State of Choice

Christian-Backed Pregnancy Centers Help Desperate Oregon Women, But Won't Discuss Abortion or Birth Control. Should Pro-Choicers Let 'Em Be?


Great article! The line "A woman who really, really needs an abortion is going to get one" reminded me of something I'd like to add. When I was 19 I thought I was pregnant, and despite being reasonably intelligent in other regards, I reacted with an idiotic plan- to make my body as inhospitable to a fetus as possible in the hopes of having a miscarriage. For me, this meant eating little, and drinking and smoking heavily. Another woman I know, around the same age, deliberately starved herself when she thought she was pregnant. She too was otherwise reasonably intelligent. This was back in the early 90's, and maybe most young ladies today are smarter, but I doubt it. You know why? Because we have all seen that show or movie. You know the one? It's the one where the girl accidentally gets pregnant, and considers having an abortion. We all sit on the edge of our seats waiting to see if she'll do it- but in the meantime, all the emotional stress she's going through somehow leads to her having a miscarriage. We all get to breathe a sigh of relief- since she didn't actually have an abortion she/we don't have to face the moral dilemma of choosing abortion. We are taught that if you can just have a miscarriage, it's okay. I think this is a prevalent way of thinking and leads a lot of young women to do stupid, desperate things, both consciously and unconsciously. When I think of this, I get mad- at my young dumb self- and at society for not encouraging women to choose what is best for them.
All these pro-life groups crack me up. Isn’t the world over populated enough? Where would all of the magical resources have come from to support the extra 42 million people that would have been born if it weren’t for abortion?

I thought Pro-Choice meant that a woman, or young Lady, was free to choose. It is her decision and there is no one right answer, one which she may regret later. Instead of supporting a Woman's right to choose, you seem to be berating or belittling a Woman who does choose to keep her baby, or maybe even give birth and then offer the baby up for adoption. This article is written SO pro-abortion, as though anything else is wrong. But maybe it is written to the audience, as not a lot of young Christian women read the Portland Mercury. The article also did not mention that Planned Parenthood receives a LOT of Federal Funding, while Pregnancy Resource Centers receive NO Federal Funding, only private Fund-Raising.
Wonderfully written article-- thanks for your work looking into this difficult debate.
Sarah...speaking of pushing agendas, it sure sounds to me that you are pushing an anti-free speech agenda for Christians. Why shouldn't Christians have the freedom to speak to women who voluntarily come in to Pregnancy Resource Centers just as much as PP has the opportunity to push their "abortion is the best option" agenda to women in crisis. The idea that a woman would "NEED" an abortion, is as outrageous as saying a mother "NEEDS" to kill a special needs baby, or any other inconvenient human. If population was truly a concern, the emphasis should be on abstinence...not extinguishing life that already exists! Let's be real here, abortion is a money-maker and there are corporate interests at stake here that have got legislators on the move. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking there is real compassion for these young women. If a woman's best interest was truly the intent, PRC would not be a threat as their goal is to support pregnant women in their time of need with maternity clothes, resource referrals, and newborn layettes. All humans are at times hypocritical, but pinpointing PRC volunteers for this doesn't add up. Why would Christians volunteer their time, money and resources to single parents. Obviously, these women have broken one of the Ten Commandments. And yet, even Sarah admits that she was treated with dignity in two local centers. The volunteer had nothing to gain from Sarah's choice. We are not led to believe that PRC's are farming babies for adoption or any other hypocritical motive for serving at these centers....their crime is serving women in need?? What???

As a woman who's survived three crisis pregnancies, single parenting and an abortion I am thankful that there is a non-judgemental, motherly environment where women can get support if they CHOOSE to keep their baby or just need someone with them as they read the results on the stick. We don't regulate EPT tests, they are sold right over the counter, no medical degree required. PRC tests are most often administered by RN's. Let's honor these women, not make it difficult for them to find support in THEIR choice. The abundance of PRC's as opposed to abortion providers in our liberal state is a testimony to the need for these services and the support of the community for PRC.

It's a shame that Sarah was so deceptive in her research as this is a great discussion for our state to have and we would have been much better served by having both sides speak openly about their goals and agendas. I've been through the Healing and Encouragement for Abortion Related Trauma offered through PRC and I am thankful for the referral to this program and the opportunity to re-evaluate my perception of Christianity and the opportunity to bond with other women who felt shame for their abortions and inability to discuss that pain with others. I say, kudos to PRC for their loving, non-judgemental volunteers that desire to help WOMEN not harm them or politicize them.

My husband and I, now older and wiser, often wonder if with the advances in ultrasound technology and insight into development in the womb, will we someday look back at abortion the way we now look back at slavery - with an embarrassment and bewilderment to how we could have been so ignorant?? What a tragedy that we are not recognizing what so many women instinctively know when they see that positive test result. It's a life. But, aside from the is-it-a-life debate, I have experienced first and second hand that abortion hurts WOMEN. Don't let pro-abortion advocates monopolize our community. Let women truly have a choice.

