My Patients Deserve Complete Care: Why I Support New York City’s Crisis Pregnancy Center Bill


As a family physician, I provide comprehensive health care for all of my patients, including safe abortions for women who decide to end a pregnancy. I’ve cared for many women who came to me in crisis when they learned they were pregnant. The last thing my patients need is to be misled by anti-abortion organizations masquerading as health clinics. I’m strongly in favor of the New York City bill requiring crisis pregnancy centers to disclose that they do not provide abortions or contraception, or offer referrals for these services.

I recently treated Michelle, a 16-year-old who came to my clinic for an abortion. Michelle received counseling from our social worker, and she was quiet when she entered the exam room—not unusual for a woman going through a difficult time. However, as I began to counsel her about what to expect during the procedure, she started to sob.

“Are you sure this is the right decision for you?” I asked.

She exclaimed through her tears, “I can’t have a baby right now!”

We sat down together and discussed the pros and cons. She was not ready to be a mother, or to be pregnant. She wanted to go to college. Michelle felt suicidal at the thought of carrying out the pregnancy. Her mother was opposed to abortion, but Michelle still concluded that it was right for her.

On the way to the clinic, however, Michelle saw a nearby building with a large sign: “Unintended Pregnancy?” Thinking it was our clinic, she went in. She was surprised that instead of taking her medical history, the staff asked her about her relationship with God. They told her that ending a pregnancy is murder, and if she followed through with her abortion, the baby would feel pain during the procedure. They showed her pictures of fetuses from much later in pregnancy. “I can’t get them out of my head,” she said.

I expected Michelle to say that she had changed her mind and wanted to leave our clinic. Instead, she touched my arm, looked into my eyes, and thanked me for being there. “I’m ready now.”

This young woman had determined on her own that she did not want to be pregnant. She considered all of her options, and she chose abortion. She did not want to be a mother right then. She wanted to continue her education. Despite the propaganda that the crisis pregnancy center forced on Michelle, she chose to end her pregnancy.

New York City has just introduced a bill that could help prevent women from being misled by crisis pregnancy centers. It would require these centers to post signs clearly stating that they do not offer abortion or contraceptives, and will not help women find a provider who does. The bill would also make centers without a licensed medical professional on staff add this fact to their signs. Michelle might have been spared her traumatic experience had she seen a sign like this on the door of the crisis pregnancy center.

Beliefs about abortion and reproductive health are all over the map. Some women in Michelle’s situation will choose parenting or adoption. But traumatizing women with misinformation doesn’t help anyone. Pregnant women need care and counseling based on medical evidence and compassion, not lies. That’s why I support the effort to give women in New York City clear information about what happens inside crisis pregnancy centers.

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  • zenith15

    Here in Austin, Texas we have recently passed an almost identical bill, much to my delight.

     

    I used to live just a block away from a crisis pregnancy center, and I once went there for a “free” pregnancy test. At the time I was in my late 30′s with a 12 month old baby and was not married to my partner yet due to difficulties in obtaining a divorce from my previous husband. 

     

    A young girl, no more than twenty, sat me down for a lengthy lecture on the immorality of living with my partner and suggested that I leave him immediately, and return to my soon to be ex, abusive former spouse.  They forced me to wait over an hour for the results of a one minute pregnancy test, while showing me gory and misleading films, loading me down with churchy literature, and lecturing me on immorality and Jesus’s disapproval of such. 

     

    The test was negative, thankfully, but had I known what I would be put through I would have gladly paid for a store bought test. 

  • ack

    I’m so sorry you went through that!

  • beenthere72

    What a nightmare!    What if you don’t believe in Jesus?   They take on a whole new conversion agenda?

  • jessk

    YES, we’ve been needing more bills like this. Patients need to have ways of knowing whether they’re walking into a fake clinic or a real one. I wish we could do this on a national level.

  • davewise

    This bill needs to be passed at a national level, as a nurse who had to struggle through college and clinicals four years and shimmy under a mountain of debt, I find it not just morally wrong for these “clinics” to exist but also personally insulting as it seems that all I would have to have done to be a healthcare professional is love jesus, and spew propoganda at vulnerable patients

     

    all these “crisis centers” should be closed. unless states want to send the message that my living room  can also be a “Urology/Neurology  Crisis Center” and I can tell patients needing brain surgery or vasectomies that what they really need is god….sickening

     

    Ahhh a nice rant…..I feel better 

  • suburbangrrrl

    And, if I’m not mistaken, some of them get federal $ for abstinence only ed in our public schools.

  • catseye71352

    The government gives them money when they SHOULD be prosecuted for sponsoring terrorism.

  • prowomen

    Hundreds of millions of tax dollars have gone to fund these fake clinics.  In addition, a Congressional study found that 87% of the fake Crisis Pregnancy Centers provide misleading information by telling women that abortion is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, infertility and mental illness, including suicide.  They, also, tell women that condoms won’t protect against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the World Health Organization all dispel these false claims. 
    Furthermore, the Hatch Amendment to the health care reform bill reinstates $250 million in federal funding, over five years, for failed abstinence-only Title V programs. Fake clinics in states that opt into the Title V program will be able to receive millions of dollars in federal funding.  
    These clinics have been awarded tax dollars to promote the dogma of a specific religion and that is illegal.  Those clinics should be picketed. 

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