Girl Scouts Targeted by the Pro-Life Movement

As stated in a previous blog post or two, one of our local pro-life protesters (dubbed the “Dicktator”) has a Facebook page that he uses to spout aggressive gospel and pro-life messages. His posts about protesting at my clinic intrigue me, but so do his other posts. It’s especially entertaining when someone has the balls to question his posts and if he’s truly in the faith instead of blindly agreeing with him and automatically typing in an “Amen!” in the comment section.

I probably shouldn’t look, but can’t help myself much like a moth to a flame or Otep Shamaya to the YouTube comment section of her music video for “Equal Rights, Equal Lefts”.

Most of his posts are repeating the same nonsense about inaccurate abortion statistics and criticisms about “lukewarm Christians” (despite probably being one himself). But every once in a while he’ll post something so off the wall that I have to wonder if he’s smoking meth.

The latest bat shit crazy post: Girl Scouts have ties to Planned Parenthood.

It reads:

The Girl Scouts have declined a whopping 30% since 2003 because of their ties to Planned Parenthood. This is because many Christian families are removing their children from the Girls Scouts because of the conflict in interest in being children of God and associated with the biggest mass executioner of innocent children (http://www.conservativenews.com/…/christians-ditch-girl-sco…).

Not only has the Girl Scouts allowed Planned Parenthood to have an influence on our young daughters and grand-daughters, they also have included programs to teach them sexually (https://concernedwomen.org/girls-scouts-under-fire-for-pla…/).

Thankfully, there is a Christian alternative for parents who are GENUINELY Christian and would like to protect their children from these predators- the American Heritage Girls! Please let me know if you would like a local contact information or look up the American Heritage Girls (https://www.americanheritagegirls.org/) for more information.

Please remember that our most important job as parents is to protect our children. With 70% of children being born into the Christian faith falling completely away from it by the time they graduate from high school (90% by the time they graduate from college!), it is a travesty. Don’t think that YOUR FAMILY is the exception!

We have a VERY SHORT period of influence to teach our children and we will be accountable to it to God. Please do not waste the time you have serving yourself.

GirlScout
Screenshot of Facebook post for reference. 

My immediate thought was, “What in the actual fuck? They’re targeting Girl Scouts now?!” because Girl Scouts being somehow tied Planned Parenthood seemed ridiculous. Though, to be honest, I personally  wouldn’t mind if I found out the insane amount of money I spend on Caramel DeLites every spring did go towards women healthcare. If I learned anything over the past year, its not to trust information that pro-life activists like the Dicktator presents. Usually their information is inaccurate or there’s more to the story that they’re not telling. A connection between Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood is no exception.

The first article he posted, “Christians Ditch Girl Scout’s Over Planned Parenthood Ties”, is where he got the numbers about the 30% drop in Girl Scout membership, which was based on a report done by The Associated Press. The article does acknowledge that the report doesn’t state how much of this decline is due to the perceived tie to Planned Parenthood, but makes every effort to try and convince such a tie is the sole reason for the decline in membership. The vast majority of the embedded links are from LifeNews, a pro-life news website. I don’t generally trust pro-life news websites because of the deceptive nature of the pro-life movement. My high school English classes have taught me its not wise to have all your references from one source. As an example for this case, it would be like writing an article on Japan and using “Memoirs of a Geisha” as reference.

How did Girl Scouts become associated with Planned Parenthood in the first place?

In 2004, a pro-life group in Texas launched a boycott against Girl Scout cookies when it was discovered that Waco Blue Bonnet Council of Girl Scouts had sponsored Nobody’s Fool for years. Hosted by Planned Parenthood, Nobody’s Fool was an annual one-day workshop aimed at teaching preteens and teenagers in grades 5 through 9 about sex education. More fuel was added to the fire in 2010 after the Girl Scouts attended the 54th Commission on the Status of Women and held a Girl Scout Only workshop about the global issues affecting girls. As the Dicktator’s second article link details, Sharon Slater of Family Watch International claims that the Girl Scouts distributed a International Planned Parenthood Federation brochure on HIV sex, health, and reproductive rights at their panel, which she was not present for. The Girl Scouts have denied they distributed such a pamphlet and there been no evidence that they actually did.

The Girl Scouts stance on sexuality, birth control, and abortion is “Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) does not take a position or develop materials on these issues. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives.” They also state they have no partnership or relationship with Planned Parenthood while Planned Parenthood has stated they don’t have any official relationship with the Girl Scouts.

Local chapters are allowed to partner with local organizations of their choice as was the case with the Waco Blue Bonnet Council of Girl Scouts. Still, even if an individual troop was indeed able to send cookie profits to a local Planned Parenthood, such a donation wouldn’t be used to fund abortions. Women have to pay out of their own pocket in order to receive abortion services. Instead, the money would go towards expenses and services in order to continue providing reproductive healthcare services—birth control, screenings, treatments, etc.—to low income women for free or cheaply. Then again, it wouldn’t be surprising if pro-life groups found fault with providing funds for birth control and reproductive healthcare due to some bullshit belief that such things promote promiscuity.

Despite the inflammatory and inaccurate statements pro-life advocates make about Girl Scouts being associated with Planned Parenthood, it’s unlikely it’s one of the main reasons for the decline in membership. Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts, believed that the decline was attributed to more parents and families—including single parents—being financially unstable and having little time to be able to be involved with extracurricular activities. Another problem the organization faces is a lack of volunteers. In some regions, interested girls who wanted to join have been turned away or put on waiting lists due to a lack of volunteers. The organization faced difficulties in 2013 that included a deficit-strapped pension plan, rifts over the direction of Girl Scouts programming, and revenue shortfalls that lead to about a quarter of the staff being trimmed.

The only real truth in all of this is that pro-life groups lost their collective shit over a single Girl Scout troop sponsoring a sex education workshop hosted by Planned Parenthood. Its not surprising as these groups try to demonize anything associated with Planned Parenthood or similar clinics. The Girl Scouts being tied to Planned Parenthood is nothing more than pro-life propaganda spread by those that are so ignorant and gullible they’ll believe anything the pro-life movement puts out.

Terrified and bothered

I’m currently sitting at the library across the street from my clinic. Normally I do so to observe protesters, but today I’m just killing time until my annual appointment. This year this appointment includes a pap smear.

I am terrified.

Pap smears are generally uncomfortable and invasive for me as it is. The terrifying aspect comes from one particular pap smear from 2011. It was not only discovered that I have HPV, but my results came back abnormal and had to get biopsies taken. It was so painful that I had a panic attack after the doctor finished snipping tiny pieces from inside me.  Thankfully, they didn’t detect cancer, but have been terrified of pap smears ever since between that experience plus my mother having a medical history with pre-cancerous cervical polyps.

