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Amy Everitt, State Director of National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) Pro-Choice California, stated, "Women deserve to have all the facts in order to make the best decisions about their own health, lives, and futures." I could not agree more. Unplanned pregnancy can be scary. Pregnant at the age of fifteen, I would know.

In the US, two of the largest entities women can turn to are Planned Parenthood and crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). Abortion rights advocates have taken special aim at CPCs. I've heard it in person. In the interest of seeing what the organization was about first-hand, I accepted a contact's invitation to volunteer at a NARAL luncheon. While there, I attended a session solely dedicated to these "fake" clinics and the threat they pose to the abortion industry. CPCs do, indeed, differ from Planned Parenthood, and for more reasons than you might think.

Here are five truths you need to know about so-called "fake" clinics.

1. They believe women can handle information

While Ms. Everitt's quote above sounds nice, it quickly becomes clear that the pro-choice movement believes that the most important option for pregnant women to have "all the facts" about is abortion. CPCs believe women deserve more, which is why they provide them with far more information than they receive at an abortion clinic. When receiving prenatal care by licensed professionals, women are encouraged to ask questions. Most importantly, they are given scientifically accurate information about fetal development, and they are allowed to see their ultrasounds.

The pro-choice camp is adamant that women not be given this information, as if women are too ignorant to think for themselves—or too dangerous if they do—and must be told what is best. And what is best for abortion clinics and their bank accounts is pushing abortion. What seems to upset pro-choice advocates, and results in their unfounded claims of coercion, is that CPCs let women know there are options other than abortion.

2. They offer a wide range of services

Planned Parenthood touts the number of non-abortion services it provides, but then obscures its reliance and focus on abortion by counting the procedure or medication as an equal service to, say, prescribing a pain medication or giving a urine test. Thus, a woman can rack up as many as five services during an abortion, only one of which is labeled as "abortion." CPCs are not focused on one procedure. They demonstrate their care for women and the public welfare by offering a host of services, such as:

  • Free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds
  • Prenatal care and medical referrals
  • STI testing and treatment
  • Programs for those who experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or grief after choosing an abortion
  • In-depth counsel on the best options for the mother and baby
  • Help in the adoption process, if applicable
  • Resource assistance and emotional support (housing, education, medical services, etc.)
  • Cohesive parental support for both mothers and fathers (parenting classes, breastfeeding instruction, early childhood development, SIDS reduction, etc.)
  • Tangible support, such as diapers, cribs, and other necessities

3. They are free

CPCs are not-for-profits and don't collect a dime from their patients. Healthcare professionals and volunteers like myself don't give our time so that we can disenfranchise women. We stand to gain nothing financially.

On the contrary, abortion is extremely lucrative. I have heard it argued, "No one wants abortion, they just want it to be an option." That sounds nice, but the reality is that NARAL does want abortions—badly. While claiming that women's health—and not abortion—is their end goal, they spend a lot of time and energy trying to take down clinics that offer a host of free healthcare services to women. Their cash cow and agenda is threatened by anyone who would give women other viable options. Who would you trust more to give you advice: the person who stands to make a bundle off you, or the one who doesn't?

4. They are upfront about their view of abortion

CPCs unashamedly believe abortion harms women. As such, they neither provide abortions, nor refer for or promote them. Do vegan grocery stores advertise for the local butcher shop? Why would you expect them to? Does the fact that CPCs omit promoting abortion keep women from knowing that it exists or having it as an option? Of course not! Abortion and its availability are well publicized. If a woman does not like what a CPC has to offer, she is welcome to turn down the free services and seek help elsewhere.

5. They are compassionate

The idea that Planned Parenthood cares about women and that CPCs are bullies who only care about getting another baby into the world is pure myth. Those who work at CPCs are a far cry from the pushy, judgmental sort they are painted to be. To be sure, as with all endeavors, there are a few who have chosen their words poorly or presented themselves in a way inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the pro-life movement. However, speak to women who have received care in a CPC (even some of the women sent undercover with an agenda), and you will hear overwhelmingly of the compassion, warmth, and empathy they experienced.

Perhaps most telling is where women go for help after their abortions—those with complications or who felt bullied into going through with the procedure. Is it their local family planning clinic? No, they got their paycheck; they're done. It's the "fake" clinics—which stand to gain nothing financially and are too late to save a baby—who come alongside these women, with true compassion, medical help, love, counseling, and grief classes.

I know, I know. Women don't suffer physical or mental anguish from abortion, right? Tell that to those of us who, some full-time, help the women who suffer from a condition we are told doesn't exist. Being "scared into" having one's baby has an even more frightful flipside: being scared into terminating it.

Thank God for the ability to see all that is true and good about the "fake" clinics that offer so much to women.

Laura Lynn Hughes is the author of Choose Zoe: A Story of UnPlanned Parenthood and the Case for Life . She is a mother of five and grandmother of eight. She is a volunteer at her local Alpha Pregnancy Clinic and Alpha Mobile Unit, and is the co-founder of A Movement of Love Ministry, serving as a speaker and teacher about pregnancy, fetal development, and post-abortion trauma and recovery in community colleges, high schools, and conferences, both nationally and internationally. She runs a photography studio, Images by Hughes, in northern California. The daughter Laura kept at fifteen is now an adult, wife and mother of four who serves her community as a school psychologist.
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