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May 02 2006

More On Bogus Abortion Clinics

Homegirl Amanda Marcotte has written a gripping piece for AlterNet on the vexing proliferation of those fake “pregnancy crisis clinics” I mumbled about last month. The skin crawls as she reveals how these anti-choice “clinics,” many of which have no medical personnel on staff, hoover up women who are trying to cope with unwanted pregnancies and proceed to, among other things, screw them out of necessary information and proper prenatal care. They’re essentially anti-choice propaganda machines. “Texas taxpayers,” she writes, using our oft-backwards state as an example, “are being asked to pony up $5 million to an organization [the fetus-worshiping Texas Pregnancy Care Network, which is getting a government grant to abet the women-as-sex-class mandate] that provides no services apart from furthering an outsider political agenda.”

The bogosity of this shit is truly harrowing. Spread, as Amanda suggests, the word.

26 comments

  1. Cass

    Maybe we can scrape together a mob of conservative rubes to picket outside one of these fake clinics, and harass every “staff member” who tries to make it across the parking lot…

  2. Twisty

    There is briliance in what you suggest, Cass. The conservative protesters would be just as faked out as the prospective clients? Hi-larious!

  3. Shy Girl

    I love the idea of a protest to undermine these ‘clinics’! If anyone hears news about one, please pass it on.

    On another topic, does anyone know if there is any way to take legal action against these ‘clinics’ for taking personal information under false pretences, or perhaps for implying that they have a medical doctor on site? Just a thought, I’m not up on law (as you can probably all tell).

  4. Chris

    It probably wouldn’t take much. Email an out-of-town pro-life group. Tell them that you know of an abortion clinic in your town, and you and some of your church buddies want to protest it, but you need help and extra protestors. Give ‘em the address, and watch what happens (preferably while videotaping it).

  5. Hattie

    Oh, how naughty! This is a good “dirty trick’ way to fight back. The trouble is, we’re all too nice to do things like this. Aren’t we……..?

  6. Cass

    There are lots of guerilla actions I can think of that wouldn’t even require the services of a fundamentalist mob. I think its probably not best to share them, however, in such a public forum as this…

  7. KB

    I remember forwarding Amanda the request for bids that the Tx Dept of Health & Human Svcs sent out for this 5 mil. I want to emphasize that this money is NOT for new services…it’s just kind of free cash for the existing (non)services these atrocious clowns “provide.” When I was single and preggers with my first, which I’d already decided to keep, I went to one of these places with the sole purpose of bitching at their brainwashing and lack of real services. Since I was white, they really pushed the adoption stuff. For medical, all they offered was the address to the nearest Medicaid office. Seriously. I asked about childcare. Nope. Food help? Nothing. They did have some fomula (so much for encouraging breastfeeding) and a coupla packs of diapers. Oh, they did offer lots and lots of prayers. And assurance that Jesus would love me if I didn’t abort. Finally I got belligerent and was asked to leave.

    So where’s the five mil going? The grant specifically did not mention anything about medical care or resources, just “education.” So we’re giving these jerks all this money just to keep referring women to our overtaxed indigent programs. Which the same asshole con legislators are trying to destroy.

    Anyway, my little sister pulled off her wedding ring and did the same thing for her two pregnancies. Same damn thing happened to her, and she was tossed for being belligerent, too. Runs in the family.

    Now, back then these outfits didn’t have ultrasound machines.

    This pregnancy, I have a bit of experience with those contraptions. See, we had to do the Repronex thing and ovulation monitoring, IUI, and all that. I got like an ultrasound a week. And let me tell you that an untrained “sonagrapher” (that is a totally made-up term) will NOT be able to find a four week or less embryo. It’s hard enough for the pros to do it, and it can be damn uncomfortable. The very idea of these bozos running around sticking ultrasound wands up innocent vaginas makes me mad.

    Also this pregnancy I didn’t have the time or energy to go to one of those stupid places, so I don’t have firsthand knowledge of the “modern” CPCs. The kid I used as a foil back then is now a sullen 12-yr-old. I am 22 wks and can’t get my wedding ring off to save my life. I’m also 39 and just don’t think I’ll be believable. But I’ll go anyway and report back if y’all want me to.

  8. Amanda Marcotte

    Thanks for the link! And indeed, it was your original post that got the story going, when I sent the link to Evan at Alternet.

  9. Christopher

    Man, I’m astounded by these places. I mean, shouldn’t Christians at least provide food help or something? I mean, what was it Jesus said in the book of Matthew?

  10. KB

    Holy cow, really!? I did not know that. Thanks for the thanks! And you’re welcome and stuff…I thought you’d forgotten about it and had based your article on more current or detailed info. I read your blog pretty much daily but have not gone through the vetting yet to comment. I am lazy.

    I wonder exactly how they are using the money; since then I have moved jobs, so am not on the TDHHS mailing list anymore. I would bet they are just opening more crappy strip mall offices. Oh, and buying ultrasound machines.

