Pregnant? Need help? Call 1-800-PROPAGANDA
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Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 01:09:05 AM EST
The alarming erosion of any pretense of a wall between church and state here in Texas is evidenced by the state's diversion of $5 million in health care funds to evangelistic crisis pregnancy centers. Despite the standard restrictions on using public funds to proselytize, this lucrative contract is designed to funnel state money into both Protestant and Catholic CPCs, both of which have only two goals: stopping abortion and winning souls for Christ.

And now that movement is poised to go national.

The Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) is waiting in the wings with its 95-10 Initiative, a piece of omnibus legislation that, beneath a veneer of concern for women, provides federal funding for a nationwide campaign to herd women into CPCs -- in addition to imposing the so-called Woman's Right to Know laws that are shutting down access to abortion care from Minnesota to Mississippi upon every abortion-providing physician in the 50 states.

Federal Funding for Toll-Free Number/National Public Awareness Program
Enact an advertising campaign in each state to provide a toll free number that will direct a woman to organizations that provide support services for pregnant women who want to carry their children to term and/or direct women to adoption centers.
*Organizations that qualify for the referral from the toll-free hotline must be non-profit, tax exempt organizations that do not provide abortion referral services.

Women's Right to Know
Any women's health center or clinic that provides pregnancy counseling or abortion services must provide accurate information on abortion and the adverse side effects to a woman's health.
Provide Ultrasound Equipment
Provide grants to nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations for the purchase of ultrasound equipment to provide free examinations to pregnant women needing such services. This equipment will be operated by licensed professionals.

It has been my own observation that "women needing such services" are the ones who are induced by a CPC's offer of "abortion aid, assistance and advice" to walk in asking for help with an abortion -- and that the addition of licensed professionals would be a marked improvement . . . but that is another story.

DFLA Executive Director Kristen Day makes clear that their goal is to eliminate all elective abortions in the country within 10 years after the passage of 95-10, and that government promotion and funding of CPCs is the most powerful weapon in their arsenal.  

Image hosting by Photobucket   CareNet, a nationwide network of crisis pregnancy centers, has also endorsed the 95-10 initiative, with President Kurt Entsminger applauding the proposal's focus on pregnancy resource centers. Legislation arising from the initiative would require abortion centers to inform women of the adverse effects of abortion, and pregnancy counseling centers to provide adoption referral information.

The stated goal of cutting abortions by 95 percent is not an arbitrary aim born of ambition, Ms. Day said, as she stated that 5 percent of abortions are performed due to rape, incest, or maternal health concerns, and that eliminating those in a decade is not realistic.

The DLA (sic) Web site lists six Democratic congressmen and one senator as vocally supportive of the 95-10 initiative.
Should the initiative hiccup at the federal level, DLA plans to promote it state by state, but Ms. Day is optimistic: "Six months ago Democrats wouldn't even talk about abortion. Now we're beginning to have a dialogue."

The pilot program for state by state imposition of the 95-10 Initiative is about to be up and running in Florida - where, in 2004, the then-president of the state's chapter of DFLA, Valerie Mierzwa, called John Kerry the "Hitler of the Unborn." The Florida initiative will be propelled by a savvy operation that makes our CPC initiative here in Texas look like a home-grown outfit.  The winner of Florida's $3 million contract is  Care Net, a CPC powerhouse with over 800 affiliates in North America.

Florida State Grant Program to Reduce Abortion

STERLING, Va., Feb. 3 Christian Wire Service -- Care Net announced Thursday an unprecedented development regarding the use of marketing and a unique 24-hour call center to help women facing unplanned pregnancies find alternatives to abortion. The State of Florida has allocated $2 million to fund a new program to promote alternatives to abortion and support the work of pregnancy centers throughout Florida. This new program will be administered by the Florida Pregnancy Care Network (FPCN). The Option Line call center, jointly owned and operated by Care Net and Heartbeat International, has been retained by the FPCN to serve as the official call center for this new state program. The Option Line (800-395-HELP) currently receives more than 10,000 calls, e-mails, and instant messages per month from women across North America who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. Now, it will be expanded to serve an even greater number of women in Florida and connect them with the help of a local pregnancy center.

