Report Crisis Pregnancy Centers Mislead Folks / Public News Service

PORTLAND, Ore. — A new report investigates facilities that dissuade women from getting abortions.

Known as crisis-pregnancy centers, the facilities have proliferated across the country.

Kim Clark, senior attorney for reproductive rights, health and justice at the advocacy organization Legal Voice, said crisis pregnancy centers purposely deceive people.

“They draw people in by misleading folks and giving the false impression that they are full-service reproductive health clinics,” Clark explained. “And then, really all they’re providing is the drug-store pregnancy test and potentially an ultrasound that is useless, if not actually harmful, insofar as it could be misleading.”

The Alliance: State Advocates for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality partnered with Legal Voice on the study, called “Designed to Deceive.” According to the report, there are nearly 3.5 times more crisis-pregnancy centers in Oregon than there are abortion-care clinics.

Sometimes known as pregnancy-resource centers, the organizations running them state their purpose is to provide medical resources to expectant mothers.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard challenges to a Texas law, which would essentially ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Clark pointed out crisis-pregnancy centers are connecting and in contact with pregnant people, and the Texas law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and people who aid women with getting abortions.

“Which creates an incentive for, basically, the surveillance of pregnant people,” Clark contended. “And crisis-pregnancy centers are really in the ideal position to serve that function.”

Clark noted there are measures states can take if they are interested in reducing unintended pregnancies.

“Expanding access to reproductive-health care and access to comprehensive medically accurate sexual health education, both would go a long way,” Clark asserted.

The report found some crisis-pregnancy centers have been able to secure public funding, although Clark said it is not the case in Northwest states.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Women small-business owners in North Carolina say access to financing is a key component of helping women reach economic success.

Jainaba Jeng, founder and CEO of Kitchens of Africa based in Raleigh, an African-inspired specialty foods company, is originally from West Africa. She said she sought to recreate the foods of her native country in easy-to-use sauces.

She noted the community development-focused Self-Help Credit Union guided her through the process to get her first commercial loan.

“They were able to look beyond my current circumstances and saw all the hard work that I had put in over the years,” Jeng recounted. “They judged me not on what I was going through now, but on what I had achieved throughout the years that I had the business.”

Research shows around 52% of women business owners have access to bank credit, and often get offered smaller loans and pay higher interest rates compared with men.

According to the National Association of Women Business owners, more than 11 million businesses nationwide are owned by women, and more than five million by women of color.

Jeng added the financial assistance has helped her grow her business.

“I have been able to expand my product line,” Jeng explained. “I started out with two jars; now we have seven different SKUs on the market. “

Tina Postel, executive director of Loaves and Fishes based in Charlotte, explained because women often have the added demands of child care, and might have gaps on their resume due to leaving the workforce, women end up losing out on income over time.

“Sometimes it is a bigger struggle for women to get ahead economically,” Postel remarked.

Since the onset of the pandemic, many small businesses have closed or are barely staying afloat. Last year, Gov. Roy Cooper announced a statewide program to help funnel $12 million to help boost economic recovery of state-certified minority and women-owned businesses.

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HOUSTON – Two court rulings in one week over the controversial Texas abortion law have providers questioning how to proceed.

Last Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the law. But on Friday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the near-total abortion ban – the strictest in the nation – to again be enforced. The law bans almost all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.

ACLU of Texas staff attorney Adrian Piñon believes the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which protects a pregnant person’s ability to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction, should supersede the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8.

“Every single lawsuit that is brought under SB 8 should be thrown out of the courthouse,” she said, “because the behavior that’s being penalized is fully legal.”

SB 8 also allows people to take a doctor, health center or anyone who helps another person access abortion to court, with a $10,000 reward for each abortion, to be paid by the person who is sued. Three of the four San Antonio clinics that provide abortion care told the Texas Tribune last week that, to avoid lawsuits, they have temporarily stopped offering it.

Like many other U.S. laws, Piñon said, the Texas statute has the greatest impact on the most marginalized residents – those who are young or low-income, and people of color. She noted that time-sensitive abortion procedures already are affecting providers in other states.

“The number of people who are going from Texas to Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico has increased,” she said, “which then delays the time-sensitive care across the board.”

A poll by Monmouth University in September found 62% of Americans say abortion should either always be legal or legal with some limitations.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — With the national debate over reproductive rights approaching a boiling point, an abortion-related bill had its third hearing in Ohio.

Wednesday, lawmakers heard testimony on Senate Bill 157.

Margie Christie, executive director of Dayton Right to Life, said the measure would require a physician to act to save the life of an infant born alive after a botched abortion.

“No one in this state should ever be left to die,” Christie argued. “Not in our streets, not in our hospitals, and certainly not in our ambulatory surgical facilities.”

Opponents noted failure to provide care already is a first-degree felony.

Jamie Miracle, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, questioned the hearing’s timing, as last week an abortion “trigger” bill had its first hearing.

“Each time this Legislature hears testimony or introduces yet another total or near-total abortion ban, this issue comes up again to try to provide cover for the extremist anti-abortion agenda of this legislative body,” Miracle contended.

Under Senate Bill 123, Ohio would ban all abortions should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case this fall which could impact the landmark 1973 decision.

Christie countered the new bill is not about limiting abortion access.

“It poses no challenge to Roe v. Wade,” Christie asserted. “This bill simply gives a child born alive, outside the womb, regardless of its circumstances, the chance to be alive.”

The measure would also create reporting requirements and criminal penalties for clinicians who fail to report a baby born alive after an abortion attempt.

Miracle said fear of going to jail should not be a factor in medical decisions.

“Patients must be able to trust that their doctors are able to provide the best, compassionate and individualized care, without interference from members of the Ohio Legislature,” Miracle emphasized.

Wednesday’s hearing ended without a vote on Senate Bill 157.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.

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