A director of a pro-life pregnancy center testified before Congress this week that her clinic spent up to $150,000 to improve safety measures after similar pro-life clinics across the country were vandalized. .
Heidi Matzke, executive director of Alternatives Pregnancy Center in Sacramento, Calif., spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee on a Tuesday audience titled “A Post-Roe America: The Legal Implications of the Dobbs Decision”.
“Pregnancy care centers coast to coast are the target of violent assaults, vandalism and hate attacks online and in the media,” Matzke said. “Just last week a man approached our health center with an armed machete. We were forced to hire 24-hour on-site security. We had to reinforce the doors and bulletproof our walls.
“We had to paint our building with an anti-graffiti coating,” she added. “We added cameras, armed our staff with pepper spray and stopped operating our mobile clinic due to threats of violence.”
Matzke argues that the measures protected the center from at least two attacks.
“We had to spend … precious resources for women up to $150,000 just to protect ourselves,” she said. ” Why ? Because we offer free care to women.
She still believes that the work of her center is “worth the risk”.
Security cameras captured footage of the man who came to the center with a machete on July 8. Matzke said she was not there at the time.
“By the grace of God, our security guard came around the corner and saw him and they exchanged words and then he ran away,” she added. told the Catholic News Agency. “Fortunately no damage was done and at this stage everyone is safe.”
In another incident, Matzke said a woman tried to hijack the center’s mobile clinic. However, she was stopped by security on site.
“Our nurse was in the back serving a patient, and our mobile clinic needs to be on — and the air conditioning on — to operate effectively,” Matzke told CNA. “One woman basically tried to get in the front seat and take off with it.”
According to Matzke, the Alternatives Pregnancy Center provides more than $1 million in free medical and material assistance to women each year. In addition to ultrasounds and community referrals, the center offers prenatal and gynecological care.
“We don’t charge them anything,” she assured lawmakers. “This means that we never benefit financially from a choice made by a woman. We do not profit from women who come to us for help. We offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and prenatal care up to 24 weeks…. We test and treat for sexually transmitted diseases.We offer abortion pill reversal services, post-abortion recovery counseling and parenting classes.
“If finances are an issue, we have diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, baby clothes, baby supplies,” she continued. “If a woman needs a hotel room, we provide that too. We pay for all of that.”
Matzke said all of the organization’s services are provided by licensed healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
“Our OB/GYN doctor was an abortionist,” she said.
Even the local Planned Parenthood refers women to the Matzke Center if a woman intends to keep her baby, the executive director said in her testimony.
Matzke said her organization helps women no matter “who she is, where she’s from or what her background is” because “life is a human right, and we have to protect that life.”
“When a woman comes in so scared about what an unplanned pregnancy will mean for her life, her ambitions, her relationships, we don’t urge her at that time to make decisions,” Matzke told lawmakers. “Whether she chooses parenthood, adoption or abortion, we will continue to be there for her for years as needed.”
Last month, the FBI announced it was investigating recent attacks and vandalism of pro-life pregnancy centers as potential acts of domestic violence or extremism.
Numerous pregnancy centers across the country have been vandalized since a draft notice leaked in May showing the Supreme Court was set to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion a national right. The attacks continued after the court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization reversed deer.
Clearway Clinic, a pro-life pregnancy center in Worcester, Massachusetts, posted on its Blog on July 7 that it had been vandalized in the early hours of the morning.
According to the clinic, the vandals smashed two glass doors, three windows and spray painted “Jane’s Revenge” on the sidewalk in front of the facility.
Jane’s Revenge is an abortion activist group that has claimed responsibility for multiple acts of vandalism against pregnancy centers and pro-life churches. The group took credit for the attack on the Clearway Clinic on July 8 Blog post on the anarchist site Abolition Media.
In a facebook Publish beginning July 6, Birthright St. Paul in Minnesota announced that it had been vandalized with graffiti that read “Abort America” and “Blood on your hands.”
Another facebook Publish showed additional vandalism on the building, including spray-painted statements declaring “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you” and “Jesus loves abortion.”
The Minnesota-based pregnancy center asked for donations to cover the cost of “professional efforts to clean up Birthright St. Paul’s siding, brick, windows, door and signage due to destruction by the vandals”.
In her testimony, Matzke claimed that a “great amount of misinformation has been spread” about what pro-life pregnancy centers do.
“Our clinic is one of 3,000 pregnancy care centers across America,” Matzke pointed out. “Each year, hundreds of thousands of people come to our clinics seeking free medical care, emotional support and practical resources to help them carry their pregnancies to term.”