Crisis Pregnancy Centers -- Unplugged
With public exposure of CPC tactics through the investigation sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman, and with the introduction of Rep. Carolyn Maloney's "Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act" (H.R. 2478), some CPC administrators are worried about a backlash.
Is there any strategy out there for pregnancy centers on how to respond to this new wave of attack? We're a Care Net center and abide by all policies and procedures to protect us legally, however this bad press can cause women to stay away from us.
It's more likely that learning what "pregnancy care centers" really get up to would cause women to stay away. And here, in their own words, CPC operators take us behind their doors.
[Unless otherwise linked, quotations are from communications archived at PCC Talk.org, and freely available for several years -- until I began posting them. Since then, access has been by subscription only.]
The first order of business at a crisis pregnancy center is persuading women to walk through those doors in the first place, and there are creative solutions to that challenge. The Catholic-sponsored CPC in my home town moved into a building next door to a clinic that provides abortion care, painted its signs to resemble those of the clinic, and shamelessly offered callers appointments for the "pre-abortion counseling required by state law." But for CPCs less fortunately situated, there are other ways.
You may notice ... that the name of our ministry is Choices Resource Center.. ... As our [executive director] at the time stated, "We want to redeem a good word - choices". ... When we changed the name, we had a huge spike of [abortion] vulnerable clients.
A huge spike of women who believed they were being offered a choice?
A Virginia CPC's slickly produced web site inspires confidence, but its director of clinical services seems unsure that their procedures are yielding maximum results.
I'm interested in knowing how many of you do the pregnancy test before you give your client information about her options vs those of you who give the pregnancy test after sharing options. Please share ... your success rates for both.
A client services director in Ontario shares her own expertise: "We do the pregnancy test after discussing the options. Otherwise, particularly for the negative test client, they are quick to leave and we haven't had a chance to really connect with them and give them all the information."
But the executive director of a Care Net affiliate in New York state shows them all what expertise really is.
We do the test after we have gathered information. First we get the info on our intake sheet. This gives us an idea of what's going on in her life. It also gives us the opportunity to begin forming a rapport with her. We then do the test, and then according to the results, do counseling from there. We have "packets", an abortion, adoption, negative test, and parenting test packet. We get out the packet according to her story and test result and then may throw in some sexual integrity also. We found this works very well for us. Be blessed.
This is a Care Net assessment tool -- downloaded directly from the CPC discussion list -- for determining what type and degree of attention a new client can expect to receive.
ASSESSING THE CLIENT'S ABORTION-VULNERABILITY
The legal vulnerability of CPCs now retooling as medical establishments in order to perform ultrasounds is another topic much on their minds. How fortunate for CPCs that Focus on the Family is standing by to help smooth out the bumps.
While my role as Vice President of Community Impact Outreach at Focus on the Family (which includes Sanctity of Human Life/Option Ultrasound Program) does not require insurance provider investigations, it is part of my role to provide information to PRCs that could impact their stability and livelihood.
Other major anti-choice players are on call 24/7 as well. A regular presence is Carole Novielli, a Life Dynamics International researcher who also produces Life Talk, a program hosted by LDI president Mark Crutcher, a notorious operative who dreams of "an America where abortion may indeed be perfectly legal, but no one can get one."
[K]eep passing the word about our New website: www.DeathRoe.com. Get everyone you know who was born after Jan 22,1973 to post their picture and their views on being a Death Roe Survivor on our "WALL" - we are getting lots of pro-choicers looking at the website now and it migt (sic) change someone's mind.
Along with the everyday ills that CPC administrators are heir to - understandably pressing concerns such as "secondary virginity" and whether to remove their religious tracts from the waiting room so as not to frighten away "abortion-minded" women -- they seem to spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out how to expand their marketing and maximize their income from potential donors. After all, $1,000 gifts from Wal-Mart can't pay all their bills, and their grant writers don't work for nothing.
Pastor Ken Freeman of Last Harvest Ministries, Inc., an abortion-focused organization based in a Dallas suburb, offers all 550 members of the forum his expert assistance in "harvesting" love offerings.
AUTORESPONDERS PLUS ... is a powerful $400 application that allows you to build quickly full HTML / plain mail campaigns with unlimited sequential follow up mail. For example, on http://freemetolive.com we offer a sign up for a 40 day sequence of emails called WHO AM I IN CHRIST as well as a helpful 7 day sequence called WHY I CAN'T FORGIVE MYSELF.
The biggest fund-raising rock star among CPC banquet speakers - hands down -- is the one and only Scott Klusendorf, a hard-line proponent of subjecting unsuspecting CPC clients to graphic and gory "shock videos" when they resist a gentler form of Christian counseling. Klusendorf raked in thousands for this Pennsylvania CPC in only one night.
