Heartbeat International Responds to NARAL Report

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Tuesday | March 10, 2015
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Tweet This: "We exist to empower a woman with true choice. That's why @naral attacks us." @PeggyHartshorn

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Responding to a report released Monday by abortion advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America, Heartbeat International President Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., pointed to what she calls the fundamental difference between “true” and “false” reproductive health.

NARAL’s report, “Crisis Pregnancy Centers Lie: The Insidious Threat To Reproductive Freedom,” represents several years of opposition to the 2,500 pregnancy help organizations operating independently in the United States, most of whom are fully funded by local and private donors.

In its 24 pages, NARAL’s report features 107 citations. However, 92 of those (86 percent total) come from its state and local chapters, and eight more are from Planned Parenthood’s research arm, The Guttmacher Institute.

“The sole purpose of every pregnancy help organization is to provide the love and support every woman deserves in an unexpected pregnancy,” Hartshorn said. “We exist to empower a woman to make the healthiest choice for all involved. That is why NARAL attacks us with these false and flimsy allegations.”

Hartshorn, who attended the Diocesan Family and Life Congress in Manilla over the past weekend and trained Heartbeat International joint affiliation partners serving throughout the Philippines, pointed to the good work of pregnancy help organizations, both in the U.S. and all over the world.

She is author of Heartbeat International’s top-selling volunteer training resource, The LOVE Approach—first published in 1994—which teaches a truly woman-centered approach.

“No woman should ever feel so alone, coerced, or hopeless that she ends her child’s life through abortion,” Hartshorn said. “That’s why, in every corner of the globe, Heartbeat International affiliates and others provide all the facts about pregnancy—including the baby’s development and the many serious physical and psychological dangers of abortion.”

“This report is an attack on the truth and true reproductive freedom. Only a fully informed choice can be a true choice.”

Tweet This: "This report is an attack on true reproductive freedom." @PeggyHartshorn

Getting your legal pulse rate going!

by Ellen Foell, Heartbeat International Legal Counsel

If the purpose of Pulse is to help life-affirming people keep their fingers on the pulse of America’s pregnancy help movement, then here are two very interesting and highly contentious battles which mandate a closer look.  On opposite ends of the country, California and New York, local governments have pitted themselves against pregnancy help centers (PHCs), in both the legislative and judicial forums.

In New York, Mayor Bloomberg and the city council’s efforts to unfairly regulate the work of PHCs through superfluous fraud, deception, and consumer protection laws, came to a grinding halt as a federal district court judge ruled that the Council’s law was unconstitutional.  Indeed, the court found that the speech (essentially advertising and information on services provided) of PHCs was not commercial speech, that the speech of centers was particularly prone to biased regulation because of its controversial nature and that New York City council’s attempt to regulate the speech was offensive and unconstitutional.  The court imposed a preliminary injunction on the application of the law pending a trial on the merits.

On the other side of the country, San Francisco - presumably unaware of the rulings in Baltimore, Montgomery County, and New York - proceeded full-speed ahead. They threatened two San Francisco PHCs, First Resort and Alpha Pregnancy Center, with a two pronged legal action.  One prong is the now typical, albeit unsuccessful, proposed law which seeks to regulate the speech of PHCs.

The other prong is the threat by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera that he intends to pursue legal action against the two pregnancy centers whose business names pop up first in a Google search when someone uses San Francisco and abortion as keywords. According to Herrera, that first-in-line pop up constitutes false advertising and violates reproductive rights of women. This attack is so bizarre that even those who are not pro-life see that Mr. Herrera is on a hunt to harass PHCs and they easily recognize the ridiculous nature of the threat.

Zombie, a contributing blogger to PajamasMedia.com, an online blogging portal, wrote: “even from my pro-choice perspective, the city’s attempt to essentially banish any counseling center which doesn’t encourage or perform abortions is simply beyond belief.” This blogger continues, “And in the press conference proudly announcing this, the City Attorney openly admits that it’s politically motivated, that he’s going after the centers because he defines them as ‘right-wing.’ But seriously, have you ever looked at the ads for the other kinds of pregnancy counseling centers, the kinds of places where if you walk in, the only advice they ever give you is abort abort abort?

“Never do they put up big neon signs saying ‘Fetuses aborted here.’ Instead, they have innocuous (some would say ‘deceptive’) names like ‘community health center’ or ‘reproductive services clinic’ and so on.” Zombie concludes, “In fact, if you flip the narrative, and do a Google search for ‘pregnant’ and ‘San Francisco,’ the top result is a hospital that does provide abortions.”

In a comment posted on Zombie’s PajamasMedia.com blog "chambers," a reader, responded to the article with this observation, "The psychology of the legislators driving this effort is skin-crawlingly creepy … How can so much passion, indeed fury, be worked up for ending the life of a fetus in the womb?"

Indeed, skin crawlingly creepy. If this doesn’t make our pulse rate rise, what will?


"Investigating" the pregnancy help movement

Known abortion advocate and self-proclaimed investigative reporter Katie Stack has recently gone undercover to more than 30 pregnancy help organizations (PHO) in attempt to smear the work of the pregnancy help movement.

Honored by organizations such as NARAL and NOW, Stack has consistently spoken out against the work of our movement, and the information we provide.  Unfortunately, she has received publicity on the national level, including an opinion piece in The New York Times that criticizes both PHOs and Heartbeat's Babies Go to Congress event.  This event gives our affiliates the opportunity to share stories with their local congressmen of moms and babies helped by centers in their communities.

There continues to be a concerted effort by the opposition to publish negative reports and use potentially viral videos – especially among young people – to spout falsehoods, misinformation, and spurious allegations attempting to discredit PHOs. Stack has made it her mission to spread the false information NARAL and others so readily tout. 

Heartbeat has created tools to help shield you from these attacks.  We cannot guarantee that Stack and others like her will not enter your center.  We can tell you, however, that if you follow the Commitment of Care and Competence, you are doing your part to protect your center and the women you serve.

Our Commitment of Care and Competence was designed to dispel the abortion activists’ false accusations, and to form the basis for strong client-services approval ratings. This commitment is the standard for affiliation with Heartbeat. 

Heartbeat is here for you. If you’ve been the target of an “investigative report,” video attack, or a direct protest at your property, please let us know. Our first response is always to join you in prayer, remembering that God will work all things together for our good.

“The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 27:1