Image hosting by Photobucket  Care Net President Kurt Entsminger praised the State of Florida and those involved in the initiative for its innovation and efficiency. "By utilizing the Option Line, this program will involve a call center that has proven effectiveness in meeting the task at hand: caring for women facing unplanned pregnancy, connecting them with local help, and ultimately, helping to reduce the number of abortions."  Research shows that seven out of ten women who contact the Option Line are considering abortion. After visiting pregnancy centers, most women will choose to carry their pregnancy to term. "Care Net is enthusiastic about this new program, which allows meaningful participation by faith-based organizations. We believe that if this program is tested over time, we will see a significant reduction in the number of abortions in the state of Florida."

The FPCN will launch an advertising campaign modeled after Option Line marketing efforts. English and Spanish commercials as well as Internet ads will promote a newly-created Florida 1-800 number that will ring directly into the Option Line call center in Columbus, Ohio. All Florida pregnancy centers currently receiving phone calls through the Option Line will be immediately eligible to receive phone calls made to the new 1-800 number.
The Florida program will also involve the reimbursement of qualified pregnancy centers for counseling services that abide by Florida's faith-based initiative guidelines. The FPCN will allocate the state funds to those pregnancy centers that wish to participate and have been trained and approved by the FPCN.

In Kurt Entsminger, Jeb Bush's Florida has definitely picked a man who can spread a message.

An example of the way that paid search marketing can effectively stretch a ministry's advertising dollars is the work being done via Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing by Care Net, which runs a national crisis pregnancy hotline. Kurt Entsminger, the president of Care Net, shares that since the mid-90's Care Net had relied primarily upon billboards, television and Yellow Pages as the primary means of promoting its hotline. The cost per call from their marketing efforts ranged from $15 to $80. Care Net considered any campaign with a cost per call of less than $25 to be successful. Since the company adopted paid search marketing last year, they have seen their ppc-related cost per call drop to just $5.

Entsminger explains that the benefits of paid search advertising go beyond lowering marketing costs. "Not only is Internet advertising producing calls at much less expense, it is also proving most successful in reaching our target audience of women in crisis pregnancies."

No, never let it be said that Kurt Entsminger doesn't understand marketing. Last year Care Net announced a partnership with Interstate Batteries that has seen Care Net profit from expanding its national exposure through NASCAR-related sponsorship - and instead of paying for that endorsement in the customary manner, Care Net is receiving a large share of its co-sponsor's profits.

Image hosting by Photobucket
This fall, Interstate Batteries and Care Net have teamed up to launch "Charged for Life," a new fundraising campaign to help support the work of pregnancy centers across the U.S. and Canada. The strategic partnership was kicked off at the NASCAR race in Martinsville, Va. where the Interstate Batteries car featured Care Net's name and logo.
Image hosting by Photobucket
"Interstate Batteries is a great role model for companies seeking to make a difference in local communities," said Care Net President Kurt Entsminger.

Only last year, Entsminger expressed doubt about the ability of Care Net to take government money in Florida without compromising its "evangelistic goals."

Mr. Entsminger told WORLD that in the past Real Alternatives "has excluded evangelical centers all together." Mr. Bagatta said that's because until last summer federal guidelines prohibited the group from distributing funds to "centers that proselytize." Under new guidelines from the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, Mr. Bagatta said Real Alternatives would be able to include evangelistic care centers, as long as counselors separate pregnancy counseling from evangelism sessions.

Mr. Entsminger said he's pleased with the development and hopes the same thing could happen in Florida. "We're not asking the government to pay for our religious activities," he said. "But we do want to see programs that allow for maximum participation from all pregnancy care centers, including centers committed to evangelism."

Lt. Gov. Jennings said the Florida program would aim for maximum participation. When asked if the Bush administration would have any reservations about explicitly evangelistic centers, Ms. Jennings replied: "Are you kidding? Not this administration."

Yes, apparently that pesky legal division between church and state is longer a problem.  And considering how heavy the Care Net catalogue is on Biblical materials and antiabortion propaganda, what a blessing that is for Care Net's volunteer "consultants," who can continue to "be the hands and feet of Jesus."

Several years ago, a CPC in Calgary operating under the Care Net umbrella was investigated for its dishonest practices, which included fear and guilt-inducing misinformation about abortion.  A young woman featured in the Canadian W-5 program's televised exposé, fooled by deceptive advertising, went to the center seeking information and advice about how to obtain an abortion. She was told that having an abortion would put her at risk of future infertility, eating disorders, and self-mutilation, in addition to leaving her guilt-ridden for life and ruining her relationship with God.  

Despite Care Net's slick and shiny PR campaigns, their fundamental message hasn't changed: abortion is dangerous, God hates it, and if you have an abortion, you WILL be sorry.