Pap smears suck. Abnormal test results suck. Biopsies suck. Cancer scares suck.

The other thing that sucks is knowing I’ll have to walk past at least one terribly ignorant anti-abortion protester that has no business being there. When I came into the library, there was one lone middle aged woman—a rare sight in a protest typically made up of older men—sitting on the sidewalk holding one anti-abortion sign while having another leaned up against the wall next to her.

Maybe some would be quick to say “Ignore them”, “Don’t let them bother you”, etc. But it DOES bother me!

My appointment with my trusted healthcare provider doesn’t feel private anymore with the eyes of ignorant protesters watching me. Do they judge me? Do they wonder if the strained and worried look on my face is because I have an unplanned pregnancy I want to abort rather than being terrified of another cancer scare? The Pastor made such an assumption with a mother and daughter he observed about a year ago. I might pick up some birth control before I leave. The protesters know what the paper bags are for. Do they look at my paper bag of birth control and assume that I’m some whore that sleeps around because I use the pill to ward off a pregnancy I don’t want?

Yet, for the most part, I don’t care what these people think about me. But it isn’t just me experiencing this. Other women, who may be feeling as vulnerable as I am right now for whatever reason, have to go through this when they shouldn’t. Women deserve better than being confronted outside their healthcare provider and possibly be intimidated by opinionated zealots that are part of a deceptive movement that think it is their God given right telling women what is best for them!

God and the Pro-Life Movement

One of the local pro-life protesters—nicknamed the Dicktator—has a public Facebook page that he only uses to preach gospel and speak out against abortion, usually the two being one and the same. He almost always posts on when they’ll be demonstrating down at the local women’s clinic, which they always do every other Wednesday when the clinic is open. “Today, we will be at the women’s clinic pleading for women to not murder their own child and to share the Gospel with those who do not know God.” (Despite the fact the clinic doesn’t offer abortion services or medical referrals.)

Sometimes he posts about his experience involving the anti-abortion demonstration. These posts pique my interest on days when I had been across the street at the library as, at times, he claimed to have positive reactions all day while I had observed frustrated female patients, unhappy faces, and the occasional shouting match or driver giving a one-fingered salute.

What interests me even more is how he starts almost every one of these posts: “God was again glorified today!”

Well, it’s certainly not unusual for Christian pro-lifers to believe that their God is being glorified through their efforts to “save lives”. After all, the Bible instructs Christians to “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.” (Proverbs 24:11) and pro-life advocates believe embryos are people.

Still, I wonder if their God is truly being glorified by the actions of the pro-life movement. This curiosity was stemmed by a statement listed on the protesters’ anti-abortion cards: “The Bible says that murderers will not inherit the Kingdom of God. It also says that liars, thieves, drunkards, sexually immoral, and those who take God’s name in vain won’t inherit the Kingdom of God.” When you consider the protesters’ involvement in the pro-life movement, it’s easy to see that they themselves actually fit into one of these categories.

The reason we have protesters outside my women’s clinic, despite not performing abortions, is due to the wide spread belief among local pro-lifers that the hospital the clinic is affiliated with performs elective abortions under the radar. Supposedly, an employee at Gundersen found a policy that stated they do elective abortions and decided to go forward with it. However, this employee did not show a physical copy of this “abortion policy”. In fact, none of the protesters have seen the policy this employee spoke of. Yet they spread around the belief that the hospital performs elective abortions in secret as if it were factual. This has caused both the protesters and their supporters to spread lies about the clinic: that they do abortion referrals, that they send women wanting abortions to Gundersen, they have to include abortion information in their all-options pregnancy counseling because the clinic makes money when Gundersen performs an abortion, they’re funded by Planned Parenthood, etc. Meanwhile, the only indication of an “abortion policy” is found in their online handbook, which states, “Abortions when necessary to protect the health or life of the patient or when the pregnancy was the result of sexual assault or incest.” I’ve attempted to correct the group leader on this and they’re still spreading the lie that women can simply waltz into Gundersen as she pleases to get an abortion. They seriously believe doctors give out medically necessary abortion on demand without a real medical reason and they can be performed right up to the day you’re supposed to give birth!

Like many pro-life protesters, this group has anti-abortion reading materials that they try to hand out to as many women as possible. Their cards contain false information and misleading resources. One of the resources was so deceptive that I initially believed it was a pro-choice website that was connected with pro-choice or neutral health care centers like my women’s clinic. Later, I found it was purposely set up this way to lead women to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), the ultimate weapon of the pro-life movement. Not surprisingly, the protesters have cards for a nearby crisis pregnancy center that they hand out and leave at the library across the street.

The protester leading this group is the chairperson for the Jackson County chapter for the Wisconsin Right to Life. In October 2016, he invited me to a Christian seminar they had for teenagers to teach them about sex. Not only did it not contain any comprehensive sex education, the speaker and the pamphlets provided had stated some falsehoods about abortion and birth control.

If you ask me, there is an awful amount of lying, spreading of falsehoods, and supporting of those that deceive just within this tiny group of Christian protesters. Remember what their cards said about liars? Liars are one of the groups of people that won’t inherit the Kingdom of God. This is in reference to the Bible’s Book of Revelations, which states the groups of people mentioned on the card are doomed to the fiery lake of burning sulfur in Hell. The irony in all this being that the cards themselves contain outright lies and deceptive resources. Even more ironic is that they’re being handed out by Christians that believe they are saved because they’re standing up for the unborn, but don’t realize that their salvation is probably in jeopardy for spreading lies and supporting pro-life groups and crisis pregnancy centers that are deceitful. Christian teachings explain that God has a great hatred for liars and deceivers.

Proverbs, the same book that tells Christians to stop those being led to death, contains several verses concerning lying and deception: “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful” (12:22), “The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace” (13:5), and “A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies” (14:5). It also explains one of the six things the Lord hates is “a lying tongue”. Other verses about lying include “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another. (Leviticus 19:11)”, “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:16)”, and “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. (Exodus 23:1).

The New Testament tells the story of Ananias and how he and his wife met their demise because they chose to lie to the apostles. Ananias sold a plot of land with the intention of giving all the proceeds to the apostles, but he secretly kept a portion of it for himself with his wife’s full knowledge. When he presented the remainder of the money to the apostles, Peter saw through his deception on how much the land had really sold for. Ananias died on the spot after Peter declared he had not lied to the apostles, but to God. The same fate met his wife hours later when Peter questioned her about how much the land sold for and she lied.

There are a couple examples of lying that could be taken as exceptions to the rules. The Hebrew midwives lied to the Pharaoh of why they weren’t killing the male babies as ordered and Rahab lied about harboring Israelite spies. God approved of the midwives saving the children and Rahab welcoming the Israelite spies, but it’s not explicitly stated that God actually approved of them lying about it. The act of lying committed by the midwives and Rahab were also one-time thing done in an extreme situation unlike the protesters that continue to lie on an average Wednesday even when corrected on their “facts”. To me, lying to truly wicked men is a lot different than lying to potentially vulnerable female patients seeking help at a place that doesn’t even offer the abortions they’re fighting against. Regardless, these two instances are stacked against an overwhelming amount of Biblical evidence that God despises lying and deceivers while valuing honesty and integrity.

Honestly, I think the zealots outside my clinic are going straight to Hell. Yet these actions aren’t isolated to a tiny group of ignorant protesters demonstrating a small town family planning clinic. They’re actively participating in a movement that is built upon lies, deception, and denying the truth in order to further their goals. Not to say that my own side of the fight hasn’t spread its own falsehoods, but pro-life claims to be “pro-truth”—and even that is a lie.

The ultimate weapons of the pro-life movement are the crisis pregnancy centers, pro-life ministries designed to counsel women out of getting an abortion. How they accomplish this is dishonest.  At first glance, they appear to be women’s clinics or even abortion providers as their advertisements and official websites have been stripped of any religious affiliation and replaced with pro-choice rhetoric. Many are set up near abortion providers or family planning centers and use similar names or outer décor in hopes that women wander into the wrong place by accident. CPC’s have been largely criticized for not only being deceptive, but also providing inaccurate or unreliable information and greatly exaggerating the effects of abortion. By using dishonest tactics to exploit vulnerable women facing an unplanned pregnancy, the people involved with crisis pregnancy centers seem to have become the kind of person their God despises.

As I researched several pro-life groups, I found similar narratives across their mission statements. They believe human life is sacred and valuable and that it’s their duty to save, protect, and defend life. You would think with so much of the pro-life movement being steeped in Christian beliefs that pro-life activists would be emulating the charitable behavior of Jesus in order to help those in need. Being a prophet and the Son of God, he did a lot of educating about the word of the Lord, but an equally large portion of his work was his acts of charity. He didn’t come across the needy and think that their troubles could be solved by preaching gospel. He fixed issues head on by feeding the hungry, healing the sick, etc. He commanded followers of Christ to do the same. Surprisingly, you don’t see this in the grand scheme of the pro-life movement.

Instead, most of their work goes into educating (which is laced with untruths), just as Jesus educated the people about the Lord. None of their major efforts includes ensuring that the children they save from being aborted are taken care of and have a stable future. They’re quick to disagree with abortion and tell others that adoption is the better choice, but rarely do you see them rallying for assistance to give needy parents the means to provide for their children. There aren’t missions to provide food, clothes, shelter, healthcare, or education to the babies they save or to anyone in need of those things. The extent of such charitable works can be found within the lying, deceptive crisis pregnancy centers as many do offer a minimal amount of baby items to mothers, but women more than likely have to run the gauntlet through an “Earn While You Learn” program in order to obtain “Mommy money” to “buy” items stocked at the CPC. I will admit that maybe it’s just me, but I don’t seem to recall instances where Jesus instructed people to help others only if they met certain requirements.

If you need proof that pro-life groups only educate while doing nothing to serve the needs of the people they want to help, take a look at the Wisconsin Right to Life. They list all of their pro-life accomplishments on their website. They give exact numbers on things like how many educational/fundraising events they held, how many grants were awarded so college students could start or continue pro-life groups on campus, how many teenagers and college students were trained at pro-life summer leadership camps, how many media interviews and press conferences were conducted, how many emails and action alerts were sent out, how many unique visitors visited their website, how many right-to-life laws they had involvement with getting passed, etc. But how many emergency grants did they provide to pregnant women in need of immediate financial assistance the previous year? “Several”. (By definition, several means more than two, but not very many.) I’m far more interested in practical help like this emergency grant than their anti-abortion propaganda, but there’s only a vague indication on how many they’ve given out (“dozens” over the years and “several” last year) and there’s only a sentence worth of information on it buried within a mountain of anti-abortion education with falsehoods and specific accomplishments.

This seems odd to me. We’re talking about a movement dedicated to “saving lives” under the belief that fertilized eggs are people. Yet they practically have zero efforts in those who are already born. It’s not as if they lack the means to do these things. While I was unable to determine how much pro-life groups and the crisis pregnancy centers rake in through donations as a whole, we can recognize the fruits of their labors through billboards, advertising, professionally printed protest signs, anti-abortion propaganda reading materials, lobby for anti-abortion laws and lobbying against “anti-life” laws, etc. According to Pro-Life Across America, their anti-abortion billboards average monthly costs are $500-$3000 (not including artwork and production costs). In 2010 and 2011, they had 6,500 billboards. By their monthly estimates, it would have cost at least 39 MILLION DOLLARS to keep the billboards up for a full year. The CPC supported by the local protesters, APPLE Pregnancy Care Center, raised $20,380 last year with its annual Walk for Life event. With the average costs of a baby in the first year averaging nearly $10,000, that sort of money could have “sponsored” two babies for an entire year and still have a little bit left over.

With many pro-life groups stating that much of their donations go into their work instead of administration costs, there’s really no excuse as to why these pro-life groups cannot put at least some of the donations they receive towards helping people obtain basic necessities to live, especially with goals to “save lives”. Jesus and his disciples were able to feed a group with 5,000 men (not including women and children), a task initially seen as impossible as they only had five loaves of bread and two fish yet managed to pull it off despite what little they had (Matthew 14:13-21). Imagine what these pro-life groups could do if they stopped investing so much in scare tactics and abortion lies and started working towards helping people in need.

These groups and activists are so focused on attempting to “save” the unborn from “slaughter” through sinful deception and lies that they are ignoring an even greater number of people in need of help. According to their interpretation of what a person is, how many lives are lost to abortion yearly? 3,000 lives a day so this would roughly figure to at least 1,095,000 lives lost to abortion every year. Guttmacher estimates that about 926,000 abortions were performed in 2014.

What about other at-risk children?

How many children live in poverty? 14.5 million.

How many children live in food insecure households? 13.1 million.

How many children are homeless? 2.5 million (in 2014). 

As you can see, these numbers are much greater than any abortion statistic regardless of who put them. The pro-life movement considers the unborn at every stage as much of a person as these children who need help. Issues like poverty, hunger, and homelessness are also some reasons why women get abortions. A woman that feels she needs to get an abortion because she’s not in the best situation might be less likely to terminate her pregnancy if there was help to be able to take care of herself and her child after birth. So why isn’t the pro-life movement, which claims to want to save lives, not doing anything to help these people (which are supposedly equal to the unborn)? It’s hard to ignore the needy that are hungry as hunger statistics are routinely plastered in newspapers, television ads, and even packages of food. “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered (Proverbs 21:23)”. “If anyone has materials possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 3: 17)”.

The overall narrative of the pro-life movement argues that every life is valuable and deserves to be protected and defended, but despite this many still pick and choose what lives are valuable and deserving of such protection. I’m not convinced that the pro-life movement is truly about valuing life and protecting the vulnerable when a lot of those same people that are part of and support the movement are quick to discriminate, judge, mock, and exclude certain groups of people and justify it with Christianity. When certain groups consistently face discrimination, bullying, and exclusion doesn’t that make them vulnerable and in need of protection? Where are the pamphlets saying it’s wrong to look down on someone just because they don’t follow your religion or their skin is not white? Where are the protests in support of gays and women being treated equally and fairly? How about billboards with statistics on suicide rates among trans-gender people, the number of children in the foster system and the number of children who age out of the system having no life skills to make it in the world, or how many women die at the hands of their abusers and that these people are in need of our help?

They even place value on the women and children they claim they want to help. Any woman instantly becomes worthless if she goes through with an abortion and she’s branded as a murderer as she exits her appointment. She’s only considered of value again if she ends up being a part of the 5% of women that regrets her abortion because pro-life advocates need examples of remorseful women to sell the myth that abortion traumatizes the majority of women. If her abortion was medically necessary to protect her own health or life, she’s judged for not seeking second opinions until she got a more “pro-life” answer. If a conservative pro-life protester convinces a woman not to abort she becomes more valuable because she “chose life” and the child is a “blessing”, but if her child grows up to be gay, transgender, Muslim, atheist, a pro-choice activist, or anything that your average pro-life Christian disagrees with then that same protester might say the parents failed this child that is now immoral and worthless.

When I pointed this lack of help towards other vulnerable groups, the responses were quick to defend the unborn while ignoring needs of others who clearly are in need of help. One letter suggested if such things are so important to me then why don’t I put up billboards while downplaying the statistics I listed about those in need by claiming the government inflates numbers. How ironic that a pro-life person, who deeply cares about the unborn, would attempt to push the responsibility of caring for others onto someone else. Another letter tried to convince that there will always be issues like hunger and homelessness and that there’s nothing anybody can do to fix it. Remember the story of Jesus and his apostles feeding 5,000? That was deemed as impossible and yet they still accomplished it. Jesus teaches to help the needy and I believe this story teaches to do just that even when the odds are stacked against you. Pro-life Christians do just that when they stand outside abortion providers and women’s health clinics. I think picketing pro-lifers realize that most women won’t listen to them, but they still go out anyways because even if they only convince one woman not to abort its considered a life saved. They’ll put in the effort and tout the word of the Lord when it comes to the unborn, but suddenly forget the teachings of Jesus when confronted with the idea that they’re not doing enough to help those in need and make excuses for why they can’t or don’t help. Are people that have already been born somehow less of a person than their embryonic counterparts or are Christians silently admitting that they don’t want to serve the poor and needy like their Christ instructs them to? How can anyone be passionate about saving unborn lives, but be indifferent towards the suffering of post-born lives?

Over all, the movement gives the impression that not every life is as inherently valuable as they claim and some restrictions may apply when it comes to the right to life. A bit hypocritical, don’t you think?

Matthew 23 talks about hypocrisy in leaders. From what I understand, it refers to a group of highly regarded preachers that were known as the Pharisees. While they appeared righteous, Jesus pointed out that they were hypocritical, indifferent, and had too much pride and thus did not know the Lord. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like white washed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to the people as righteous, but on the inside are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)

On the surface, the pro-life movement appears to be righteous and good through its claims of valuing all lives and putting efforts to saving lives, but its inner workings is full of lies and deception and the only people they’re trying to save are the unborn. They speak of their cause being honorable and moral, but what they actually do to achieve their goals is despicable.

Jesus also warned his disciples about bogus ministers who would present themselves as Christians that would exploit people for their own purposes. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) Of course, Jesus was likely speaking about religious leaders within the faith and not leaders of the pro-life movement. However, there are church leaders that actively participate in the pro-life movement. In fact, the person leading the demonstration outside the women’s clinic in town is a pastor himself. He should be examining what the pro-life groups he’s associated with does to determine if it truly aligns with the Christian faith and, ultimately, convince others not to contribute to a cause that continues to be incredibly dishonest. I’m not saying he should change his view on abortion, but rather consider the actions these pro-life groups are doing in response to abortion. As a Christian leader, he should know better as he’s studied the scripture probably more than your average Christian. He knows he shouldn’t lie or deceive. He knows he shouldn’t follow the crowd in wrong doing (Exodus 23:2). He knows anyone that says “I know God” yet doesn’t keep his commands is a liar and does not know God (1 John 2:4). He knows that every Christian, including himself, should examine themselves to see if they are in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Instead, he participates in the sinful dishonesty while doing nothing that would actually benefit the women he claims to want to help and encourages others to join him while claiming this is God’s will. He’s not any better than the pious Pharisees: righteous on the surface, but corrupt within.

The more I study the scripture, the more I believe the pro-life movement is not glorifying God. If the scripture has taught me anything it’s that Christians cannot glorify their God through sin because whoever commits sin is of the devil. While there is no such thing as a sinless Christian, the good ones don’t make a habit of sinning and are remorseful when they do. However, the pro-life movement either believes their lies and deception is for a greater good or they truly believe the lies they spread. One way or another, they don’t believe they are doing any wrong doing and, therefore, won’t ask for forgiveness for the sins they are committing. Remember that Revelations stated all liars will have their place in the fiery pit. Not just those with ill intent or makes exceptions for those that habitually lie for a good cause. Just through their lies alone, they’re not obeying the Lord. They disobey even further by remembering Christ’s teachings of helping others when its convenient for them and make excuses as to why they cannot help when faced with issues of human suffering they don’t want to tackle.

Pro-life advocates might be in for a surprise when they find themselves in Hell with the women they screamed at outside abortion providers (assuming that God finds abortion to be equal to murdering a person outside the womb). It seems the pro-life movement is not only anti-abortion and anti-woman, but also anti-Christ.

Questioning the 13,000+ alternatives to Planned Parenthood claim.

A supporter of mine occasionally comments on pro-life pages and sometimes those posts pop up on my Facebook feed. One such post was a Wisconsin Right to Life post about Tammy Baldwin obstructing pro-life supreme court nominee Neil Gorsuch. The comment section riddled with insults towards Tammy Baldwin like “POS”, “loser”, and “carpet licking skank” is enough to continue wondering if there is a cut-off point on the pro-life value on human life.

Anyways, the post itself eventually led me to realize there is a Facebook page for the Jackson County chapter of the Wisconsin Right to Life. On the Facebook page, I saw this picture explaining there are 7 healthcare clinics in Wisconsin for every Planned Parenthood, which is also on the WRTL’s official website. Supposedly, there are 162 health care clinics in Wisconsin (not including private healthcare providers) so they argue we don’t need Planned Parenthood. Their website claims there are 13,540 comprehensive healthcare clinics nationwide, outnumbering Planned Parenthood 20 to 1. Live Action News states that if funding to Planned Parenthood were eliminated, the money could go towards these healthcare providers.

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162 healthcare providers compared to Planned Parenthood’s 22.

Knowing how pro-life groups use misleading and deceptive tactics, I checked their resources.

The data used for the map graphic focuses on federally qualified healthcare providers that accept Medicare and Medicaid. The problem with this is not all women—even some low income women—qualify for these types of federally or state funded insurance programs.

What would have been more helpful to low income women if somehow the map answered the following questions:

*Do these healthcare providers offer services on a sliding scale or free for women who qualify?

*Will these healthcare providers take in low income women regardless of their ability to pay?

*In the 27 states that offer such a program, do these healthcare providers process Family Planning Waivers so women that are low income yet still make too much to receive government assistance would still be able to have reproductive care and birth control?

For argument’s sake, let’s say we do cut funding to Planned Parenthood and re-direct those funds to these comprehensive healthcare providers. How would it be guaranteed that the healthcare providers would put general healthcare funding like Medicaid towards reproductive healthcare services and birth control?

It’s been pointed out that the data shows ALL federally funded healthcare providers and includes providers that absolutely do not to reproductive healthcare. For example, there is a dot on the map in the area where my town would be. The second website yielded the health care provider that dot is matched to: a dentist. Unless they offer pap smears with their root canals, this is unhelpful as an alternative to Planned Parenthood. Places like dentists, hearing specialists, podiatrists, or dermatologists are certainly NOT alternatives to Planned Parenthood or other women’s reproductive healthcare clinics.

Even if we assume that all 13,540 alternatives to Planned Parenthood did indeed have a certified OB-GYN on staff and offered the same services Planned Parenthood does (sans abortion), pro-life advocates are essentially asking that these healthcare providers take on 2.5 million patients in the event of a Planned Parenthood shutdown. If divided equally, each healthcare provider would have to take on an extra 184 patients just for reproductive healthcare and birth control.  If we take out the providers that don’t offer those services, the number of available healthcare providers decreases while the number of patients the remaining providers would have to take on would increase.  Of course, this in a completely hypothetical and unlikely situation that each healthcare provider would take in an equal portion of new patients. This is still not factoring in women who rely on sliding scales or family planning waivers to be able to obtain reproductive healthcare services.

But my favorite part in all of this was scrolling through the list of Wisconsin rural health care providers that were listed with the map’s first website resource. One healthcare provider stood out for me: Gundersen. Six of its Wisconsin locations were listed (as well as a couple Iowa locations). The reason why this is incredibly absurd is that pro-life groups PROTEST Gundersen.

For those unfamiliar with the local pro-life folklore of mid-western Wisconsin, legend has it that an employee for Gundersen happened to stumble upon a “secret policy” stating Gundersen does elective abortions in secret and went forward with the information to pro-life groups. Despite not being shown a physical copy of the policy, pro-lifers bought it and now regularly picket Gundersen. They also picket Essential Health, an affiliate of Gundersen that provides reproductive healthcare, birth control, and informational resources on pregnancy options. Interestingly enough, the chairman for the Jackson County Right to Life is in charge of the demonstration in front of the Essential Health Clinic in Black River Falls.

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“Better options” include healthcare providers pro-life groups actively picket because of some perceived moral objection to it.

If pro-life groups want to convince women they have “better options”, then maybe they should do some research on those “better options” so they don’t look stupid when someone finds those options include places they are morally objected to.

I’m sure whoever made this just pulled the list of federally qualified healthcare centers, slapped them onto a map, and said “Look! 13,000 healthcare centers!” without researching any of the providers. Or perhaps they realized there would be less of an impact if they removed the providers that don’t offer reproductive healthcare services, aren’t helpful to low income women, or that pro-life groups protest for one reason or another.

The only thing that is certain is that these 13,000+ providers accept Medicare and Medicaid. Beyond that, its a bit questionable.

Billboards or Help? Pt. 2

In my post Billboards or Help?, I wondered if the Pastor had something to do with the newly erected Wisconsin Life to Right anti-abortion billboard. I’m even more convinced he did have involvement with it as I recently found he’s the chairperson for the Wisconsin Right to Life’s Jackson County chapter.

This speculation came from the fact his church had sponsored TWO anti-abortion billboards in 2013. I incorrectly stated these billboards were from the Wisconsin Right to Life when in fact they’re from Pro-Life Across America. I apologize for the error and made a correction note in the post.

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In my original post, I wondered how much one of these billboards would cost. While researching a little about this Prolife Across America, a pro-life Christian group that just deals with anti-abortion advertising, I actually did find some average costs for these billboards. According to their FAQS,  “The average cost of a billboard is $500 to $3000 per month – depending upon the size of the billboard and the number of people who will see the ad on a frequent basis (artwork and production costs not included).”

Assuming these numbers could apply to billboard erected in a small town area, the Pastor’s church could have paid $12,000-$72,000 for both billboards. I’m assuming the costs were on the lower end of the price range. Still, even the cheapest amount is a LOT of money.

For arguments sake, let’s assume the two billboards cost the lowest amount of $12,000. What could have $12,000 paid for besides an expensive billboard?

I suggested money that goes to one of these billboards could have been better invested in women’s health clinics that help to reduce unintended pregnancies. With $12,000, Essential Health could have provided one of the following:

*A year’s worth of oral contraceptives to 240 women.

*160,000 condoms. Every individual who came to Essential Health for medical care in 2015 could have received 32 condoms.

*An IUD, which offers up to ten years of pregnancy prevention, to 24 women.

*48 comprehensive sexual education presentations

These pro-life groups are so concerned about saving babies yet hardly (if any) of their efforts go into things that would help women take care of their babies if they decide not to have an abortion. Baby Center’s “First Year Baby Costs Calculator” roughly estimates that to raise a baby through the first year costs $10,398. This is including “moderately priced” regular daycare for six months. If regular childcare isn’t needed, this cost goes down to $5,790. Instead of paying for an expensive anti-abortion billboard, the money could have paid for ALL the costs of one baby for the first year (two babies if daycare is not needed) and still have money leftover. 

$12,000 could have provided one of the following (based off Walmart.com prices and no taxes included):

*480 cans of 1.4lb Similac formula ($24.98 a can). Assuming a baby goes through about a can a week, this would provide 20 babies with six months worth of formula.

*20,512 4oz tubs of Gerber baby food (2pk for $1.17). Assuming a baby on solid food eats 3 times a day, this would provide 37 babies with six months worth of baby food.

*254 boxes of Pampers 252pk diapers ($47.19 a box). I’ve read a baby goes through 3,000 diapers in a year (give or take) so this would provide a year’s worth of diapers to 21 babies.

What would have been the best way to use that sort of money in order to help or save lives?

Two anti-abortion billboards that may have zero effect on some people or guaranteeing that at least 20 babies get enough formula and solid food to be fed for an entire year?

Two anti-abortion billboards that may have zero effect on some people or covering the costs of contraceptives for 24-240 women so that they are much less likely to be in the situation of having an unintended pregnancy that may end in abortion?

The answer should be obvious especially to those who claim they are there to help those in need. But, as I stated in the original post, that would require pro-lifers to get their heads out of their Bibles so they can use their brain and think of ways to reduce abortion rates that doesn’t involve guilt, deception, religion, or laws that stomp all over women’s reproductive rights. It also would require a sense of actually giving a damn about the babies they “save from the abortion mills” once they are out of the womb.

To the Pro-Life Crusaders: Think before you de-fund

One of my supporters recently commented on a post that ended up popping up on my Facebook feed. Unfortunately, I cannot find the original post, but it was from an anti-abortion group posting a petition against the regulation the Obama administration issued that would prevent state law makers from cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood or other clinics. The rule hasn’t gone into effect (yet), but it has already received outrage from pro-life advocates demanding that Trump reverse it once he’s sworn into office. The petition claims Planned Parenthood performs 323,000 abortions per year and half a billion of our tax dollars goes into funding abortions while the group posting the petition called Obama’s regulation protecting Planned Parenthood funds a “pro-abortion move”. Comments from pro-life Facebook users wished to defund Planned Parenthood and stop our tax dollars from being used to fund “the murder of children”.

But fear not, oh, Mighty Crusaders for the Unborn! Your tax dollars aren’t funding the slaughter of the precious little gifts from your God thanks to a piece of legislature known as the Hyde Amendment.

The original Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976, three years after Roe v. Wade. Its purpose is to bar federal funds from being used to pay for elective abortions. Current versions of the law were written to include two exceptions: when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and when a pregnancy risks death of the mother.

Technically your tax dollars could be paying for the small percentage of abortions for women who are likely to die from their pregnancy and women who were raped. Yet these are exceptions pro-life advocates have made in regards to abortion. While the pro-life group is divided on rape and incest, most pro-lifers seem to agree that terminating a pregnancy is perfectly acceptable if medically necessary to save the mother’s life.

Unless a woman falls under these specific circumstances, a woman wishing to get an abortion has to pay out of her own pocket. So relax, Mighty Crusaders! Your tax dollars aren’t funding abortions for the women you view as irresponsible whores who don’t want to be inconvenienced with God’s gift of child birth.

However, your tax dollars are being put into family planning funding programs like Title X, which is the federal funding Obama’s regulation is protecting from being cut from places like Planned Parenthood.

Enacted by Richard Nixon in 1970, Title X helps provide low income and the uninsured with access to family planning and preventive health services. Title X’s own rules on how it can be used strictly forbid Title X funding from being used to pay for abortions. What it does help pay for are services like contraceptives, STD testing and treatment, and cancer screenings.

Title X and other federal funds designed for family planning pays for these services; not abortions.

What Obama’s regulation would do is require state and local governments to distribute funds for family planning and reproductive health services to qualified health providers regardless of whether they also provide abortions. It doesn’t apply to just Planned Parenthood, though it has been the main focus of the news surrounding this ruling because of it being a major abortion provider in addition to its family planning services. States wouldn’t be able to discriminate against ANY health care provider that receives funds to provide such services to low income or uninsured people.

So, Mighty Crusaders, when you cry out “DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD”, you’re not taking a stand for life by trying to eliminate funds that go towards abortion. The reality is you’re actually suggesting eliminating funds that allow under privileged individuals to obtain reproductive health services and contraceptives they may not be able to afford on their own.

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Cancer screenings, contraceptives, treatments and testing…

Plus, the move may cause more damage to your anti-abortion goals than you realize.

Let’s use my reproductive health clinic as an example. In 2014, it’s estimated that between all its locations, Essential Health Clinic prevented 1,200 unintended pregnancies. Statically, about 400 of those unintended pregnancies would have been terminated had they not been prevented.

Let that sink in for a moment: 400 abortions were potentially avoided because seven women’s clinic locations in rural mid-western Wisconsin offered contraceptives to thanks to federal funding like Title X.

Now put that on a national scale. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that in that same year (2014) publicly funded family planning services from all sources (including safety-net centers and private doctors who accept Medicaid) helped women to avoid 678,000 abortions that year. Services provided at Title X supported centers alone like Essential Health helped prevent an estimated 326,000 of those abortions.

In addition, family planning funding like Title X is helping to save tax dollars. In 2010, every dollar invested in publicly funded family planning services saved $7 in Medicaid expenditures that would otherwise have been needed to pay the medical costs of the unintended pregnancies, delivery, and early childhood care.

Furthermore, for 40% of the women who obtained care at a family planning center specializing in the provision of contraceptive care, that center was their only source of healthcare.

Maybe some of you Crusaders are thinking, “We only want to stop funding to just Planned Parenthood because they do abortions.” But would it really end with Planned Parenthood?

Not all Planned Parenthood locations even offer abortion, but pro-lifers want to defund the whole organization. We have anti-abortion protesters outside my clinic because the clinic has abortion information for clients and the protesters have a deep seeded belief that the hospital Essential Health is affiliated with performs elective abortions in secret. Some pro-lifers think certain birth control like the pill and Plan B are abortifacients. Some believe women should wait to have sex until she finds a good man to marry and reproduce with (or being abstinent forever if she doesn’t desire children). Some believe family planning services promote sexual promiscuity that can lead to pregnancies that end in abortion.

