“It’s a blessing to have them in my life” said Jennifer Gambo, of Middletown, to a reporter outside of a pregnancy center targeted by Democrats this session. She and many thousands of women were helped by Connecticut pregnancy resource centers last year with counseling, pregnancy testing, education, ultrasounds, donations, encouragement and compassion for free.  It was not only free to the women who sought their help, but free to the state of Connecticut, which offers no financial support to the 27 centers throughout our state that offer care to all women.

This is in stark contrast to the over $3 million of our state tax dollars estimated to be given to Planned Parenthood of Southern New England annually — the same entity that affiliates itself with NARAL, which has convinced Democrats to target pregnancy resource centers this legislative session. Earlier this session, the state Democrats released their “Values Agenda.”  That agenda includes the “value” of attacking pregnancy resource centers in Connecticut. The same one Ms. Gambo utilizes, the same one where a young African-American woman, in the face of protesters (one wearing a cape), bravely held a sign stating “I’m grateful” for her local center.

This proposed attack on pregnancy resource centers comes on the heels of the Democrat-controlled Hartford City Council, which oversees that financially strapped municipality, attempting to stifle the good work of Hartford Women’s Center.  Like their state counterparts, it seems many Democrats are unable to tolerate true choice for area women. Do they think every woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy serenely desires only one thing . . abortion?

Statistics show that women choose abortion out of fear — fear of financial and educational difficulty rank high in the list. Democrats would better serve their constituents by supporting pregnancy resource centers that address those fears for women, not attack them.

Connecticut Democrat abortion extremism extends to Congress too. On Monday, Jan. 29, Sen. Richard Blumenthal held a press conference at the State Capitol lambasting proposed legislation that would restrict abortions at the point where fetal pain can be detected.  For Sen. Blumenthal, I guess it is not enough that the fetus be killed, they must actually feel the pain. It is bad enough when Democrats defend these repulsive positions, but must NARAL and Planned Parenthood demand that they also torment the good work of pregnancy centers?

It is time to address abortion laws, but not in the way Democrats plan. It is time instead to talk about sensible measures to update our abortion laws and protect constituents.

For example, Connecticut is one of only a dozen states that does not require any involvement from a parent before a minor obtains an abortion.  Sex trafficking of minors continues to be a problem in Connecticut, particularly on the Berlin Turnpike. Democrats and Republicans should face this serious problem and stand up to NARAL’s extremism by discussing measures to discourage sex trafficking such as sensible legislation requiring parental notification or even consent for minors before abortion (like Massachusetts and Rhode Island).

Even pro-choice Democrats should restrain their leadership from pursuing pregnancy resource centers.  These centers provide free services to Connecticut women, saving the state, by at least one estimate, over $1 million annually.

There is no shame in being poor, pregnant and scared.  But there is great shame on Connecticut’s Senate and House Democrats for targeting pregnancy centers whose only crime it seems, is competing with the financial Goliath of Planned Parenthood — a financial Goliath that is regularly investigated for augmenting its bottom line with the sale of fetal parts and tissue.  Connecticut, for a variety of reasons, can no longer afford to subsidize Planned Parenthood.

And since NARAL and Planned Parenthood are eager to have the facilities of pregnancy centers further regulated and restricted, they should also tolerate a discussion of their own facilities and what happens therein.  No reporting is required as to the number of women who must be transported from abortion clinics directly to emergency rooms. There should be because there has been. And if NARAL and Planned Parenthood want parity, then pregnancy centers should offer to do the same.  That, along with the state providing equal funding or lack thereof, should be a welcome discussion at the Capitol this legislative session.

Leslie Wolfgang is affiliated with the Family Institute of Connecticut in Waterbury.

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