June 16, 2004

Bush Applauds Questionable Tactics

Bush addressed the Southern Baptist Convention today via satellite, and among all the usual 'yay, fetus' jargon, was this:

We will also continue our support for crisis pregnancy centers...

Crisis pregnancy centers are fundamentalist church group fronts that sometimes advertise as though they were abortion providers or groups that acted as quality watchdogs for abortion services. This is how Planned Parenthood describes the 'services' of the more disreputable outlets:

  • They may perform your pregnancy tests without medical supervision.
  • They won't give you complete and correct information about all options.
  • They will try to frighten you with films that are designed to keep you from choosing abortion.
  • They will lie to you about the medical and emotional effects of abortion.
  • They may tell you that you are not pregnant even if you are, to fool you into continuing your pregnancy without knowing. The delay would make abortion more risky and keep you from getting prenatal care.
  • They will discourage you from using the most reliable methods of birth control.

Is anyone besides Planned Parenthood calling the ethics of these CPCs into question? Apparently, according to an anti-choice group, New York AG Eliot Spitzer has "issued subpoenas to New York City crisis pregnancy centers, requiring them to provide copies of all advertisements, web site addresses, services provided, staff who provide the services, training materials, blank forms, records of all agreements made, and a list of all persons who received any service from the clinics before Feb. 1, 2002." The suit was withdrawn later in 2002, based on the following understanding:

  • Clearly informing persons who inquire about abortion or birth control that it does not provide those services or make referrals for them;
  • Disclosing verbally and in writing -- before providing a pregnancy test or counseling about pregnancy -- that the center is not a licensed medical provider qualified to diagnose or accurately date pregnancy, and informing women that only licensed medical providers can confirm pregnancy or provide medical advice about pregnancy;
  • Clarifying in advertising and consumer contacts that the pregnancy tests it provides are self-administered (i.e., over-the-counter tests); and
  • Telling persons who call or visit the center that it is not a medical facility.

A news article regarding the flap said the following about the stand of the AG of South Carolina:

...Attorney General Charlie Condon of South Carolina wrote a letter asking Spitzer to drop the inquiry, saying he believes that the centers provide "outstanding" assistance to women facing unplanned, unwanted or difficult pregnancies.

"The centers soothe the pain, relieve the suffering and ease the trauma of women who are hurting," Condon said in a letter, dated Friday, sent to Spitzer. "Those who operate the centers freely give of themselves with a helping hand and a loving heart."

...Condon is a staunchly anti-abortion Republican who has charged women in his state for abusing their unborn children by using cocaine while pregnant. ...

Searching for information on this turns up a host of articles from Town Hall, WorldNetDaily, and other roosts of wingnuttery decrying the horrible assault on free speech that was Spitzer's quest to prevent crisis pregnancy centers from lying to pregnant women. And that's what the entire final agreement as stated above covers. Don't lie, don't misrepresent yourself as something you're not, and you can say whatever else you like about abortion. But clearly no one was looking out for the truth in South Carolina. Or for quite some time in Louisiana, where it took a class action lawsuit to shut down an inveterate liar.

I'm sure there are some of these centers that act with honesty. But based on a condom fact sheet from the site of a group that oversees and provides services for a large network of these centers, I'm thinking that a strict adherence to medical fact isn't on the menu in many cases. Just as it hasn't been for a long time with the Bush administration.

It's all pie in the sky when you die for present and accounted for humans, and a willingness to fight to the death for potential humans.

Posted by natasha at June 16, 2004 08:19 AM | Human Rights | Technorati links |

Have you heard about "Best Friend" - they teach abstinence prior to marriage, and no information on birth control

Posted by: lorelei the loca lady at June 16, 2004 01:48 PM

Do aborted fetuseses (feti?) go to heaven?

Posted by: vaara at June 17, 2004 06:02 AM

I have some strong reasons to hate those people, but that first point is a non-starter - you don't need "medical supervision" to perform a pregnancy test.

Even in the days when we had to mix the rabbit serum with the urine and the dye it was a simple three-minute test that required no special knowledge. It was nice to have the little machine that you could leave the slide on to let it mix, but once you'd seen how the machine did it you knew what kind of motion worked best and could do it as easily in your own hand. It was a very hard test to screw up.

The tests you can buy at the drugstore these days are pretty reliable, and in fact not very different from those used in real medical facilities. (What's different is that a medical facility buys them in bulk - last time I looked, you get 50 to a box.)

There are two reasons for the myth that home tests aren't reliable. One is that when they started to be promoted, a lot of people from labs screamed about how people would be getting a bad deal from not having done by a real (expensive) professional. Preganancy tests cost a buck apiece for the lab but had a 90% mark-up and produced significant income to the lab.

The other reason is that people think they can test the reliability of pregnancy tests by using male urine as a control, and when they do this they think if they get a positive it's a failure of the test. The thing is, pregnancy tests are meant to detect a protein in women's urine that is not normally there most of the time. That doesn't mean it's not in men's urine. Geraldo once made this mistake on national television and thought he'd proved a clinic was faking their results, hahaha. Surpise, Geraldo, no one has ever designed a pregnancy test for men because we already have one - if you're male, you're not pregnant.

Posted by: Avedon at June 17, 2004 02:11 PM