Emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request have revealed that Maryland government officials and activists with the state chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America have been working closely together on a legal effort to shut down a local pro-life pregnancy care center.One of the strategies used by NARAL in their effort to close pregnancy centres is to accuse them of false information and false advertising. The very same strategy that was used here in Halifax by a young woman who began a campaign to pull the bus ads of the Open Door Centre.
Her claim was that the ads were not honest since they did not state that the Centre is faith-based and will not refer for abortions. She took her complaint to the Advertising Standards Council, and she lost. The director of the Centre was obliged to hire a lawyer to write a letter to the ASC, and that letter clearly showed that the ads simply directed women to the Centre's website. On that website it is clearly shown that the organization is faith-based. And the list of services do not include abortion referrals; actually no centre can refer for an abortion unless they have a doctor on staff.
It is surprising that someone should get so worked up about ads on the buses. The ads are not confrontational, they are not judgmental in any way. They simply state that the Centre is there to help should someone find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy.
Why is this seen as so threatening?
Peggy Hartshown of Heartbeat International says:
“No amount of political maneuvering or coercion can take away the fact that pregnancy help organizations are good for America’s expectant mothers, families, and babies," said Hartshorn. "Pregnancy help organizations like Centro Tepeyac exist so that every mother can feel loved and supported during her pregnancy. The only opponents to this mission are those who, like NARAL, stand to gain financially and ideologically by the intentional killing of a child within the womb."
It is fairly obvious that private abortion clinics in the US make money from abortions. However, in Canada, where the majority of abortions are performed in hospitals and are paid for by tax dollars, who is benefitting financially? I have heard it said that the abortion clinics in hospitals are money-makers for the hospitals as they are profitable whereas other procedures are much more costly in terms of equipment, length of patient stay, etc. But the woman who lodged the complaint against the Open Door Centre won't be considering the money aspect of this. She is just angry that an alternative to abortion is being offered in such a public way.
The threat in this case must be a moral one. The very suggestion that a woman could consider carrying her baby to term and either parenting herself or having her baby adopted is seen as judgmental of the woman who chooses abortion. The stirrings of conscience exhibit themselves in various ways, but a person's conscience is difficult to silence. When it shows itself in anger and recrimination, you can be sure someone is feeling either guilty or threatened at the possibility that they could be wrong.