And one more note -- Sarah's comments about just further support the point she is trying to refute, women who blog about their abortions talk of the regret and pain, women who have the courage to go through with their pregnancies have been blessed by that decision. I keep asking myself, why the eagerness to protect, even promote, abortion? At the very least, allow pro-lifers to have their just doesn't make sense.

PS - I'm also an conservationist and environmentalist!! :)
I really appreciate the honesty of the report. Though deception is alleged, you found something quite different and told the story as it is. Thanks for that.

That PRC is Christian and pro-life is hardly a point of deception nor is it that Planned Parenthood is pro-choice. My guess is that the "Juno" experience has some reality. I wonder how many pregnant women go to a Planned Parenthood clinic and are counseled to forgo an abortion.

One response I have to the state and national legislative issues is that if PRC's are regulated, then Planned Parenthood and other places giving advice to pregnant women must be too. That's a huge justice issue as I see it. Standard of fairness must be equally regulated on all, not just PRC folk.
I felt that the author of this article did a good job of trying to give an unbiased report.

She did a good report on what actually happens at a Pregnancy Resource Center and on the phone.

Though to be completely unbiased and fair she should have gone into a Planned Parenthood or abortion clinic "faking she was pregnant" but instead of being liberal and wanting to end a pregnancy with an abortion change and want to stay pregnant with no resources and no education. Tape and report on how the employees or volunteers acted and what was said at Planned Parenthood. It would make for an interesting debate, and not so one-sided.

I believe women are very smart and know they have the ability to get an abortion if they want to. Most women enter a pregnancy resource center because they want a different choice. With all the debate of Pregnancy Resource Centers and Medical Clinics women know that they are not going to get an abortion or a referral when they go in and they also know how and where to find an abortion.

I applaud her statement "If I don't like the information I get from the Pregnancy Resource Centers or I want to talk to someone about birth control, I have a choice."

Thanks again for reporting on how you were treated in a Pregnancy Resource Centers and how they did not try to deceive you.
Flora, possibly, in your philosophy regarding overpopulation, we should start with other groups that aren't "needed". Perhaps you could give your own life? Jabberwocki, your emotional hatred clouds your obvious intelligence.
Whoops, I meant Damosa's comments on Christians and Jen's comments on overpopulation.
@ 4lovebirds...
Christians have ALL the goddamned freedom in the world, so what are you talking about? Historically to current, christians have had the right to do all kinds of fucked up things. So, knock it off with the whole "victimization" thing.

Blatantly LYING to women about ALL their options where it concerns THEIR health is not covered by the First Amendment - which sanctimonious christians seem to want only for themselves & noone else.

And some women do NEED abortions sometimes. B/c her life, HER life may be at risk. The fetus maybe born dead, anyways. There are many reasons, mostly medical-related, that make a MEDICAL procedure such as an abortion necessary.

And over-population is most definately a concern. Which is why TRUTHFUL HONEST EDUCATION on sex & CONTRACEPTION/BIRTH CONTROL should be the emphisis! "Abstenince" is a joke, give it up already.

Your santimonious talking points are all full of holes, like your "intelligent design" theories.
Re: “State of Choice”
to DamosA: Talk about education! Sounds like someone should go back to grammar school --

"And over-population is most [definitely] a concern. Which is why TRUTHFUL HONEST EDUCATION on sex & CONTRACEPTION/BIRTH CONTROL should be the [emphasis]! "[Abstinence]" is a joke, give it up already."

...perhaps diversity training could be considered as well.
To Consequences..

High-lighting afew mis-spelled words in someone's opposing arguement in order to avoid taking on the issue head-on is a cheap cop-out, just so you know.
But diversity training would go a long ways in improving humanity though. Just tell it to disingenuous christians who have no grasp on reality & only care about:

stopping gay marriage
stopping all abortions
stopping the eeevvvil Muslims
@ 4lovebirds

Congratulations, you got pregnant!

You know who else gets pregnant? Cockroaches. Rats. Vermin of all sorts.

Humans have the unique ability to create art, music, poetry. Perhaps you should aspire to such an endeavor, instead of squirting out babies.
I know, right?

Out of all the great works in the world, pretty-much NONE of them can be attributed to christianity or christians. These people don't care at all about creating art, literature, technology, etc. Through-out human history, all christians have done is burn books, vanqish civilizations, destroy monuments, exterminate cultures, & breed out of control.