    About the Medicaid and CHIP programs crashing and burning…it’s really true. Just before I left I was getting lots of calls from clients who were suddenly getting totally screwed by both programs in appalling ways. Turns out that a new company had won the bid to process applications for both programs (they’re lumped together in TX) in Nov 2005. It was totally screwing up the applications, info, communications, you name it. Like sending everyone in the Panhandle provider manuals (enrollment cannot be completed until a provider is selected, see?) for the El Paso area, then insisting that the clients did, in fact, live in that area instead of 800 miles away. Which tells us discerning patriarchy blamers that perhaps this call/processing center is not even located in the Great State, huh? Sure enough, CHIP enrollment alone has gone down to something way less than half what it was two years ago. Just more proof that the real goal of the privatization crowd is NOT increased efficacy, right?

    And this 5 mil going to “nonprofit” CPCs is just more diversion of gov’t money to private entities. Really sucky evil private entities. Which I hate. But I ramble.

  11. scratchy888

    I suggest that the bogus clinics be firebombed — whilst the bogus workers are still in them. After all, they’ll get a short trip to heaven, so no great loss.

  12. Chris

    I’m sure scratchy was being facetious in an angry way, but I think the last think pro-choicers/anti-forced-pregnanciers need is our own version of the Army of God.

    But I’m all for good pranks, and think it would be a great experiment to see if the protestors could tell the difference.

  13. scratchy888

    NO, I was being facetious in a “call the religious bluff” way.

    I’m suggesting we need to call the bluff of these religious minded people more often — if they ideologically subscribe to the notion that there is a heaven, they should not e afraid to go there, and yet they are afraid.

    It’s about time that some of these fundies had the fear of a deity put into them!

  14. Lara

    KB wrote” The very idea of these bozos running around sticking ultrasound wands up innocent vaginas makes me mad.”

    Others have touched on their bogglement that these clinics appear to be getting away (in a legal sense) with their assholish godbaggery.

    How is performing an intravaginal ultrasound under false pretences not rape?

  15. FaerieDust

    Scratchy, it always confused me that suicide is a mortal sin, when the whole goal in life is to die and be with Jesus.

    While I am incensed at the bait-and-switch, the part of Amanda’s piece that really caught my eye was this:

    “Peggy Romberg of the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas estimates that 17,000 low-income women will lose access to affordable family planning as a result of the cuts, adding to the 75 percent of low-income Texas women who are eligible for state-funded family planning services but who lack actual access. ”

    So, money is pulled away from proper women’s healthcare services, more poor women are unable to get medical care and information, end up pregnant, have nowhere to go but a CPC, and the cycle continues. It makes the “clinics” their own perpetual motion machine–see how many women need us? See how many babies we can save?

  16. saltyC

    I think the bogglement comes because we like to forget, to some degree, that we do live in a patriarchy.

    They would not be getting away with it if “liberals” didn’t give them “credit” for having “good intentions”.

    Yes I use a lot of quotes, but we live in a fake world.

    These sickos get airtime, on NPR, etc. and spew abuse. It is pure abuse, and it is highly effective at making women GUILTY for HAVING WOMBS. Women are guilty because we bleed, that is our stigma. Teenage girls are SCARED of their guilty bodies.

    My main mission in life will be to instill a world view in my daughter that explains where we come from. I will make an illustrated book for her to show her how an embryo develops from an egg and a sperm, and at every point along the process, until pretty far along the gestation, it is not guaranteed to become a human being. And how life is not created or begun, it continues as it has for billions of years. With this view, abortion is sad but not a binding tragedy. Maybe this way she will find a way to accept her own body and have a good attitude towards sex.

  17. Sara

    This is so angering, yet another entry on my “Why aren’t these assholes in jail???” list.

    I like Cass’ idea, except that it has the backlash potential to increase exposure of vulnerable women (the would-be patients) to yet more godbag abuse. Once you unleash the godbags, even on the side of the angels, there’s just no telling how far they’ll go or what kind of evil can ensue.

    We should picket these places ourselves with big signs that say “NOT A PRO-CHOICE CLINIC,” “YOUR PRIVACY MEANS NOTHING HERE,” and “THE REAL PLANNED PARENTHOOD IS OVER THERE [arrow].” Is anyone actually doing this? Or do these places shut down once their cover is blown?

  18. Jodie

    FaerieDust, not only will more women get pregnant, but they won’t get the prenatal care they need — which will damage those all important fetuses.

  19. Maenad

    “These sickos get airtime, on NPR, etc. and spew abuse. It is pure abuse, and it is highly effective at making women GUILTY for HAVING WOMBS. Women are guilty because we bleed, that is our stigma. Teenage girls are SCARED of their guilty bodies.”

    Yes! We even dread the coming of our periods – it wouldn’t be so bad, bad at all, if we were not programed to think that “the time of the month” was such a burden. Society has an ingenious way of telling us how to feel or how to react to certain situations via the various types of media.

  20. KB

    I stand corrected. Shame on me for going outside my area.

    There ARE such critters as sonographers. They’re trained for nothing but, and it’s a branch of diagnostic medicine. So no other degrees or anything.

    But the ones who work for CPCs are still evil, natch.

