This anti-abortion pregnancy center belittles similar groups for not providing medical care

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A religious anti-abortion pregnancy center tries to stand out from similar groups, even though it uses almost identical language to describe the services it offers to women and the same omissions to hide what it will not provide: abortions and some forms of childbirth control.

The dispute, which emerged amid a nationwide debate over the proliferation of anti-abortion pregnancy centers, is causing a potential split among supporters of anti-abortion pregnancy centers, despite their fundamental similarity in refusing to provide care. comprehensive health benefits for women.

Marisol Health, a network of anti-abortion women’s health clinics created by Catholic Charities of Denver, threatens to take legal action against ProgressNow Colorado, which it says has misled the public about the services Marisol provides. to women who walk through its doors.

A letter of cessation and abstention sent to the group’s complaints a video the organization posted over a year ago regarding the so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPC) is libelous and libelous. The video shows a woman sharing her concerns about a past visit to a CCP and explains how the centers sometimes mislead or lie to women who might want to have an abortion. The video also highlights that many of these pregnancy centers do not employ licensed medical providers in their facilities.

The ProgressNow video shows images from several CPCs, including Marisol Health, but makes no specific statements about any of those centers. Still, Marisol Health has demanded that ProgressNow remove the image from its clinic or remove the video, and threatens to pursue legal action if those demands are not met.

There has recently been increased awareness around CPCs, in part due to a segment of John Oliver’s late night news show Last week tonight which focused on anti-abortion pregnancy centers and their tendency to misinform women. And, in March, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in a case over a California law to regulate the centers.

They now outnumber abortion providers and tend to offer free or low-cost pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and counseling. Many, including Marisol, offer an “abortion pill reversal” process for women who change their mind about wanting to terminate their pregnancy after taking the first dose of the abortion pill, a process that has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is not recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

But the services offered at these anti-abortion pregnancy centers vary. And for Marisol, that seems to be the problem.

Unlike many CPCs, Marisol Health has licensed medical staff, who provide patients with everything from STI tests to prenatal care, through a partnership with Bella Natural Women’s Care, a Christian women’s health clinic. Marisol also offers help finding housing and employment, provides diapers for families and meets other basic needs.

In fact, Marisol doesn’t define himself as a CCP at all, according to Marisol Vice President Jan McIntosh and Bella’s Dede Chism, with whom I spoke after a press conference last Wednesday.

“We are not a pregnancy crisis center,” Chism said. “So that’s probably one of the problems with the whole situation, is that we’re a full-service doctor’s office.”

Yet they do not offer abortions, nor even refer patients to abortion providers. And mena Jan 2017 KNUS radio interview with Dan Caplis, Catholic Charities of Denver CEO Larry Smith made Marisol Health’s anti-abortion stance clear: “If we are to stop abortion, we have to stop the need for abortion,” he said. he said, going on to stress their goal of alleviating women’s concerns about parenthood, such as financial barriers.

True to their conservative Catholic roots, however, Marisol does not offer contraceptives, but instead trains women in the “fertility awareness” method to prevent pregnancy. Other forms of birth control, such as pills or long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), such as IUDs, are much more effective. This fact was demonstrated by a Colorado program that provided LARCs to low-income women, who halve the rates of abortion and teenage pregnancy.

But despite their exclusion from abortion and most birth control services, which are widely regarded as principles of reproductive care, McIntosh described the services they provide as “the full spectrum of health care. for women “. CPCs commonly use such language to describe themselves.

RELATED: Denver mayor’s backing for anti-abortion pregnancy center raises questions about his stance on reproductive rights

For Marisol executives, it is the fact that they actually offer medical care that apparently leads them to believe that they deserve to be placed in a different category than the anti-abortion centers that have recently drawn attention. national attention.

But with their clearly stated mission of preventing abortions and excluding certain services from certain services because of their religious beliefs, it is difficult to see how they can be defined in any other way.

It’s unclear how many of the dozens of Colorado CPCs – and thousands nationwide – have licensed medical personnel in their facilities. But whatever the differences in the services they provide, they are united in their anti-abortion programs.

Despite their efforts to distance themselves from similar pregnancy centers, Chism said they don’t try to put others down.

“To be very honest, I have no idea what the other clinics are doing,” Chism said. “We certainly don’t want to harass anyone. “

This sentiment was echoed by Marisol’s lawyer Mike Norton, who also represented the Conservative Party. Alliance Defending Freedom, which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers a hate group based on his extreme anti-LGBTQ views.

“We know what we’re doing and we speak for ourselves, and we really don’t know for sure what the others in the [ProgressNow] video do, ”Norton said.

Prior to their partnership with Bella, formed about two years ago, Marisol operated without a doctor, but under a different name. Marisol’s clinic in Stapleton, which is across from a family planning clinic, once served as the Lighthouse Women’s Center, and their location in Lafayette was previously the Real Choices Pregnancy Resource Center.

“We felt the need to add comprehensive medical care so that we could stay engaged with women and provide comprehensive services,” McIntosh said of the overhaul.

Norton said it never received a response from ProgressNow regarding its request.

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