Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
Add this bill to the ones piling up around the country that continue to chip away at a woman’s right to an abortion.
This South Dakota bill – HR1217 - manages to decide that women aren’t capable of making decisions for themselves while requiring women – to visit expressly Christian, anti-choice and sometimes federally funded Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC) before they can schedule an abortion.
If you are unclear on what a CPC is here’s a quickie review:
Going by the names, Crisis Pregnancy Center, Pregnancy Aid, Birth Right, Open Door, CareNet, Life Choices, or Pregnancy Counseling Center, these groups want to be the first contact a woman makes when she thinks she might be pregnant, so they can talk her out of considering abortion. Anti-abortion pregnancy centers are listed in the yellow pages under “abortion alternatives.” They do NOT provide abortion. Many offer free pregnancy tests or pregnancy counseling as a means to lure you in. On the Internet they also use deceptive names like prochoice.com, and pregnancycenters.org. They do NOT provide referrals for abortion. Nearly all of these centers are operated by churches or religious organizations. They refer to themselves as a “ministry” to save women’s souls.
And, from my friend Kathryn’s excellent article last fall in Ms.
The deceptive tactics of many of the country’s CPCs—which are estimated to total between 2,300 and 4,000 centers nationwide—have been well-documented: They often mislead women about whether they perform abortions, mimicking the style or names of abortion clinics and operating in close proximity to them. Some provide misinformation about women’s pregnancy status or due date, or suggest unproven links between abortion and cancer, infertility or suicide. Yet despite these fraudulent practices, CPCs have received millions in funding from both federal and state coffers.
(and a link to my quickie post with links to the TAGGS government grant site on CPC funding here.)
And, if you didn’t catch this article Seattle’s The Stranger about CPCs you really have to give it a read:
According to the allegations, women were subjected to inappropriately long wait periods for pregnancy test results and were provided false or misleading information about abortion, birth control, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections. The report concludes that the centers “provide inaccurate information designed to delay women from making decisions about how to handle unintended pregnancy.” The centers often won’t give women their results in writing, which they need to qualify for medical coupons or Women, Infants, and Children programs in Washington. They refuse to issue referrals for services they can’t provide and morally object to. And when women visit these centers, they have no guarantee that their medical information will be kept private—again, the centers aren’t obliged to follow standard HIPAA privacy regulations because they’re not medically licensed businesses.
…You read that correctly, women wanting an abortion will be FORCED to visit pregnancy help center, otherwise known as a crisis pregnancy center. Many of these centers are not regulated by a government agency and are routinely staffed by volunteers who lack any type of training.
(RhReality Check posted an article about this a couple of weeks ago – but for some reason the article has only been “shared” or “tweeted” 9 times – really?)
And CPCs are exactly the place South Dakota would push women to visit. From the bill:
From H.R. 1217:
I am not sure how to calculate the number of ways this bill is offensive. I will give it a stab:
1. The language “unborn child” “relationship” “educate” these alone sound like wonderful things – there is nothing like being educated about your relationship with your unborn child. As a mother, learning about my pregnancy and following my now 21 year-old baby’s progress was thrilling. However, in the context of this bill it is manipulative right-wing Christian speak. Just because you believe it’s an “unborn child” doesn’t mean its not a zygote. A woman’s “relationship” with her pregnancy is none of the state’s business, and these places do not “educate” as much as intimidate.
2. Establishment clause.
3. The idea that a woman’s body is up for public debate – still confounds me. That this kind of legislation being continually introduced is not surprising, it is disgusting.
4. The government can’t force you to buy health insurance – that would be unconstitutional – but they can force women into CPCs
Want to find out if the CPC down the street got federal funding? Here is a link to the Tracking Accountability in Government Grants website (TAGGS)
Check the status of this bill in SD: here