". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Massachusetts Claims Pregnancy Resource Centers Not As ‘Safe’ As ‘Trusted’ Abortion Facilities

June 13, 2024

One of the nation’s most liberal states has launched a first-ever taxpayer-funded campaign to convince pregnant women to avoid pro-life women’s centers, claiming pregnancy resource centers are not as “safe” as “trusted” abortion facilities.

The office of Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey (D) announced a “first-in-the-nation public education campaign highlighting the dangers and potential harm of anti-abortion centers, also called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’” on Monday. The $1 million taxpayer-funded onslaught, overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, tells pregnant women, “Even if you’re not looking for an abortion, these centers are not a safe or trusted place to go for reproductive health care.” The campaign claims, since pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) do not commit abortions, they deny women “comprehensive” health care. It also accuses pro-life women’s centers of employing “untrained staff” and spreading “misinformation about abortion.”

The state’s online “toolkit” features downloadable “fact sheets,” graphics of scowling women next to the slogan “Avoid Anti-Abortion Centers,” sample social media messages, and links to 30- and 15-second online videos. Instead of going to a pro-life center, the Massachusetts state government advises pregnant mothers to seek out a “trusted abortion provider,” with a link to a search engine overseen by Reproductive Equity Now, a former affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America and which was originally known as the Massachusetts Organization to Repeal Abortion Laws (MORAL).

The campaign will likely result in increased legal pressure against pro-life PRCs, as it instructs women how to “file a complaint against an anti-abortion center.”

“Governor Healey’s actions follow a pattern of baseless attacks on pregnancy centers by pro-abortion attorneys general across the country, including New York’s Leticia James and California’s Rob Bonta,” Moira Gaul, associate scholar at Charlotte Lozier Institute, told The Washington Stand. “Acting on behalf of the abortion lobby, they draw taxpayer funds to promote abortion as a woman’s only choice while simultaneously smearing the life-saving work of pregnancy centers.”

The state-sponsored assault on pro-life centers gladdened several Democratic politicians, who spoke at its launch. “These are con artists posing as health care professionals,” insisted the second highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.). “These clinics present a public health risk,” asserted Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.). Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) hoped “pregnant people” would learn about “the dangers of anti-abortion centers that mislead and misinform patients, collect and share their most sensitive health data, and dissuade them from making the medical decisions that are right for them.”

Yet the campaign’s claims are undocumented, unproven, or contradicted by itself. None of the campaign’s materials cited a single example of actual harm caused by a pro-life pregnancy resource center. The state’s website claims PRCs “will often mislead you about how far along your pregnancy is,” without providing proof.

The Healey administration also states that pro-life women’s centers “may delay scheduling your appointments so that you miss the timeframe when you can obtain an abortion.” But abortion is essentially unlimited in Massachusetts. The anti-PRC campaign links to an official state website which clarifies abortion can be carried out even in the third trimester if the abortionist claims it is necessary to “preserve the patient’s physical or mental health.” Thanks to the expansive definition abortionists and judicial activists have given “mental health,” that loophole essentially allows any abortion, for any reason, at any point during pregnancy.

But even the Democratic administration’s negative PR campaign cannot deny the free health care pro-life centers offer desperate and vulnerable women. “Some anti-abortion centers provide free resources like pregnancy tests or ultrasounds,” the campaign admits.

“In 2022, 2,750 U.S. pregnancy centers conducted over 16 million client sessions nearly free of charge, providing goods and services at an estimated value of $367 million. Over eight in 10 pregnancy centers provide medical care for these women and families, adhering to the same state and federal requirements as physicians’ offices with a client satisfaction rate of 97.4% nationally,” Gaul told TWS. “Pregnancy centers support and empower women and their families. They fill a serious and much-needed health care gap by offering an alternative to abortion.”

Abortion activists may see the propaganda campaign as necessary, because women who have actually gone to pro-life centers have a favorable view of them. “The women served by pregnancy resource centers overwhelmingly report a positive experience,” said the Pregnancy Care Alliance of Massachusetts in a statement. The governor’s “extreme … taxpayer-funded campaign to discredit our centers will negatively impact women the most, specifically the many women who want to parent and rely on the free assistance we provide.”

Some questioned why taxpayers should be compelled to pay for a message that violates their most deeply-held religious and moral beliefs. “For Gov. Healey, who describes herself as a Catholic, to direct $1 million of taxpayer money to an effort that is strategically designed to steer women away from PRCs and into abortion clinics instead effectively conveys one message: In this state, politically-generated abortion revenue matters more than women, their dignity, and the very lives of their children,” said Myrna Flynn, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life.

Attacking pro-life centers has become a physical, as well as a political reality, over the last two years. In fact, vandals attacked three Massachusetts PRCs in just over two months during the summer after the leak of the Dobbs decision, according to Family Research Council’s list of attacks on PRCs — two of them on the same day:

  • July 6, 2022: Clearway Clinic has its glass doors and windows smashed in Worcester, Mass.
  • July 6, 2022: Problem Pregnancy center is defaced with paint in Worcester, Mass.
  • August 18, 2022: Bethlehem House Inc. Pregnancy Care Center is defaced with graffiti in Easthampton, Mass.

Refusing to protect pro-life centers has been a hallmark of Healey’s political career, critics say. “During the eight years when Maura Healey was Attorney General of the Commonwealth, from 2015 to 2023, there were, at least, 52 incidents of vandalism directed against Catholic churches, schools, cemeteries and religious iconography in Massachusetts,” reported the Catholic Action League, which is based in Massachusetts. “None of these crimes resulted in a prosecution by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.”

Given Healey’s palpable hostility to the pro-life cause, some faithful Christians have been scandalized at state church leaders’ attempts to curry favor with her, even as she attacks their work. “Ironically, one of the allegedly deceptive and dangerous centers listed by the DPH is Pregnancy Help, which is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Boston, the same archdiocese which arranged, just last month, for Maura Healey to speak at the Vatican and meet with Pope Francis,” stated the Catholic Action League. Healey addressed a Vatican conference titled “From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience” alongside California Governor Gavin Newsom and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, all pro-abortion Democrats. “The archdiocese also feted Healey at the Catholic Schools Foundation Annual Gala in April and at the Catholic Charities Spring Celebration in May, where she praised Cardinal [Sean] O’Malley.”

Healey ran for state attorney general in 2014 on closing PRCs and called Planned Parenthood’s campaign endorsement “a game changer.”

“Every woman in a troubled pregnancy who is frightened away from a pregnancy care center is another potential customer for Planned Parenthood,” said Catholic Action League Executive Director C.J. Doyle in a statement sent to TWS.

“This latest campaign demonstrates the cynical hypocrisy of decades of rhetoric about ‘choice,’” said Doyle. “It is now clear, that for abortion proponents, only one choice is permissible.”

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.