Our guest speaker was Scott Klusendorf, founder of the Life Training Institute. ... I first heard Scott on a Focus on the Family broadcast. I was so gripped by his speech that I pulled my car over to the side of the road to concentrate on it!
Several years ago, Sean Sweet went to a Pennsylvania CPC that used Klusendorf's favored shock therapy for "abortion-minded" women.
"I took the pregnancy test. They said, 'We want you to wait in this room and we're going to show you a video about abortion.' I thought it would be about my options," she recalls. "Instead, there were these horrible images of disfigured babies and aborted fetuses, looking very large like they were almost to term. Then there was a little segment where the woman was supposed to be thrashing around and screaming during her abortion."
When it comes to counselor training, many CPCs simply use a collection of DVDs from Care Net, but other training programs have a share of the CPC market as well. Who could resist a quick and easy online course that pays off with a certificate from a theological seminary?
We ... use the Heidi Group's (Carol Everett) online training program, which includes video sessions, and we provide them with a workbook. ... Upon completion, they receive a Certificate from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (which gives some credibility in the counseling room). They also have Board Training, Fundraising Training, etc., with Certificates for each after submitting your completed tests. ... I have had "Client Advocates" complete it within 2 week's time.
Even in a center where "Client Advocates" aren't accredited by a Baptist seminary in the space of a mere two weeks, non-Christian volunteers need not apply.
In our training class for Abstinence Education we have a volunteer that is Islam AND she has signed our documents saying she agrees with our Statement of Faith and Statement of Principles on all sheets (3 total) except one where she marked no that she believes the Bible is not the only book that preaches the words of God.
A Canadian CPC's client services director had had the same "problem."
My prospective volunteer signed the statement of faith but answered "no" to the question "do you consider yourself a Christian" and then n/a to all further questions about faith. ... After prayer and consultation with my director ... I ended up outlining our mission statement and explaining that as a Christian ministry funded by believers, all of our volunteers had be willing to minister according to the gospel, which she was unable to do as she did not identify herself as a Christian. ... I carefully documented this phone call "just in case" but that was over three months ago, and I never heard back from her.
With hefty contributions from Focus on the Family, and with a massive infusion of our tax dollars as well, CPCs across the country are "going medical." Medical clinic conversion not only enables CPCs to qualify for more public grant money, but it means that they can perform ultrasounds, both as bait to get uninsured women through the door and as a means of dissuading "abortion minded" clients -- the only women they really care about seeing in the first place. But the addition of licensed medical personnel to their staffs has presented a whole new set of problems for some CPC directors, because the focus of medical personnel is so darned medical.
Maybe their pesky medical ethics are the reason that some CPCs don't want their licensed medical staff anywhere near their "patients" when it comes time for "options counseling."
I find that our nurses are more concerned with the "medical" than the counseling. For example, we have a client intake worksheet that the CAs work through-it is a guided session to assess abortion vulnerability and provide abortion education. I recently found out that our nurses were skipping this and going directly to the medical history because "that's what they are really here for."
Being so "old school" (i.e., professionally ethical) he might refuse to tell women that abortion causes breast cancer, too.
A CPC Resource Coordinator in GA is having some problems with her own center's Earn While You Learn program. Her clients just aren't working hard enough on their own salvation.
We are in the process of limiting our EWYL program to increase our ability to minister to our target clients. We are trying to raise the bar--to make our clients ... work a little harder for the things we've been giving out fairly easily.
That question set off a lively thread, after the executive director of a CPC in New Hampshire whose clients also earn their "Mommy Money" and "Baby Bucks" said "I don't get it."
I don't understand the "abuse" of the system I hear expressed so often. If they happen to get an extra dozen diapers or a layette because they got some extra bucks somehow (perhaps the [boyfriend] came to the class and got a few extra bucks), is it considered abusing the system?
Several colleagues hastened to enlighten her.
I would only accept a bulletin that had their sermon notes written on it in their own handwriting, and I would ask them to summarize what they learned when they turned it in :)
We require that the pastor sign the bulletin. This proves that she/they were there.
We require our clients to bring in their sermon notes along with their church bulletin.
Low-income pregnant women are just so ungrateful.
They only show up when they want to, they don't take responsibility, you know they are only there for the vouchers, and they seem to miss the whole abstinence concept because they show up for repeat pregnancy tests after you have poured your heart out to them to STOP having sex until they are married. They don't get it.
We have had people take advantage of our EWYL volunteers by constantly not showing for appointments etc, and have decided to fine them in order to teach them responsibility.
So much for simply giving away donated diapers to women who can't afford to buy them. That would just be un-Christian and ... wrong.
[An earlier version of this piece appeared at Talk to Action last year.]
Title image by Kate Sutton for Bust Magazine
Crisis Pregnancy Centers -- Unplugged | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)
Crisis Pregnancy Centers -- Unplugged | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)