When the phrase, “abortion clinic in St. Louis,” is placed in Bing.com’s search engine, the results are one Planned Parenthood clinic and three Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
Planned Parenthood is a 102-year-old organization that provides healthcare at more than 600 centers worldwide.
Planned Parenthood services include abortion referral, birth control, emergency contraception, general health care, HIV testing, preventative medicines, hormone therapy, education services, pregnancy testing, STD testing, psychotherapy, vaccines, pelvic exams and cancer screenings. Services are administered by licensed and trained officials in their respective fields.
Planned Parenthood has reached people partially because of Title X of the Public Health Services Act, which established public funding since 1970 for family planning and sex education.
Title X originally came under fire by those who wished to minimize Planned Parenthood’s impact. Since then, the pro-life movement has learned how to utilize Title X to their advantage by creating Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC) are organizations who seek to aid pregnant women. Though these organizations have been around for decades, they have received newfound criticism due to their portrayal of abortion as dangerous and inhumane.
CPCs offer services like abortion education, adoption education, pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and counseling.
Through interviews of CPC clients from companies like Vice or Naral we can see inside these centers to uncover their practices. Clients are given abundant, usually false, information around abortion. CPC workers have given out brochures, played documentaries, and spoken to clients about abortion in concern with the high fatality rate, the large link with breast cancer, or the increase of infertility.
Despite their lack of government regulation, CPCs are still funded by taxpayer money through Title X. This means information given to these clients can be as biased, misleading, or false as the organization needs in order to achieve the goal of talking women out of abortion.
There are atleast four high school students who have gone through more training than these centers. Seniors Macy Bluestein, Eleanor Marshall, Camille Mussman, and Rosie Ryan were all certified to teach sexual education by Peer to Peer training and Teen Advocates for Sexual Health at Planned Parenthood.
Ryan said, “[I can] teach stuff about safe sex, about condoms, and birth control, and all that: It’s wonderful.”
Even if women avoid CPC persuasion and find an abortion clinic, they must jump through more hoops. According to Code 188.010 et seq., Missouri law states, “Licensed M.D. must certify abortion necessary.”
Missouri law requires an informed consent booklet to be provided to women seeking an abortion. Within the first two pages, not only does it support CPCs, it also offers editorialized statements like, “Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.”
Abortions aren’t nearly as dangerous or inhumane as CPCs make them out to be. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the risk of dying as a direct result of a legally induced abortion to be less than one per 100,000. This makes legal abortion one of the safest medical procedures. The risk of dying in childbirth is greater.
Claims of abortion being linked to breast cancer are also false according to the American Cancer Society. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says arguments that abortion impacts a woman’s future fertility are medically inaccurate and deliberately misleading.
In 2008, Missouri had five abortion clinics. Now, Planned Parenthood St. Louis is the only legal clinic for abortion operations in Missouri. This means some Missourians would have to drive over 300 miles to get abortion services. In sharp contrast, there are more than 20 CPC in the St. Louis region alone.
CPCs continue to spread amongst the country with the mission to ruin pro-choice organizations.
Ryan said, “Pro-choice is not anti-life. My personal opinion, I am pro-choice. You know, I think it’s not my place to say what is or is not feminism, but I do lean towards the fact that if you are a woman and you consider yourself to be a feminist, you should allow women to do with their bodies what they want.”
This is Senior Trinity Madison’s first year on ECHO staff. She now serves as Advertising / Business Manager after a year of training and contributory writing in journalism class.
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