Sunday, October 25, 2009


I just finished reading a very compelling post from Words of Choice about the anti choice movement's mission and what they really want to accomplish. As a former CPC "counselor" the post delivered nothing to me that I did not know already. But I am very happy to see it being exposed, and want to help the process.

After my first post here at CPC Watch, my heart was warmed beyond capacity by the thanks and well wishes left in the comments section. I've received private messages from women sharing their very similar accounts with me. I've connected with a clinic escort that I may very well have encountered while protesting in Louisville. Here we are, together. We're all in this. Together.

I thought my heart was going to leap from my chest the first time I heard the phrase "anti-choice" uttered by a reproductive rights advocate. "Anti choice" is, to me, the perfect label for the broad range of anti-abortion activists, from the clinic protesters to the CPC volunteers to the pastors who use their pulpit to invoke intolerance and misunderstanding of others' lives. You see, anti-abortion activists are not just against abortion; they are against just about everything regarding the woman's body.

Don't believe me? I was one of them. At the CPC I worked at, we gave out "statistics" about the high failure rates of certain kinds of contraceptive devices such as condoms and the diaphragm. We told women that the Pill and other hormonal methods caused "early abortions" that would "kill" a tiny, tiny baby. We also told them these methods were very unsafe and caused a number of undesirable side-effects such as weight gain, nausea, and of course, infertility. Not even giving information on natural family planning (delaying sex until women are no longer fertile) was encouraged. At my very mainstream CPC, as in so many others, it goes like this:
1) Sex is for reproduction.
2) Pregnancy is God's punishment for premarital sex (and pregnancy during marriage is, conversely, God's reward)
3) Abortion, and many contraceptive methods, kill innocent life.

Us CPC workers didn't even abide by the strict standards we imposed on so many women, and our beliefs were rarely as extreme as the beliefs we actually succeeded in guilt-tripping some women into. The idea was, of course, that no one is perfect and we all need to better ourselves in order to submit ourselves to do God's work. It wasn't until I got into the same "trouble" as many of our clients that the veil was lifted from my eyes (though to be fair, my "trouble" as a married, thirty-something mother of two with a decent household income differs slightly from the average CPC client).

But what's behind the anti-choice mission is not merely abortion. As my initial e-conversation with CPC Watch volunteers confirmed, the anti-choicers are opposed to basically any number of lifestyle choices that do not fit a fundamentalist Christian model: they are opposed to contraception, pre-marital sex, sex for the sake of love making and sensuality, sex for the sake of pleasure, single motherhood, gay and lesbian rights, and many others. "The issue, in our eyes, is not about abortion, it's about controlling women's bodies," Lauren wrote to me, so beautifully stating the things I myself had been striving to verbalize since what I've been calling my "reproductive rights identity crisis." And I think the article at Words of Choice verbalizes it further.

It's wonderful to be involved in such an inclusive and diverse movement! Thank you all for welcoming me and helping me find my voice.



Anonymous said...

I am an unashamed proclaimed Christian that loves these women who are making this difficult choice in their life. I talk with them, not in judgement, but in love, no matter their choice.With 18 years of experience, I can say without a doubt, abortion hurts women. The women I've spoken with who decided not to abort, do not return to tell me they regret having their baby, but they have to say they regret their abortion.
Until you speak with the women who've dealt with a cpc, not a 'fake' client or staff or volunteer, will you truly be able to judge, will you?
I do not judge you for your opinion. Nor will I argue with you, you will not change my mind, nor will I change yours.
My call in life is to love those the Lord brings across my path, He is my judge.
Seek truth!!!

Crisis Pregnancy Center Watch said...

Anonymous... do your reading. The author of this post worked in a CPC. She used to "counsel" women. I'm going to let her speak for herself, but for the time being, read her account below:

Also see our website, please, of the accounts of women who have visited CPCs:

Rosa said...

Thank you, Lauren, for opening this up for me. Yes, I used to work in a CPC, and am still very much a woman of Faith. I love Christ and know He remains my guiding light through my life. In fact, it was conversations with Him that first began to change my outlook on reproductive choice and also the way CPCs work to the detriment of women's lives. I had to quit working at the CPC because of the way they treated women. Keep in mind, Anonymous, that you only see a very small percentage of women who have had abortions. At the CPC, I mainly worked with women who were considering abortion and not the ones who had had them. But our CPC did serve women who had them, and I feel as though their experiences have been claimed by the anti-choice movement to make them "poster girls" for the "abortion harms women" debate. In a REAL post-abortion support group I went to (led by real LICENSED therapists), I was amazed at how often the antics of the anti-choicers came up as a negative (or THE negative) experience during "abortion day" that led them to seek counseling. As someone who had protested and "sidewalk counseled" women in front of an abortion clinic, I couldn't help but feel wholly responsible for that. I think that most of the guilt and shame from abortion comes from the outside, like the protesters and CPC staffers who try to frame abortion as an inherent evil.

Anonymous said...

CPC Watch & