After Attorney General Maura Healey issued a consumer warning about crisis pregnancy centers in Massachusetts, a newly formed coalition of centers wrote a letter urging them to lift the warning and demanding they defend it against vandalism attacks.
Her warning came after the fall of Roe v. Wade and cautioned pregnant people seeking an abortion to avoid the centers because they are organizations that “DO NOT provide abortion treatment or abortion referrals, contraception, or other reproductive health care, regardless of what they may advertise,” per her advice.
The response letter, signed by the Massachusetts Family Institute and the First Liberty Institute and dated September 12, is an 18-page document listing demands and questions for Healey. The First Liberty Institute is a nonprofit law firm and the Massachusetts Family Institute is a nonpartisan public policy organization. together they represent a coalition of crisis pregnancy centers or what they call “pregnancy resource centers” in Massachusetts.
Her letter defends these centers as groups of “men and women motivated by their faith to provide medical and professional counseling services and to donate diapers, baby wipes and hand-knitted booties to those in need.”
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Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of Reproductive Equity Now, an organization that aims to make reproductive health care accessible to all people, says crisis pregnancy centers are specifically designed to confuse a pregnant person’s options.
“Crisis pregnancy centers try to make it difficult for you to figure out that they are not legitimate healthcare providers offering the full range of care,” she said.
Much of the reply letter focused on vandalism at various pregnancy crisis centers and said there had been no arrests or attempts to investigate “Jane’s Revenge” (one of the groups allegedly responsible for some of the vandalism) “or other anarchists”. and prosecuted.
The letter also accused Healey of “falsely” claiming that crisis pregnancy centers use “deceptive and coercive tactics” and called on her to take steps to protect the centers.
“We remind you that as an officer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts you have a duty to do so Everyone Massachusetts citizens, including those you may disagree with politically, as they knit baby blankets and distribute baby food,” the letter said.
Although the attorney general’s office condemns vandalism and property destruction, she said it is also unlawful to deprive a person of their right to an abortion or to threaten or persuade people who try to invoke that right.
“It is vital that patients seeking abortion treatment are not misled, intimidated or coerced and that their constitutional right to make decisions about their pregnancy is protected,” said a spokeswoman for Maura Healey.
Hart Holder said crisis pregnancy centers are so harmful precisely because they mislead people.
“They have an anti-abortion agenda that is not made clear or transparent to the people who use their care,” she said. “Their goal is to prevent any person coming to their clinic with information that will prevent them from making the choice to have abortion treatment. They often use fake science and misinformation to lie to people about abortion treatments.”
Hart Holder recommended the New England Abortion Care Guide, a resource for people to find legitimate abortion clinics in their area.
Crisis pregnancy centers outnumber legitimate health care providers three to one in Massachusetts, Hart Holder said, stressing that even in a state like Massachusetts, which hasn’t historically been as anti-choice, it’s important to be aware of these centers.
Read the full letter from the First Liberty Institute and the Massachusetts Family Institute here:
Prc letter to Ag Healey with exhibits redacted on Scribd
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