Momentum was on their side when last October abortion proponents introduced legislation in the liberally toxic New York City Council to hamstring pregnancy care centers.
Bill No. 371, which mimics ordinances passed in Baltimore and Austin, would force PCCs in New York City to post signage that they do not commit abortions or distribute contraceptives. It would also force them to notify clients if there were no doctor in the house.
Penalties are harsh: a fine of $200-1,000 for the first violation and $500-2,500 for subsequent violations, a shut-down for three violations, and jail time up to six months if refusing to shut down.
But then came a report two weeks ago from the New York City Department of Health that a staggering 41 percent of all pregnancies in NYC ended in abortion in 2009. The rate for black women was even worse – 60 percent.
For Bill No. 371, the timing of this report could not have been worse.
According to the report, the number of abortions in NYC’s five boroughs totaled a shocking 174,546 in 2009. If, as Guttmacher states, 1.2 million abortions are committed annually in the United States, then abortions in the New York City region account for 14.5 percent of all abortions nationwide. NYC has the deadly distinction of being America’s abortion capital.
Even abortion proponents were disturbed by the report. According to the liberal online news source Slate, “Pro-choice and pro-life groups alike are shuddering at the news that four out of every 10 pregnancies in NYC end in abortion.”
Now Bill No. 371 looks not only cruel but harmful to women, as the Wall Street Journal editorialized yesterday:
So how is New York responding [to the health department report]? …
[T]he speaker of the City Council, Christine Quinn, is pushing a bill designed to make it harder for people who are trying to help women keep their babies. …
It tells us something that there appears to be no interest in requiring that, say, Planned Parenthood post in their clinics some telling information of their own: 324,008 abortions nationwide against only 2,405 adoption referrals in 2008. …
Rather than rehash the allegations against Crisis Pregnancy Centers – e.g., that they often disguise themselves as medical clinics, that they are not upfront about whether they offer abortion – let’s stipulate for the sake of argument that they are all true. In the end, a woman who wants an abortion can still walk out and get one, as many do. A woman who doesn’t necessarily want an abortion, however, can find all kinds of help: a place to live if her family or boyfriend has kicked her out; training for mother care; and, not least, the friendly face of a caring volunteer.
No doubt there are mothers who regret having their children. … Far more common, however, are the websites with women repeating this heart-rending lament: “If only one person had encouraged me to keep my baby.”
NARAL didn’t help its cause when it released its annual report last week, giving New York a grade of “A-” for abortion advocacy and ranking it the 12th-best state to “procure a hasty abortion,” as Juno would say.
Nor did the pro-abortion think tank Guttmacher Institute help, also reporting last week that U.S. abortions are slightly up after declining for almost 20 years.
Given all this negative news, I anticipate that even the brazen pro-aborts in NYC will be too embarrassed to pursue Bill No. 371. And hopefully the small groundswell that had been building nationwide to intimidate PCCs will recede.
Pro-lifers should actually be heartened by these attempts to silence PCCs, even though they’re certainly no fun. It only means PCCs are having a deleterious impact on abortion. Sometimes pro-abortion defense looks like offense, and this is one of those times. As was written by the Witherspoon Institute on Jan. 17:
In the United States there are some 2,300 affiliates of the three largest pregnancy resource center umbrella groups, Heartbeat International, CareNet, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.
Over 1.9 million American women take advantage of these services each year. Many stay at one of the 350 residential facilities for women and children operated by pro-life groups.
In New York City alone, there are 22 centers serving 12,000 women a year. These centers provide services including pre-natal care, STI testing, STI treatment, ultrasound, childbirth classes, labor coaching, midwife services, lactation consultation, nutrition consulting, social work, abstinence education, parenting classes, material assistance and post-abortion counseling.
All those services are free, I might add.
In stark contrast, all that abortion clinics offer is killing children, for which their own mothers must pay.
Isn’t it obvious why abortion proponents also want to kill off pregnancy care centers?