A number of Care Net-affiliated centers offer an online Post-Abortion Stress Test featuring over 40 indicative "symptoms" in three categories, ranging in severity from "disappointment" and "weight gain" all the way to frankly alarming signs of possible mental instability such as "fear of having a deformed child, fear of God's punishment, feeling the presence of the aborted child." Put a checkmark next to even one of these - even the mildest and most ambiguous -- click the button labeled "Take the test," and a pop-up window informs you that "You ... may have a mild form of post-abortion stress. Call us today at 1-800-595-5753 if you would like to speak in person with someone about post-abortion syndrome."  

Yeah, girl, come on down.

[ moiv's continuing series can be found here ]

Oh boy.

"Democrats should give up Fighting For Abortion rights, maybe birth control too - we'll expand our base ! We can't Lose" - An especially dumb strategy, courtesy of the DFLA

Enter : DFLA

[ pronunciation key : think of "Tattoo", from "Fantasy Island", exclaiming to Ricardo Montelbaum ( sp?)  "Boss, Dee PLANE ! Dee PLANE !"  now apply to DFLA, as in "Dee FLAH ! Dee FLAH !" ]

OK, moving along....

If the  Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) are succesful in getting their 95-10 initiave passed, will that somehow be a victory for Democracy ?

Well, probably not and for many reasons - but the most salient of those to me is simply this :

I was curious about who this "DFLA" was, so I took a peek to see what religious groups DFLA links to.  Now the best of the lot - by far - was Jim Wallis' Sojourner's, with Redeem the Vote perhaps a close second.

DFLA's other 10 linked groups devolved rather rapidly from there though, and from what a cursory scan told me, the majority of those groups:

  1. are directly working as, or linked to,  "Renewal" groups ( recently showcased - as covered in an ongoing series by John Dorhauer on the campaign to destroy liberal Protestant churches in the US, at Talk To Action - here on dKos ) that advocate "literal" interpretations of the Bible and have been working to split up, undermine, and destroy America's mainline religious denominations for - in some cases - over two decades now.

  2. Not only oppose abortion rights, but are opposed to legal BIRTH CONTROL.

  3. Were rather peppy cheerleaders for the "Pro Life" camp in the Terri Schiavo spectacle. For a bit on two of the "Pro Life" leaders in that production event, see my Monday piece at Talk To Action.

So, is DFLA's proposed initiative a good bet for the renaissance of the Democratic Party ?

Well, only if you fancy losing access to legalized abortion AND birth control for starters. Oh - and gay marriage ? ........... are you kidding ?  

Call DFLA's chosen fellow travellers in faith - but for Sojourner's and "Redeem the Vote" - "Christian Reconstructionism Lite".

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 11:47:03 AM EST

I find this article just painful to read. This direct assault on women and women's healthcare is a scandal!  Outrageous.

I saw a column from the Waco Tribune Herald in which even the writer, John Young, seemed to be in shock (Headline: Look where our family planning money went):  

In question are two moves by the Texas Legislature that foolishly impair vital women's health services. The first is a budget rider that diverts $20 million over two years away from traditional family planning providers and allots it to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). The second would divert $5 million over the biennium from those same providers to crisis pregnancy centers.

The clear intent of both of these initiatives is to undercut funding for women's clinics such as Planned Parenthood, with their traditional role of using pass-through federal funds to provide family planning and health care to the poor.

Since Waco has a FQHC -- the Family Practice Center -- one was to assume that at least the money would stay in our community when the local Planned Parenthood affiliate lost $159,000 for the upcoming year. But that's not the case. The Family Practice Center didn't apply for the funds. It doesn't perform the services Planned Parenthood does. It often refers patients to Planned Parenthood and vice versa. So, where did Greater Waco's family planning money go? It went to the Georgetown Community Clinic, which is one of the few FQHCs which applied for the money. It ended up with a windfall of more than $550,000.

What idiocy -- to direct federal money away from agencies that use it for its intended purpose. State Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, author of the budget rider, said this is just a better way of using the money. Pray tell, how?

by cyncooper on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 12:48:42 PM EST
The writing that you, moiv, Esther, and others at Talk To Action have been doing here on Talk To Action might be enhanced dramatically by some anthologized treatment, of the various posts, that put it into an overall meta-narrative framework.

People seemed to really like it when I anthologized John Dorhauer's ( with related posts and material ) series : the anthology seems to be shaping up as a touchstone for or entrance into the subject.

