Clark County School District Board Administrator Katie Williams has donated her quarterly $2,000 stipend to an anti-abortion pregnancy center as organizations have come under scrutiny at following the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade last month.
A conservative who has served on the school board since January 2021, Williams said she plans to donate to the Las Vegas Women’s Resource Medical Center after receiving a private tour of the facility in December.
She said she was asked if she wanted to postpone her donation to the pregnancy center following the cancellation of Roe v. Wade, which gives the power to regulate abortion to states and could see abortion bans in about half of the states in the country.
“I said no,” she said. “For me, personally, as a person, I’m pro-life.”
The Women’s Resource Medical Center provides pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and prenatal care, but does not perform abortions or provide abortion referrals. Instead, he advises pregnant women against choosing abortion and encourages them to opt for parenthood or adoption.
“If there’s a reason a woman thinks she needs an abortion because she doesn’t have support, our model of care will support her,” CEO Esther Golleher said.
The center is just one of a network of centers across the country, many of which are affiliated with national Christian organizations like Care Net or Birthright International. Following the Supreme Court ruling, some centers in Virginia and Massachusetts were vandalized.
But abortion providers and abortion rights advocates say the centers use misleading tactics and don’t paint a full picture of all the reproductive health options available to pregnant women.
Dr. Kristina Tocce, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said that while Planned Parenthood strives to have community partnerships with multiple entities, it is difficult to have relationships with pregnancy centers in crisis that keep patients away from comprehensive counseling regarding pregnancy options. .
Tocce said Planned Parenthood has had several patients come to a crisis pregnancy center unaware that they cannot get abortion services, referrals, or even discuss abortion services there. -down.
“I hope that if possible, patients…if they are considering abortion as part of their plan, that they can access a known abortion provider, either remotely or in person to discuss options,” a- she declared.
How many pregnancy centers?
Nevada codified abortion rights into state law more than three decades ago, but anti-abortion pregnancy centers have operated statewide in the years since.
Nevada had seven Crisis Pregnancy Centers, three in Southern Nevada and four in Northern Nevada, according to a map centers compiled by researchers at the University of Georgia. There are currently nine providers that offer abortions in Nevada, seven in southern Nevada and two in northern Nevada, according to Nevada’s Wild West Access Fund.
Golleher said the Women’s Resource Medical Center receives more than 8,000 visits each year. About a quarter of those visits are new patients seeking a pregnancy test, she said.
But in the town of Fallon, an hour east of Reno with less than 10,000 residents, many people aren’t even aware of the existence of the Churchill County Care Net Pregnancy Center despite it opening there. is about 30 years old, according to executive director Monica Miller. .
“For me, I thought, how many people have no idea we’re even here to help them,” she said.
Care Net is one of many religious non-profit organizations that operates a network of pregnancy centers across the country. But because abortion is readily available in Nevada, Miller says not many people contact Care Net to weigh their pregnancy options.
“It becomes more our job to be proactive and not wait for these women to contact us,” she said. “If you are facing an unexpected pregnancy, we want you to know that even if it is your choice, let us advise you.”
But for Tocce, with Planned Parenthood, the experience some patients have had at crisis pregnancy centers is one she called difficult and “quite disturbing.”
She encouraged patients to see their OB-GYN or primary care physician for comprehensive advice. Planned Parenthood will also discuss all comprehensive options with a patient, including continuing the pregnancy and abortion, Tocce said. If patients need additional resources, such as counseling, to help with their decision-making, Planned Parenthood will also connect them to these local resources, as well as global helplines.
“We really individualize those conversations and figure out what the patient needs and what we can support them with that day,” she said.
Williams, a school board member, has donated her quarterly stipends to local organizations like the Down Syndrome Organization of Southern Nevada and the 32nd Street Theater since taking office in 2021 and says she ignores their tendencies policies.
“Whether left or right…I want to help children,” she said. “If I help children, then I do my job.”
Contact Lorraine Longhi at 480-243-4086 or [email protected] Follow her @lolonghi on Twitter.