And to this day, from invading poorer countries to burning korans in FL, one can see that not a damned thing's changed with these people.
DamosA- Oh, my god. I am as anti-Christian as it gets but that's the dumbest thing I ever heard. Anyone with a rudimentary education knows about all the incredible Christian art and monuments. Travel a little. Cripes.
@Noelle. I agree, it would have been better if the author could've faked pregnancy at Planned Parenthood to give an unbiased report, but you can't fake a pregnancy at PP. They give you a pregnancy test before they talk to you about your options. If you are pregnant they offer you information on adoption, abortion, and prenatal care and offer prenatal vitamins. If you are not pregnant the offer you information on birth control and condoms to those that seem interested in them.
@turtledove. Thanks for the information. Still to get a complete unbiased report the author could have found a woman who was pregnant to go into PP and be uneducated and unemployed and still want to stay pregnant.

From personal experience, it depends on who you talk to at PP. In an ideal world, PP would offer equally unbiased information on all three pregnancy options. The problem lies in that PP does have a financial benefit if a woman chooses to terminate her pregnancy and no benefit if she choose to continue her pregnancy. A pregnancy resource center does not have a financial benefit all of their services are free.

Both Planned Parenthood and Pregnancy Resource Centers are motivated by an agenda driven by a deeply held belief system. Both want to help woman, but believe differently on how to help. A very hot political topic.
@ wren

Maybe YOU ought to take a bit course in history 101 yourself. All of the so-called "great art & monuments" by christians have been built on the crushed ruins of Pagan/pre-christian civilizations. Many christian kings, conquerors, & conquistadors had sacked many monuments of the OLD world, destroyed them, & build their own chruches ontop the still smoldering ruins.

Christianity itself is basically a mutt religion, having stolen bits & parts of itself from prior Pagan rituals. For more on that, simply look up ZEITGEIST:
I feel like the subject of regulation gets a pass in this article and subsequent comments. Clinics like PRC are a little bit deceptive and manipulative, but only insofar as they promote what they geniunely believe to be true and best for pregnant women. Attempting to regulate their speech and counseling efforts just increases the politicising of this issue and subsequent attempts by motivated individuals on each side of it to use multiple levels of government to promote their agenda.

Even if these clinics were "regulated," I doubt it would make much difference in how they do business and could produce a backlash that far outweighs in gains in providing accurate information. Also, I feel like multiple social norms make it pretty easy for folks at the PRC to dissuade women from abortion/non-approved alternatives.

That said, I'd totally dedicate a portion of my very small income to groups that empower women to make choices for themselves in more provincial areas. But empowerment goes far beyond making folks aware of alternatives.
If you're going to a Christian anything, I think you know what you're going to get. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that if you're going to discuss abortion with Christians, they are going to try to persuade you otherwise, in the same ways they try to persuade everyone else of everything else- guilt and manipulation.

People who go to things specifically labeled for a religion are looking for people to do this to them. They want it.
If they want unbiased answers, go to Planned Parenthood. I doubt they actually try to push anyone to have an abortion, but I'm pretty sure they don't care if you abort or not, doesn't matter to them.
DamosA ass !!!! Every Christian seems to run through your current rant.EVERY CHRISTIAN? Are you so fucking angry at your BIG ASS that you can't see your own bigotry thru the fog in your brain?What exactly is your connection with this paper?Shit stirrer or shit spewer?DamosA as in Dee most asshole!!!Oh God I appologize for the knee jerk because of these idiots.
"People who go to things specifically labeled for a religion are looking for people to do this to them. They want it.
If they want unbiased answers, go to Planned Parenthood. I doubt they actually try to push anyone to have an abortion, but I'm pretty sure they don't care if you abort or not, doesn't matter to them."

The thing is, many of these so-called pregnancy crisis fronts are just that. They DON'T advertise themselves as christian owned or backed, & women certainly aren't looking to get preached to or persuaded into a specific agenda - not when they're in a dire situation! Christians are incredibly sneaky & increasingly desparate. They KNOW that they're losing this culture war of theirs, so that's why they're now setting up these places all over the country. And again, this is NOT a First Amendment issue! You can't set up a place of business or even a non-profit, defraud & victimize vunerable people, then claim "free speech" when there's talk of regulation.
To DamosA,
Two interesting points about your comments. 1. Not encouraging someone end somebody else's life should be a crime 2. If we should abort for population control why not find some other helpless people to off as well. This sort of hysterical garbage gets in the way of any real conversation.
" If we should abort for population control why not find some other helpless people to off as well. This sort of hysterical garbage gets in the way of any real conversation."

