Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An unexpected pregnancy is no time to take advantage of people

Let me make this clear:  You may agree or disagree with this blog entry solely on your preconceptions of abortion.  This blog is not about whether or not abortion should be legal (it is in Canada. In Ontario it is a practice that is covered by OHIP) - it is about lying for Jesus.

I've recently noticed an advertisement for The Pregnancy Centre on a local website in Sarnia.  I have discussed this "organization", in person, with a number of people and the discussion almost always seems to be trumped by the word "abortion".  I'm not pro-abortion (I don't think anyone is) and I promised my mom that I'd never have one - a promise that I have kept and will keep.  (My mom was proud to hear that I'd never consider an abortion but she was probably concerned I didn't realize that, as a boy, I couldn't get pregnant anyway.)

The Pregnancy Centre is a front for a religious attack and not only on the woman's right to choose - but (and most importantly) on a woman's right to make an INFORMED choice.  They spend a lot of time advertising many of the services they offer - pregnancy tests, options counseling, support groups and material support.  I applaud organizations for their willingness to fill gaps in services and I find it even more noble when they are able to offer the services at no charge to the client. 

Though the services (or most of them) are offered "free" at The Pregnancy Centre, not all of them are - some come with pretty serious requirements.  However, most of the services they offer are offered for free already.  Pregnancy testing is even covered by OHIP!  Counseling is also available (and from licensed professionals, none-the-less) as well as support groups.  More importantly, the counseling available elsewhere (and government supported) is non-sectarian and is designed to be based on the best available knowledge not an ancient text. 

The "Material Support" that is offered from the Centre is not quite free - yes, you can borrow clothing from them but in order to do so, you have to take part in their activities.  To get "baby bucks" (as they call them) to "buy" stuff from them you have to take their courses.

The problem that we should all have with The Pregnancy Centre is that it is a front for religious instruction and indoctrination.  The agency is not government funded (and it shouldn't be), it is funded by a couple dozen churches, is (or was) operated by the wife of a Baptist minister in Sarnia and the sales pitches that it makes to churches is FAR different from those that it makes to the general public.  The Pregnancy Centre lies for Jesus.

The Pregnancy Centre's "options" counseling never includes a referral or true information on getting an abortion - they spend a substantial amount of time speaking with clients about belief and trust in "god" and discourage abortion with "horror stories" (yes, stories - some of which could be completely made up and others might be exaggerations).  Vulnerable and confused women (often teenagers and young adults) are subjected to images and stories to discourage them from considering their options.

Whether or not you agree with abortion, lying about it is not a reasonable or humane way to "inform" a person - especially a person facing an enormous life-changing decision. 

If you know someone (or are, yourself) in a situation where you need advice and information about the options available to you in situations like these - stay away from The Pregnancy Centre - misinformation, shame and Jesus are a dangerous mix. 

(Options counseling, material support and support groups have a strong Christian/Jesus focused theme. Don't believe me? Let them tell you about it...)


NathanColquhoun said...

I'm hoping for some literature now to backup what you said...

While it's an organization backed by religious types, their still helping mothers, they still offer options and they still support those even if they do not choose to listen to them (ie. get an abortion).

This isn't about "lying for Jesus." This is about exercising their right to help mothers in need and not having to offer all the options. I don't care where you go, anywhere will be biased, whether it be your own parents, pregnancy center or the health clinic.

However, I do think the pregnancy center is missing one central element, but it's not the pregnancy center's fault but the entire churches. If the church really wants to enter into the debate on abortion then they can take any side they want in terms of philosophy, but if they are going to fight against abortion then they better damn well be ready to start adopting children and bringing single moms into their homes. The true Christian response is to serve and take on the burden of the marginalized, not to indoctrinate and convert people.

I'll challenge you though, by the sounds of it you are ready to throw out any organization that has religious affiliation or is slanted to uphold religious values. I just can't see how that makes sense, since we all have a slant/bent on these issues that would affect how we would help.

Anonymous said...

A careful read of the website absolutely shows The Pregnancy Centre is an anti-choice organization. From being 'faithfully' funded by churches to pleas to 'talk to us before you decide' to the link to abortionchangesyou.com (where's the link to catholicsforchoice.ca?)how can it be anything but? I read the sentence "we're not here... to offer simplistic solutions to a complex problem" & "We are here to empower you to make a decision you can be proud of" as abortion is not the answer, you'll regret it so don't do it.

But can it be pro-life without being ultimately about religious instruction and indoctrination? Does pro-life always mean for-god? Doesn't pro-choice also mean the right not to choose abortion? Could an atheist girl go in there and be supported (having rationally chosen not to abort)without being pressured to find Jesus? Are atheists more likely to be pro-choice? Are local doctors referring girls to The Pregnancy Centre without knowing or worse being aware? If these clients of The Pregnancy Centre keep or adopt out their babies are they given information on birth control or abstinence afterward? I'd love to ask these questions of some of those people you talk to.

I agree, an unexpected pregnancy is no time to take advantage of people. I'd be the first one in line to volunteer at a true women's clinic and Sarnia desperately needs one if The Pregnancy Centre is a girl's only option.

RealityinSarnia said...

Great response Anonymous.

Nathan, no religious organization ever does any good and are always doing things for their own interests and the promotion of their version of delusion. You need a reality check.

Religion is dangerous!

NathanColquhoun said...

Sorry Reality in Sarnia, that statement is more bigoted, stereotypical and "religious" that the religious institutions that you are talking about.

