By MEGAN RAGAZZI
On Saturday, Oct. 26, the anti-choice organization “Caring Families” will hold its “Abundant Hope” fundraiser at the University of Connecticut with Care Net President/CEO Roland Warren. International Women’s Strike CT—with co-sponsorship from Young Democratic Socialists (UConn), Youth for Socialist Action (UConn), CT Campaign for Medicare for All, Socialist Resurgence CT, Quiet Corner DSA, Western CT DSA, and Central CT DSA—are joining together outside the Rome Ballroom at the UConn Stores campus at 4 p.m. on Saturday to protest this fundraiser and raise awareness about this issue surrounding our reproductive rights.
The funds raised at Abundant Hope will go to expand “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” (CPCs). Despite the name, these facilities intentionally mislead and shame pregnant people and deter them from exercising their right to choose. You’ve certainly seen their ads on subways or on the sides of buses—they offer free pregnancy tests and claim to offer confidential counseling. Their methodology relies on deception and intimidation.
When the number on the advertisement is called, the representative keeps their answers vague in order to secure an appointment with the individual. If a quick search online is placed, CPCs often list themselves under “abortion services” or “family planning.” They appear to offer abortion services but, in truth, they do not. They also strategically place their clinics within medical buildings or near real health clinics. If someone walks into a CPCs, they often have to endure watching anti-abortion films, slide shows, or photographs that are graphically and psychologically disturbing [i]. Visitors of the center are coerced, bullied, and outright lied to.
Caitlin Bancroft went to a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Virginia and was told during her visit that “the pill could cause breast cancer, that condoms are ‘naturally porous’ and don’t protect against STIs, and that IUDs could kill [her].”[ii]
Furthermore, these Crisis Pregnancy Centers can apply for federal funding under the Trump administration’s Title X grant. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood cannot receive Title X funding due to the “gag rule” forcing them out of the program. Currently, Obria, a non-profit that runs crisis pregnancy centers, is the only group that has received federal funding under the new Title X. In 2019, Obria was approved and awarded $1.6 million[iii] in Title X funding, even though the only birth control they offer is the “fertility awareness method” which is the act of tracking ovulation to prevent pregnancy.
In Connecticut, there are 25 CPCs, with more than 80% located less than five miles away from a college or university campus[iv]. In the fight for reproductive health for all, we cannot stand by idly and allow these centers to continue to operate and manipulate individuals seeking comprehensive healthcare. We want to raise awareness about these centers and ultimately ensure that all people seeking reproductive health care have safe and educational access to it.
[i] The Truth about Crisis Pregnancy Centers. NARAL: Pro-Choice America , 6 Dec. 2016, https://www.prochoiceamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/6.-The-Truth-About-Crisis-Pregnancy-Centers.pdf.
[ii] Bancroft, Caitlin. “What I Learned Undercover at a Crisis Pregnancy Center.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 15 Oct. 2013, www.huffpost.com/entry/crisis-pregnancy-center_b_3763196
[iii] “Obria Group.” Obria Group, https://www.obriagroup.org/news/hhs-title-x-family-planning-fund-fact-sheet
[iv] Crisis Pregnancy Centers: A Threat to Reproductive Freedom. NARAL: Pro-Choice Connecticut Foundation, February 2018, https://connecticut.prochoiceamericaaffiliates.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2018/03/2018-CPC-Report.pdf