Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crisis Pregnancy and Family Resource Centers

I've been really disappointed by the quantity of anti-crisis pregnancy/pregnancy and family resource center propaganda of late. (Like this article.)

The few that I've been associated with (fund raisers, etc) and that I've heard about in our community from friends and family that have received services are, yes, Christian based (and openly display that) and generally anti-abortion, but also provide goods, services, and resources as much as they can after babies are born. I may not agree with everything their staff says or believes, but they are literally the only organization in our community who offer these services, and they make it a point to offer info about other resources - carseat assistance programs, WIC, headstart, etc.

Besides, at least the ones I'm familiar with pretty much say it all in their name - "Pregnancy Resource," not "Abortion Resource." There are other organizations that will help you get an abortion. While it's regrettable that there are pregnancy resource staff out there that would give misinformation, there are also a lot of doctors and other medical professionals who give misinformation. I won't get started on that issue... I'll leave it alone after saying, Cytotec, 33% National average for birth via Cesarean Section, and so many other lies told to women in order to facilitate their compliance during exams, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. (Mama Birth does a great job covering those in her "Obstetric Lie" blog posts.) And there are the inadequately researched, but very profitable, vaccines that medical professionals push. (For the record, I'm not inherently anti-vaccine.) No matter who is spewing their version of "the facts" to you, including me, it your responsibility to research and make your own decisions.

I've had some less than great experiences at Planned Parenthood, leaving me seriously unimpressed with their services and staff. And I've had some decent experiences. I'm not going to condemn all Planned Parenthood centers based on the negative experiences I had with some.

I consider myself something along the lines of a pro-choice-lifer, or more aptly, a women's support advocate. I've known a lot of women who had abortions. None of them has ever said to me, "I was well supported physically, emotionally, financially and socially, and had an abortion because I just really really really hated the idea of having that baby." I'm not saying there isn't a woman out there in our big wide world who wouldn't say that, but I've never met her.

Maybe instead of dividing ourselves in to pro-choice or pro-life sides, we could all be pro-well-supported-women? Of course, well-supported also means well-educated, including sex-ed and pregnancy-prevention, and I think that leads to lower likely-hood of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. While I feel like, in general, well-supported women don't have abortions, even if a well-supported woman does choose an abortion, for whatever reason, instead of arguing over the research that says this or that about how likely she is to experience post-abortion stress syndrome, now or later in life, let's just offer her support in healing physically and emotionally.

I'm in favor supporting womens' health and Planned Parenthood, and developing some sort of guidelines for the provision of medical information by crisis pregnancy and family resource center staff. That said, I don't know any womens health organizations or centers who offer the same services that crisis pregnancy and family resource centers usually do, and I know first hand that Planned Parenthood isn't going to give a pregnant woman a carseat, maternity clothes, baby/kid clothes, slings and other "baby accessories", diapers, baby food, etc.

I suggest that if you would like to see an end to these centers, at least as they are, get involved. Find a way to offer the same services without the propaganda. Find a way to better do what they're doing. Are you currently doing anything? Are you personally supporting in any way or facilitating the support of dozens, or in some cases hundreds, of pregnant women who've chosen to continue their pregnancies? Are you providing carseats, clothes, diapers, etc to infants and children other than your own? Are you connecting families with organizations that will help them get healthcare, cars, housing, household goods, jobs? These are things the crisis pregnancy and family resource centers in our community have done. Until you're positive you can provide these things without them, perhaps you could reconsider condemning these resource centers based on your religious beliefs or personal unpleasant experience at one such place. I, personally, am not going to advocate telling them to shut up and get out, no matter how much I disagree with certain aspects of their approach, knowing the hole that would leave in local support for pregnant women and families.