You're in Sarnia though, I'd rather finish this conversation in person sometime at a coffee shop, up for it? Just let me know.

Anonymous. You are right, there are things to be weary of, it certainly isn't absent of religious values, however, just because it has religious values doesn't mean they indoctrinate. I can assure you, because I know them and I've worked with pregnancy centers that they do and have worked with women who have had abortions and help them deal with their choice, whether they agree with it or not.

Wondering if you would be able to work with them seeing as you disagree with their way of doing things? Or is tolerance only mandated on those who you are against?

The goal cannot be pro-life or pro-choice, the goal needs to be pro-human and love, supporting women no matter what decision they have made or are going to make, but they don't have to advise or even suggest the choice if they don't believe in it, to suggest other wise is to not adhere to your own suggestion. Do they also have to suggest that women have the choice to get involved in the sex trade to support their family? Because that is an actual choice they have, and their are benefits of doing so.

RealityinSarnia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RealityinSarnia said...

Nathan, the more I read from you, the more I see that you are not intelligent. You obviously can not understand plain English. You make response statements totally unrelated to what was said. Your delusion must be in your reading skills to respond to my comment by saying I am more bigoted and religious than those organizations.

Someone please bitch slap Nathan into reality!

(previous comment deleted due to typo)

NathanColquhoun said...

So no coffee then? Just more insults and judgment? Again, sounds like you've become what you hate. Coffee invitation is open for whenever, shoot me an email if your up for it nathancolquhoun@gmail.com

RealityinSarnia said...

Nathan, I would not meet with you until you become one of us non-believers and you could be trusted with our secret identities.....

If only us non-theists could be as open as you religious nutters without fear of recourse.

You still make me laugh.

sarniaskeptic said...

I apologize for not responding earlier - I didn't notice the discussion going on here.

I will agree that the church should be willing to do more to help young and/or single mothers - I think everyone should. I don't think it should be a requirement simply of people who firmly disagree with abortion. We are all responsible for each other.

The Pregnancy Centre is about lying for Jesus - the arguments that the organization makes against abortion (I won't get into how I came about the information at this point in time - I will make it available eventually, however) is full of lies. Not half-truths (though those as well) but outright lies.

I'm not against religious organizations doing the right thing - I am against ANY organization doing the wrong thing. I would suggest, however, that the organization is wrong and that "wrong" here is motivated by an acceptance of horrible doctrines derived from books written in the middle-ages.

There are religious groups out there who do truly help people with no expectation that someone follow their god-belief and many that don't even mention a god/prophet when they help others - but that is often not the case. The video that you produced for the Pregnancy Centre, alone, is clear - god/church is part of the picture. Sorry - offering real help shouldn't come with such absurd conditions and misinformation.

With that said, I'm hardly pro-abortion. I do not think it should be used as a form of birth control. However, there are instances where abortion IS or may be the right answer and any organization that is strictly against abortion is wrong. (Consider this). How about when a girl becomes pregnant as the result of rape (by a priest even!)? What about when the pregnancy puts the mother at risk?

If Christians, as the link above suggests, want to deal with the problem - how about proper education and assistance for at-risk people? Why not deal with it before it becomes a pregnancy? Abstinence only education doesn't work - especially when you lie to people.

Surely, being against condoms and other forms of birth control only contributes to the problem.

RealityinSarnia said...

You're wrong SarniaSkeptic, Priests don't get girls pregnant, they go after the little boys. Don't you read the news?

Hey, where is my post? It should have been ahead of yours.

NathanColquhoun said...

Skeptic, thanks for the response, I really don't think we disagree on that many things about this issue. I am not arguing for what you may thing someone in my shoes would argue for entirely so partlyu in your response I feel like you are pinning me to arguments that folks in my tribe might make. I would also say that my argument on this issue has grown quite a bit since I made that video as well.

The pregnancy centre is not lying from what I can see. What is their lie? They are promoting what they believe is to be good options. I do not see how this is lies? If you can show me where they lie, I would happily confront the lies. Can you point out exactly what they are lying about at all?

Most girls that go through the pregnancy centre do not come out converted or brainwashed, in fact, i don't know any that have, and trust me, i hate seeing brainwashing as much as you do. They are offered relationships and support. I do not see any "wrong" in relationships and support. I have never seen an expectation that someone follow their god, certainly not from their organizational standpoint? So I have to keep asking, what are these absurd conditions and misinformation that they are offering?

NathanColquhoun said...

(had to post in two parts, it said the comment was too long)
I would suggest that you are confusing misinformation with simply a disagreement in practice. Hell, the government educates our children differently than I would like, and doesn't even offer options for the kind of education that I think is best, but that doesn't mean that I have to buy into their education model and follow their practices if I send my kid to a public school. They are not forcing me to even send my kid there. They are free to attend that school or not, and I am free to disagree with their model of education. The same for the pregnancy centre, you and the girls that use their support system are free to disagree and go elsewhere and to not listen and there is nothing wrong with that. As I stated before, the pregnancy centre still supports and loves on girls who do not follow their advice and support.

I would not consider myself pro or anti abortion. My hope is to create a world where abortion is not necessary, but I wouldn't lie to myself and imagine that this world exists now. There are some horrid examples out there that abortion has helped improved the situation. I just find it unfortunate that is the case not necessarily a moral dilemma for the one having an abortion. So i'm not against brith control, or condoms in africa or abstinence only education....

NathanColquhoun said...

Read this today and thought of this post.