So would the Protectors of the Unborn only target places like Planned Parenthood that perform abortions in addition to its family planning and reproductive health services or would they go further? How far would they go with “defunding” campaigns? Would they march beyond the places that double as abortion providers and target the places that don’t perform abortions, but offer information on it as part of its pregnancy counseling? Would they attack places that are affiliated with health care networks they suspected of secretly providing abortions under the radar? Would they continue onward to places that offer birth control they believe—not facts or medical studies—cause abortions? Would they go further than that and focus on clinics that they think for one reason or another are promoting a sexual lifestyle that defies a traditional, Christian marriage?

It seems extreme, but conservative pro-life law makers have been continually chipping away at reproductive rights for years with laws that restrict access to abortion for women or force providers to shut down, gutting state family planning funding for reproductive health clinics, allowing religious employers to deny birth control coverage in its insurance, attempting to dismantle Title X funding, and funneling millions of tax dollars into the deceptive faith-based crisis pregnancy centers that give misinformation and scare tactics to women seeking help with their pregnancies. It doesn’t seem like that much of a long shot that pro-life advocates would continue fighting until women don’t have much of a choice in their reproductive health and family planning clinics are nothing more than glorified crisis pregnancy centers telling women their only options are giving birth and keeping her legs closed until she finds a husband to procreate with because that what God wants.

Obama’s regulation may help to prevent pro-life groups from rallying behind pro-life conservative law makers and cutting funding to women’s health clinics that didn’t meet their demands.

It makes sense that one of the final regulations put forth by Obama administration would prevent family planning clinics from getting their funding cut. The Republicans, a party not seen as being for women’s rights, will officially have control of both sides of Congress and the White House come January 20th when Trump is sworn into office. The new Congress is already sworn in and immediately Republicans stated plans to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare. Trump’s administration has already made promises to continue the Republican tradition of trampling all over women’s reproductive rights. Future VP Mike Pence, who signed every anti-abortion law to come across his desk while governor and poured money into an anti-abortion group, stated that the Trump presidency would work to reverse the birth control mandate requiring insurance companies to provide birth control in their coverage. Trump himself has expressed plans to defund Planned Parenthood and electing Supreme Court Justices that would turn over Roe v. Wade.

Obama seems to be doing what he can while he’s still president before the Republicans stage their full frontal attack on reproductive rights on behalf of pro-life groups. Because pro-life advocates refuse to see how cutting funding to family planning centers like Planned Parenthood could have serious ramifications. They don’t think that abortions and unintended pregnancies would likely increase without access to birth control or that tax dollar spending would increase if there were more babies being born to low income families who need financial assistance in caring for them. They act like they’re for women, but don’t seem to care that lot of women would suddenly be without healthcare when clinics shut down due to funding cuts. To be honest, they’re probably too busy cheering whenever a Planned Parenthood closes or praising God when a low income clinic drastically cuts its hours to notice the women who depend on these places for their contraceptives, exams, and treatments.

When it comes down to it, the campaign to “Defund Planned Parenthood” doesn’t seem very “pro-life” at all since pro-lifers don’t think of the impact it would have on lives.

If the Mighty Crusaders for the Unborn were truly pro-life, they would think before they defund.

Activist Story Time: Backlash and a 4th Letter

Shortly after my third letter to the editor, which was published mid-August, there was a letter published in the paper from someone named Kelly Faust. Considering she has the same last name as The Pastor, I assume she’s either his wife or one of his daughters. Her letter, titled “Disappointed”, was written as a response to my letter.

I was disappointed to read Sam Simmon’s letter to the editor a couple weeks ago regarding those who are trying to help others. I felt she made some unfair assumptions about the people who choose to live out the belief to “love their neighbors”. Sam should be championing those (like 12-year old “A”) who are speaking up for the rights of the pre-born, because the very same people she is trying to discourage as they offer hope to others would help her if she was awaiting punishment for a crime in which she was innocent.

Sam is not omniscient and therefore is not able to state who is helped by those who are willing to stand for life. She does not know how many lives have been saved or the amount of financial help given or all the physical care represented by these people who genuinely care for both the mother and child.

Many times over the years, we have heard testimonies like, “I wish someone had been there to tell me the truth about abortion” or “Why didn’t someone tell us that condoms don’t protect from STDs?” To accuse crisis pregnancy centers as being “fake” clinic to manipulate and deceive women just so they carry out a pregnancy is incredible. Do the clinics that she supports give accurate information about all the STD possibilities even when contraceptives are used correctly? Do they warn of the health risks of having multiple sex partners? It is not the goal of those standing for life to cause offense or to interfere in “private” lives; the goal is to save mothers from a lifetime of regret and to rescue children sentenced to death solely for being “inconvenient.” The best “choice” for people that don’t want children or the emotional scars is to avoid the behavior that was designed to make children in the first place.

 

Seems I hit a nerve for having the audacity to point out that the protesters haven’t helped anyone and for telling the 12-year old protester to go out and do things that would actually help those in need.

I thought it was pretty bold of her to say that I made unfair assumptions about the protesters when they themselves have made plenty of unfair assumptions and accusations mostly due to a hyperactive religious imagination combined with the false belief that Gundersen Health, the hospital the clinic is affiliated with, does “elective” abortions (so Essential is guilty by association in the eyes of the pro-lifers). I also thought it was bold of her to question if a hospital affiliated reproductive health clinic that provides sex education presentations would explain the health risks involved with sexual activity.

Of course, I’m not all knowing like the letter said so maybe I don’t know for sure how many people they’ve “helped”. However, the fact that their “help” consists of harassing women on the street to give literature filled with misinformation to deceive and religion to put the fear of God in women is enough to find their help questionable. Their support of a Crisis Pregnancy Center makes their help questionable as CPC’s have been known to lie to women. I’ve heard from women irritated by their presence. None of the women I’ve personally seen talking to the protesters actually needed their help. The women either were stopped by the protesters on their way in or out of the clinic or the women approached them to give them a piece of her mind. I’ve repeatedly asked the Pastor how this demonstration is actually helping women or other ways they try to help people and I never really got a proper response. The staff at the clinic has told me one patient was afraid to come in to her appointment when she saw the protesters and there have been other women who admitted they waited to come in when the protesters weren’t there.

Somehow the pro-life protesters expect me to believe that their demonstration is helping.