I never said or suggested that abortion ought to be used as population control, as that would be incredibly ineffective. I just think that people should practice BIRTH control alot more often inorder to prevent pregnancies [& thus abortions].
Thanks for sharing your insights on this issue. I find the attack on the Pregnancy Resource Centers to be very concerning. My wife and I are two people who have struggled with the very real regrets and challenges from choosing to have an abortion in our teen years. We know many others whose lives have been negatively impacted by making the same choice. I am in full support of the work of PRC and wonder why those on the attack feel threatened. Where is there damage being done? What are the facts?
I have had an abortion. I know several other women who have had abortions. None of us regrets it. Three of us went on to have children when they were ready. They are extremely happy as parents, but being so did not awaken remorse for the abortions they had. They are happy they had the choice to wait until they were more financially stable. Two of them have told me the realities of bringing up a child make them realize more than ever how completely overwhelmed their younger selves would have been, and how glad they are they waited. I am bringing this up only to balance all the reports of regret you see out there. I do believe there are people who deeply regret it, and I am truly sorry for them. But as me and five women I know could tell you, there are plenty who don't regret it one bit.
Well said TooTall13...
The topic of abortion always seems to be a loaded one. Many people have such fixed opinions on the subject, that conversation or debate is impossible. And this is sad, because unless you are pregnant, IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!
No one knows for sure if a woman will regret her abortion or if she will regret giving birth to a baby and giving the child up for adoption. She might keep the baby and enjoy raising it, or she may regret giving up her youth to work hard for her child. No one knows what the outcome will be, and only the woman can make the best choice for herself
I am a pro-choice advocate (if you can't tell). While I do feel strongly that women should have the right to a safe and accessible abortion, I am in no way threatened by the presence of Christian-based pregnancy resource centers. A Christian-based resource center is better than nothing at all in areas that are under served by fully inclusive centers that can advocate both for keeping a pregnancy or having an abortion. Ideally, there would be a Planned Parenthood in every town, but this is not the case.
For those who feel threatened by PRC's, I suggest doing something to support Planned Parenthood or an abortion referral hot-line, you could even start your own referral hot-line! Attacking the PRC's is not the most productive move; I see it creating a greater division between people on either side, which may create more of a backlash. Also, attacking PRC's doesn't really help in creating more awareness, education and options for women who need it. Creating a website or a publication with your perspectives and experience on pregnancy options would be useful!
Please stop perpetuating the division between pro-choice and pro-life.
Thanks, Sarah Mirk for taking on this challenging topic!!

Here's the Petition to sign!!!
I'd like to know why this reporter didn't pose as a fake client to see how Planned Parenthood treats their clients. And why she didn't do any research on the history of Planned Parenthood and it's founder Margret Sanger...Margret Sanger was a racist and practiced Eugenics, like Hitler. Her desire as she said in her own words "is to exterminate the negro popultation." Don't believe me, do your own research, it's not that hard to find out. In regards to RU-486, which Planned Parenthood says it give out up to 63 days into the pregnancy, that's 9 weeks from first day of last menstrual period. The FDA has only approved RU-486 to be given out 7 weeks from last monthly period, so why is NO ONE regulating or checking up on Planned Parenthood & Abortion Clinics. The fact is, that Planned Parenthood & Abortion Clinics are the most unregulated "medical" facilities in the U.S. Cytotec which is the 3rd drug in the RU-486 combo is also being given with the instruction by many clinics, to be inserted vaginally, but has only been approved by the FDA to be taken by mouth. Yet again, no one's regulating that either.

Speak to the clients of the Pregnancy Resource Centers, so many are being pressured by someone else in their life to have an abortion that it ends up not being their choice at all. If the Pro-choice/abortion groups are so concerned about women then why aren't they doing anything to provide more resources for women who want to have their babies? Ok, so women have abortions because they can't pay their rent, they've lost their jobs, or their insurance, so what that means is, if they had access to financial assistance they would have made a different choice. How about instead of giving them a scholarship to have an abortion, they give them a scholarship to pay their rent, or pre-natal care...oh, probably because it's easier to kill their baby and be done with them, then have to stand by them for the long hall.

Pregnancy Resource centers want to help women find those resources that can help them to keep their baby. If the government would stop giving billions of dollars to Planned Parenthood, maybe there would be more resources for women in those types of situations. Lastly, if there are 1.3 million abortions every year, how much money does that net abortion providers? That's a lot of money to be making of the misfortune of women in crisis, while Pregnancy Resources Centers struggle constantly to raise private funding to help women and they make absolutely no money as a result of that help.
I am not saying whether abortion is right or wrong, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the subject just as they are to their opinion on religion. the only thing i would like to say is that i have had a significant amount of experience with a PRC, i have volunteered there for two years now in the EYR. my experience has shown me that these people are there simply to help those in need. they do not impose their ideas on anyone but are simply loving to the woman who come in. most of the woman that come in have already had children and simply need diapers, clothing, wipes, toys, car seats, and other such items. parenting classes are also offered. this is a free country. you are free to go to whatever clinic you want whether it's the PRC or Planned Parenthood. i'm not sure why it's a crime for them to help women in need, they are only trying to make the world a better place. i have heard many people complain that Christians do not live out their faith but i feel that these Pregnancy Resources Centers are a manifestation of their faith and an example of Christ's love to the needy.