As someone who quite enjoys empowering people to think critically, I have found this quote by Soren Kierkegaard to be ever the more relevant as I consider the absurdly discriminatory and restrictive policies that seek to punish pregnancy resource centers for not providing abortions: “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
Thinking for oneself seems to be a lost art in today’s age. In reading Sophie Wheelock’s response to HB 7070, I think the title of her argument is relatively sound- and at first glance- it seems very noble. She’s advocating that women deserve honest, complete information when it comes to an unwanted pregnancy. I believe that, as well, and I think women can count on that type of information at a PRC.
Women should never be conned, tricked, or intentionally misled; agencies who exist solely to trick women should be investigated and regulated. At the heart of most pregnancy resource center advertising though, is the simple belief that women have a right to be informed. That’s why there is a lot of information published on their websites and why most of them want women to consider visiting them.
I find it disconcerting that HB 7070 advocates are really stating that women are incapable of scrolling to the bottom of a homepage on a PRC website (where the location information is, might I add) and reading a disclaimer. In fact, I’ve visited a shoreline Connecticut PRC website, and it takes one scroll of my computer mouse to find out that I cannot get an abortion or an abortion referral at this center.
Another Connecticut PRC website contains this disclaimer under the “Services” tab where it’s stated that the abortion information found there “is educational and the center does not provide or refer for abortions.”
If I wanted to learn about options I have, though, (and, just going to spell it out here, not options I have at one particular center, but legal options I have as a woman dealing with an unwanted pregnancy) I can find those too. That’s what being “informed” is; it’s looking at all my available options and choosing what’s right for me. These disclaimers are not strategically placed in a ploy to be deceptive or written in fine print contrary to Ms. Wheelock’s argument.
I refuse to believe that women aren’t intelligent consumers. I also refuse to be fooled. Out of one side of their mouths HB 7070 proponents proclaim that “abortion isn’t a big deal.” It doesn’t carry long-term effects, it’s a quick medical procedure much like visiting the dentist, and people shouldn’t contribute to the narrative that most women who seek an abortion are frantic or fraught with worry.
Out of the other side of their mouth, as they advocate for this bill, they claim that women seeking an abortion are particularly vulnerable, unthinking, and on a very strict timeline to get the procedure done. Which one is it? Again, if we believe that women are capable of thinking for themselves, we should believe that wholeheartedly and stop perpetuating the lie that women aren’t able to find abortion services on their own.
I believe women do enter PRCs frantically sometimes, but they have a right to leave when they want to. Otherwise, why would over 25 pregnancy centers still be in operation in the state of Connecticut? These centers are providing services and a level of care that doesn’t align with a pro-abortion agenda, and that’s the reason for this bill– not to preserve reproductive health rights, but to condition young women and men to believe that they really don’t have to think critically about anything at all. The government will do that for them.
Last, my fellow critical-thinkers, let’s halt the sensationalism tied to this bill. Phrases like “this is a national strategy to block patients from accessing abortion” are untrue. PRC’s are made up of transparent women who are simply providing honest, complete information about a woman’s available choices; they simply don’t provide an abortion and they won’t do so.
They’re not physically barring women from leaving the facility, they’re not throwing Bibles at them and demanding they stop having sex, or any other antiquated, sensationalized, incorrect narrative the proponents of this bill would like the public to believe. I’m unsure of who the “bad actors” in the state are; but if they exist something should be done about them, certainly.
Right now, however, there aren’t documented complaints against PRCs from women seeking an abortion and instead being lured into a center under completely false pretenses, being held captive in said center, and then missing the opportunity to get an abortion from an abortion provider. These claims don’t exist; they’re fabricated.
I implore Connecticut’s young men and women especially, but all men and women to be critical thinkers. Do your research, visit these PRCs, visit abortion providers, and don’t buy into sensationalized reports. If a PRC is unlicensed and a woman decides she’d like a licensed healthcare provider, she can find one.
Anyone can make a call and hear on the other line: “we don’t offer that, but we can help with this” and make a decision about whether or not they want that particular type of help. That is the great thing about the freedoms provided to us as Americans—we can make our own decisions about what’s best for us.
That’s really good news!
Katie Geeze is Development Coordinator for the Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center.
CTViewpoints welcomes rebuttal or opposing views to this and all its commentaries. Read our guidelines and submit your commentary here.