry for eight years. Johnson is the founder and CEO of And Then There Were None, a nonprofit group that exists to help abortion clinic workers leave the abortion industry.

"I can say unequivocally that the most manipulation I have ever witnessed was inside the abortion center walls," Johnson said. "In fact, with 64% of women feeling forced or coerced into having abortions, you would think that Planned Parenthood would be taking every step possible to ensure that coercion, or even trafficking, isn't taking place in their centers."

"But oh wait. It is Planned Parenthood that has opposed every single anti-trafficking bill proposed by pro-life legislators. If you want to see who Planned Parenthood is really out to protect, you don't have to look far. They want to protect abusers, not victims."

Follow Brandon Showalter on Facebook: BrandonMarkShowalter Follow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow

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