Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Virginia's Crisis Pregnancy Center's Are Under Attack

A friend recently forwarded this e-mail to me.

Blue Ridge Women's Center rarely mentions political matters, but two bills currently under consideration in Virginia would directly impact our Center, and we'd appreciate your help.

Last week the NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Foundation announced that, after a year-long undercover investigation into pregnancy centers like ours throughout the commonwealth, legislation is being proposed to further regulate our work (see this report from the Family Foundation: http://www.familyfoundationblog.com/2010/01/20/naral-general-assembly-allies-attack-apolitical-pregnancy-resource-centers/). Would you help keep Virginia centers free from the burdensome regulations of SB 188 and HB 452? Contact your legislators (http://www.familyfoundation.org/legislator.html ) and recommend that they vote against these two bills. And please do so quickly—we just found out that the subcommittee hearing is scheduled for this afternoon.

We are, as always, grateful for your support, your prayers, and your concern for the women and children of our community. Below you'll find our press release responding to the NPCVF report.

Blue Ridge Women's Center today responded to charges by the NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Foundation that the majority of crisis pregnancy centers in Virginia provide "medically inaccurate information" and therefore represent "a threat to public health" rather than benefiting women who face unplanned pregnancy.

Blue Ridge Women's Center issued the following statement in responseto last week's NPCVF report:

"Women who face unplanned pregnancy need reliable information, practical resources, and emotional support. Blue Ridge Women's Center, which has been a trusted part of the local community service networkfor over 25 years, understands this and stands behind its services to the women of the Roanoke Valley.

"Numerous other local organizations—including physicians, hospitals, clinics, social-service providers, schools, and churches—refer clients to Blue Ridge Women's Center, depending on us to provide them with free pregnancy testing and pregnancy verification, parenting and life skills classes, maternity clothes and baby items. Our peer counseling services have helped thousands of women to navigate the challenges of unplanned pregnancy. We value the trust placed in us by our communityand are committed to providing quality care in a safe, confidential, non-judgmental environment.

"While the NPCVF report cited no specific examples of 'medicalfalsehoods' perpetuated by Blue Ridge Women's Center nor quotes purported to have come from our Center, our name is included on the list of pregnancy centers that they allegedly investigated, and they indicate that they contacted us by phone on four occasions. Due to the undercover nature of NPCVF's actions, we cannot confirm that such telephone contact took place.

"Blue Ridge Women's Center has medical professionals on its paid and volunteer staff, including a Medical Director who is a practicing, board-certified OB/GYN. We conduct regular reviews of our literature and medical services to ensure that any information distributed to our clients is consistent with current research findings and accepted medical protocol.

"In addition to this, Blue Ridge Women's Center and many of the other pregnancy centers in Virginia voluntarily comply with a set of industry standards upholding accuracy and excellence in client care and communications. As an affiliate of CareNet, NIFLA, and Heartbeat International, Blue Ridge Women's Center annually reaffirms a written 'Commitment of Care and Competence,' and requires its client-services staff and volunteers to participate in continuing education to keep their knowledge and skills current. NPCVF has provided no evidence that our Center has either violated this 'Commitment of Care and Competence' or supplied misinformation to our clients.

"Blue Ridge Women's Center provides free support services to hundreds of women annually, and has served more than 14,000 women and families since 1984. We encourage anyone concerned about the quality of our work to consider the testimony of our clients, who indicate a high level of satisfaction with the Center on their exit interviews.

"'I would recommend friends, family, or acquaintances who have unplanned pregnancy to come here for support,' one of our clients writes, and she's not alone in that recommendation. Last year over half of our clients came to us through referrals from family members or friends.

"With the continuing support of its donors and volunteers, Blue Ridge Women's Center remains committed to providing quality care to the women of our community regardless of their age, race, religion, income level, or circumstances.

"Regarding the funds from the Choose Life license plate campaign to which the NPCVF report refers, Blue Ridge Women's Center does not receive any financial support from the federal or commonwealth government, and has neither requested nor received any funds from the sale of Choose Life license plates.

Many thanks,

Rev. Phil Holsinger (Coach), President/CEO


Julia Riber Pitt said...

I think the best way to end abortion is not through legislature but by people's organizing to make a better world for all. If we created a non-hierarchal participatory society where everyone would be taken care of less women would have abortions. In countries with high standards of living (the Scandinavian countries, for example) abortion rates are very low (even though I'm not necessarily a fan of state socialism). The reason why I oppose crisis pregnancy centers the way they are set up: usually by wealthy churches or elitist right-wing think tanks. They are, in essence, simply treating the symptoms without curing the disease. The disease is the social conditions women who have abortions are living in. Until the conditions are changed, women will never stop having abortions.

Brooke McGlothlin said...

Hi Julia,

In reality, most crisis pregnancy centers are funded by private donations and are supported by local churches. However, as a woman who has served in one (as staff, volunteer and board member) for almost 10 years now I can assure you that we are not set up by wealthy churches or elitist anyone. In fact, when we read your comment we all sat around talking about how much we would love to have a just one really wealthy church behind us! We aren't affiliated with any ONE church. Often gifts given to this endeavor are given out of lack, sacrificially, because the person or organization believes in the compassionate care we give to our clients.

I do agree that the heart of everyone concerned about the issue of abortion should be to see women protected, lifted up and given the tools they need to live healthier lives. At Blue Ridge Women's Center that is our daily prayer for the service we provide.

Thanks for hearing me out!