I suspect that the Christian right attack on reproductive rights needs a similar treatment.

Also, I've had a research project on my mind for a while now :

A narrative that adds up and details the various federal and state outlays that go out yearly under the rubric of "faith based" ( regardless if they bear that name or not ) .  Compiling that total is - I think - very important because I don't know of anyone anywhere - or any group - who can tell me what the total figures are. I've done some research along those lines, and it might be a nice subject for distributed research here on Talk To Action : a group  project.  Many hands make light work.

I know the total is actually ( Federal and state ) in the billions, but HOW many -  3 ? 5ish ? 10s ? 20s ? more ? - is anyone's guess.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 01:14:02 PM EST

Both of those ideas are good ones. I especially like the $$ calculation, which would be very useful.  Especially if there could be two or three different time periods to show the comparison.  Any foundations out there ready to fund you/us?

by cyncooper on Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 03:04:27 PM EST

I'd very much like to see some sort of distinction made between faith-based and religion-based organizations and services - between

[1] those who, led by their own faith and commitment to look after "the least of these," offer much-needed services to the community without overt preaching, coercion, playing on people's fear and panic, or otherwise promoting a religious agenda, and

[2] those whose raison d'etre consists largely of promoting such an agenda, (usually thinly) disguised as "providing a community service."

In my life I've seen faith-based organizations do a great deal of good, from my years as the child of a community organizer who is also an ordained minister in a mainline Protestant denomination, through my brief involvement with Habitat for Humanity, and most recently as a homeless person generously given a temporary place to live and invaluable help in arranging a permanent place by an organization founded by a retired Episcopal priest and supported entirely by the Episcopal church.

In all those cases, everyone involved knew that the organizations in question were faith-based, but those organizations operated without any outward promotion of religion or belief, much less coercion or underhanded tactics such as the bait-and-switch frequently pulled by "crisis pregnancy centers."

Certainly (as in everything else) there will always be gray areas between the two - which will most likely open up a whole 'nother can of worms - but my point is that we religious liberals (I'm not at all scared of the word - I'm a liberal because I'm a Christian) and progressives need to take back the term "faith-based" from the right wing and put it back where it belongs: "I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was naked and you gave me clothes; I was sick or in prison and you visited me...." (paraphrased off the top of my head) Oddly enough, there's no mention there of "I was in a crisis and you preached at me, tried to limit my options, and hollered to anyone within earshot that the world was going to hell in a handbasket"..........

by anomalous4 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:03:12 PM EST

ON my promo of moiv's story here, on the Daily Kos, had this to say :

The membership list of DFL is pretty revealing. The largest membership is from Louisiana (50 members). Now I understand that LA is one of the very few states where a majority of the electorate is 'pro-life' but perhaps the Democrats there would be serving their constituents better (the ones who remain alive and who have not been forced to leave the state) if they concentrated on saving the lives of people already born rather than the fate of fetuses and zygotes. Because despite what highly partisan Democrats think. the failures of Katrina were on all levels of government and the failures were massive and unforgivable.

If the  Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) are successful in getting their 95-10 initiative passed, will that somehow be a victory for Democracy?

The problem with the 95-10 initiative isn't just that it funds institutions who regard women as gestation devices, it also costs money and, seeing as 10 years after the 'promise' of welfare deformation, the GOP is actually cutting funding for child nutrition programs and child support enforcement it would appear that the 'promise' of eliminating 95% of abortions is somewhat overstated. The only way people like Reid and Murtha (men who on some other issues I appreciate, mind you) are going to eliminate 95% of abortions in an economic and social climate which insists that women can and should raise children while working two or three minimum wage jobs is by criminalizing abortion and putting all unmarried low income women in concentration camps. So I vote not a victory for Democracy and most certainly not a victory for the Democratic party. But, hey, what do I and 2/3rds of the American people know about anything including basic survival issues. we're just consumers and, every couple of years, voters.

"...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

by colleen on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 10:02:40 AM PDT

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 01:38:32 PM EST

Wait a minute - is there some mistake here? You mean a woman is out front in an anti-reproductive-freedom organization? One thing that's always struck me is that 99% of the most outspoken "right to life" voices seem to be male.........

by anomalous4 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:12:01 PM EST

This post on the pregnancy funds and evangelistic crisis pregnancy centers proved to be a really useful and interesting one. The post helped me to have a good idea about the pregnancy funds and related subjects. Thank you mesa az mobile home parks

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