  21. kathy a

    don’t most states have laws about practicing medicine without a license?

    a medical procedure using a medical machine that invades the body seems like something, you know, medical — and a diagnostic procedure should at least be overseen by a doctor. so they just let some person who can find the “on” switch do it?

    most ob/gyns oppose the use of external sonograms for “entertainment” [non-diagnostic] purposes, at least according to this study:
    http://www.obgyn.net/us/us.asp?page=/us/cotm/9910/survey

  22. Ms Kate

    I have to wonder about the whole sonogram = prenatal care thing, and not just for the usual reasons of it not being medically very useful.

    When most women would be considering abortion, their pregnancies are at the embryo stage. In other words, what is there is very very small and not terribly easy to define.

    What I suspect happens is a pseudo-sonogram: they do the sonogram stuff to the woman, but show her a much more developed (e.g. human looking) being on the screen. It would be interesting to invade such a place as a damsel in distress armed with preggo urine for testing, and see what they show you during the “prenatal care” visit.

  23. scratchy888

    Yes! We even dread the coming of our periods – it wouldn’t be so bad, bad at all, if we were not programed to think that “the time of the month” was such a burden. Society has an ingenious way of telling us how to feel or how to react to certain situations via the various types of media.

    Fuck that dread!

    And the media it rode in on!

    Really, you need to dig deep and get hold of a sense of religiosity about the whole experience.

    IMAGINATIONS, people!

  24. Pony

    I’m in a very blaming mood. Blame.

    An elderly neighbour asked for my help today. Neighbour needed a ride to a far-flung corner of town for a BLAME colon cleanse. She’s having BLAME surgery soon and wants to be BLAME “all nice and clean.” Since I am familiar with her BLAME health care proclivities and gave up long ago, I didn’t dodder around on A but went right to Z, and offered that maybe not a good idea to have a BLAME cleanse before surgery when those good bugs might be needed. To no BLAME avail. End of discussion. Oh, and would I mind while out to pick up a couple (brand) BLAME vaginal douche kits for her? WTF I sorta said? She wants to make sure she’s all BLAME clean. She’s 78. BLAME. BLAME. BLAME. But you know who I BLAME most; the charlatans who create this and milk it.

    BLAME.

  25. Kate

    Money has been pulled away from women ever since the Gipper got into office in 1980 or whatever. I was busy being a scared pregnant teen to remember. What I do remember clearly is the guilt I felt while being all pregnant and seeing him preach to millions of Americans about the social ‘plight’ of ‘unwed’ mothers in this country and how its all gotta be stopped.

    Them whores is at it agin, ruinin’ the world.

    Ronnie got the first hit in on welfare with his Welfare Act of 1984, whereby benefits would only go to single parent households, links with other service agencies to provide cribs, clothes and other services were cut. Headstart was cut dramatically and the last ax fell on many of the more creative CAP services that were started with Johnson’s War on Poverty which the Republicans hated so much.

    With that law also was mandated that child support payments would be confiscated when a woman went on welfare, waiving right to any monies, future or past is still a requirement to receive any aid at all. A fifty dollar ‘pass through’ payment was allotted to be taken out and sent to the recipient each month the payor paid.

    There was a small part of the legislation that proposed a work program, but focused on bogus ‘incentives’ such as giving businesses huge tax credits per welfare recipient that they hired on. Obviously, big payers were the ones to step up and take advantage of that ‘opportunity’ which did little to train women in real skilled work.

    Ronnie’s bill also began the ban on medicaid funding for abortions, if my memory serves me correct.

    THe Welfare Reform Act of 1995, signed into law by Bill Clinton took things a step further. He essentially sacrificed women for the sake of votes, just like Ronnie. Everyone loves to hate on women, especially poor ones. A good uniter.

    Under the 1995 act, which is huge, complicated and contradictory, women have reduced time for benefits, don’t get to attend school, save for six week, low skilled training programs, the feds cut funding for states that go over an arbitrary line of allowable recipient numbers, grants increase for states that have a drop in abortion rates, applications are set up to determine the father of each child, often with degrading questions. A cap on the number of children covered has been passed in some states — and the law allows for the ‘creativity’ of states to set up many of their own rules with reduced federal oversight.

    most importantly, medicaid any poverty assistance programs were reduced in their legal construct, from being ‘entitlement’ programs to mere legislation, which because now apparently people’s lives are not connected to them, can be disrupted and pulled at will.

    there is more, but i’ll stop there.

    When I was an activist, no one gave a shit. Well, its all done, sorry the party’s over and women were moved back about twenty steps, but since no one will ever be poor in our society but dirty bad people, no one cared.

    I said at the time, that which I thought was pretty damned obvious, that they would start with the easiest women to target, knowing that all women’s lives are moved backward and thus women are more fearful and regressive than before. Their strategy is working, they’ve exploited classism to begin their take-down of social progress and roll the clocks back.

  26. saltyC

    Wow.

    Yes unmarried pregnant women are the ruin of a society.
    Don’t have a baby, and don’t have an abortion. Why don’t you just explode.
    No matter what you do is wrong, and the reason is your faulty judgement. No one asked you to spread your legs. And that will also be the reason you fail at your one total responsibility in producing a whole person.
    It’s because of your serotonin imbalance.

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