Saturday, April 9, 2011

Anti-Abortion Groups Rent Space Near Dr. Carhart's Clinic

According to the Washington Post, Operation Rescue and the Maryland Coalition for Life have rented office space in Germantown, MD, across from a clinic where Dr. LeRoy Carhart performs late-term abortions. The anti-abortion website Kick Carhart Out of Maryland is gleeful about this development, given its resistance to Dr. Carhart ever since he began performing procedures in Germantown.

The Maryland Coalition for Life's website describes the new space as a resource and referral center for both women who are considering abortion and for women who have already undergone abortion. The Washington Post article quotes Operation President president Troy Newman describing the new center as a place where pregnant women can find friendship and assistance. The Germantown Patch reports that a local physician will be providing free ultrasounds to "abortion-vulnerable women" at the office.

The NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland blog does not believe that the new center's intentions are noble. In an April 1st post, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland described the center as a fake clinic and warned readers about its anticipated tactics.

"Operation Rescue has tried this tactic in the past, opening up a fake pregnancy clinic across from Dr. Tiller’s Wichita Kansas clinic. The fake clinic operates exactly as a Crisis Pregnancy center would, with the intent to misinform, manipulate, and mislead women from making their own reproductive choices."
Operation Rescue and the Maryland Coalition for Life are not referring to this office as a "crisis pregnancy center," but rather as a "pro-life center."* Since the facility is anti-abortion and will reportedly offer resources, referrals, and ultrasounds to pregnant women, I'm confused about what distinguishes it from a crisis pregnancy center.

I am deeply concerned about this development, given that some crisis pregnancy centers near abortion clinics have been accused of misinforming women about their pregnancy options. The National Abortion Federation, NARAL, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, Legal Momentum, the Guttmacher Institute, and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform have written about the misinformative tactics of some crisis pregnancy centers in trying to prevent female clients from seeking abortions. The hard-hitting documentary 12th and Delaware demonstrates how one crisis pregnancy center in Florida used manipulative tactics to goad women out of procuring abortions at a nearby abortion clinic. Whether "crisis pregnancy center" or "pro-life center" is the correct term for this new center, I worry about the implications for women who want to make informed reproductive decisions in Germantown.

For additional news and commentary, visit the following links.

Montgomery Village Patch: Pro-Life Groups Set Up Shop Near Germantown Abortion Clinic

Ms. Magazine: Anti-Abortion Center Opens Near Dr. Carhart's Clinic

RH Reality Check: Operation Rescue Moving in Across the Street from Carhart

Amanda Hess: Crisis Pregnancy Center Opens Across from LeRoy Carhart's Germantown Abortion Clinic


  1. So much is disturbing about this development. What is telling to me is how those who run these crisis pregnancy centers misinform and coerce vulnerable women to achieve their own agenda. People who really cared about the women would not lie to them.

  2. Cognitive Dissenter -- I agree. People who respect women and have their best interest at heart would have no need to lie to them.

  3. What you just wrote should be carved in stone and placed in strategic locations where all women would be reminded of that simple and profound truth. Often. Maybe you should start selling T-shirts ...?

  4. I agree, it's distressing. It bothers me that these people hang out to dissuade women from potentially getting an abortion. (After all, just because a woman goes into a clinic, it doesn't mean she's definitely going to have an abortion. She might be there simply for a pregnancy test, for info, birth control, etc.)

    While I enjoyed the movie Juno, it bothered me that the girl decided not to go into the clinic because of an anti-abortion activist outside who told her that the fetus had fingernails. It was a nice story about a girl who opted to give a baby up for adoption, but would have been better without that one scene. These people are not heroes.

  5. Donna Banta -- The extreme ones see themselves as heroes, which makes it very difficult to show them other viewpoints on abortion.


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