Meanwhile, I can go to Essential’s website and pull annual reports detailing how many patients they helped and how they were helped. Estimations based on their numbers state that because of their services they prevented 1,200 unintended pregnancies, over 400 of which would have statistically ended in abortion. The protesters are against abortion, but at the same time refuse to acknowledge that without places like Essential Health offering access to birth control women would be more at risk of having unintended pregnancies that would end in abortion.    

What probably bothered me the most was reading the claim that they genuinely care about women and children and aren’t out to interfere with private lives or to offend.

It shouldn’t feel invasive when I have to walk into the clinic for my personal health care with a few old men with signs standing a few feet from the door, watching me as I head inside?

They don’t wish to interfere with private lives yet want to tell women that their best option if they don’t want children is to keep their legs closed? They’re not interfering when they ask me (and other women) about my life, faith, my position on abortion, etc. and if it differs from theirs they’ll try to persuade me that their view is the right one? Or when others like them that stand outside actual abortion clinics write down license plate numbers and snap photos of those going in and out of the building?

Was I not supposed to feel offended when I declined to take an anti-abortion card and was asked if the reason why was because I was illiterate? Was it unfair to assume that I couldn’t read based on this refusal? 

They want to help women, but then demonize a non-abortion health clinic and judge the women who go there for reproductive care just because the clinic has information on a pregnancy option they don’t agree with? Should I not be offended as a woman that they have that attitude towards women trying to receive reproductive care?

How is surrounding the block, holding out opinionated signage, and shoving religion down women’s throats because they believe a fetus is a person while they turn a blind eye to the millions of needy post-born individuals and do nothing to ease their suffering actually living out this “love thy neighbor” belief they keep preaching? How is lying to, manipulating, judging, harassing, criticizing, insulting, embarrassing, and creating a negative atmosphere for the women they claim to want to help “loving thy neighbor”? More importantly, why wouldn’t I want to discourage those types of behaviors? Why wouldn’t I want to encourage individuals like “A” to do something that would actually benefit those in need instead of idly standing outside a health clinic with their anti-view plastered onto their signs? 

I’ve been going to the same location for my reproductive health care for ten years. I hadn’t had sex when I first went.  At 19, I had my first yeast infection, but didn’t know it and thought I had something worse. I was scared and vulnerable. They helped me and assured me what I had wasn’t a horrible disease and was easily treatable with antibiotics. They were there when I had a pregnancy scare and I couldn’t afford to buy a pregnancy test. When the test came back negative, they asked if I was interested in getting on the pill to better avoid pregnancy. For nearly a decade, I’ve been able to avoid an unintended pregnancy because of them giving access to birth control to women who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. A few years ago a pap smear came back abnormal enough that I needed biopsies to check for cervical cancer. The news was already worrying without having a mother with a history of having to have pre-cancerous cervical polyps removed. I was fucking terrified. The women at the clinic assured me that everything was going to be okay just as they did when I first came in.

The truly unfair and disappointing thing in all of this is not the “assumptions” I made about the pro-life protesters. It’s having this place that has helped a lot of women like me and the people working there genuinely caring about women like me….and one day it’s being criticized, picketed, and lied about and the women who go there are being harassed, judged, and humiliated by these zealots simply because the clinic has abortion information that could be easily Googled.  

I had never intended to write anything past my first letter to the newspaper in regards to protesters and reproductive choice. Yet I found myself writing my fourth letter after another letter got published a week later criticizing me while making the false claim that Gundersen makes money off women when it does elective abortions (which it doesn’t do) and claiming that’s why Essential requires abortion to be included in the pregnancy counseling. I felt I needed to write in order to defend myself and the clinic that has helped me and other women throughout the years.

In response to K. F.’s letter:

My “assumptions” are based on months of research, observation, and discussion as well as interactions with the protesters. I’d call it an educated “assessment” rather than “assumptions”.

A protester admitted that he’s not helped any woman seeking advice on her options since they began demonstrating. The protester’s resources include information on contraceptives and abortion that has been medically disputed or discredited. A recent discussion with clinic staff revealed there are women who explain that the presence of the protesters made them feel intimidated, and they come in when the protesters aren’t there. I have yet to have a discussion with anyone, including mothers and those who identify as pro-life, that didn’t feel negatively after witnessing their demonstration or speaking with them.

I don’t know how anyone believes the protesters are not judgmental or interfering with anyone’s lives when they’ll ram religion and their view on abortion and reproductive rights down your throat if given the opportunity.

It’s these things that have led me and others to the conclusion that these people are not of help to women, but a hindrance to women, specifically those seeking help with family planning and reproductive help.

Can the protesters state how many lives have been saved because the clinic provided access to contraceptives that greatly reduce the chances of unwanted pregnancies that may be terminated, treatments for STDs, exams that detected cancer early, etc. I’m sure they are unable to as they are no more omniscient than I am. Thankfully, Essential Health has some annual reports to help answer that. The most recent report (2014) states there were 6,053 patients, 2,070 people treated for STDs, and 1,030 pap tests performed. It’s estimated that Essential Health prevented 1,210 unintended pregnancies and saved Wisconsin $8,258,730 in tax dollars via pregnancy prevention, STD testing, and pap testing. The same tool that got those estimates also estimates that 410 abortions were prevented.

Kelly questioned if clinic I support provide accurate information on things like abstinence and sexual health risks. Being that they are a clinic owned by a hospital and staffed with RN’s: yes! They also provide the means to practicing safer sex for those who want to be sexually active at a low cost or free for those who qualify.

I cannot say the same of the crisis pregnancy centers (CPC) that I stated were fake clinics that deceive women. Undercover investigations revealed CPC’s often give false information and most aren’t licensed facilities, yet they advertise themselves as such without disclosing they are really operated by pro-life ministries. Some cities have tried passing laws that would have curbed deceptive advertising or the use of misinformation in their counseling. CPCs fought back saying the laws violated their freedom of speech. If they were indeed real clinics that were about giving women accurate information, then why would they fight legislation that would have required them to do just that?

I went to a CPC for pregnancy test to see if any of this was true. Before leaving, I was given a packet they offer to any women with a negative result. The pamphlets in the package didn’t contain any useful information to help avoid another pregnancy scare. The advice was “save sex for marriage” and “condoms aren’t the answer for pregnancy or STDs”. Overall, it seemed the reading materials were designed for a non-religious, unmarried woman with the intention of shaming her.

Therefore, I refuse to champion misogynists who attempt to masquerade as crusaders for human life. To quote George Carlin, “They are not pro-life. You know what they are? They are anti-woman.”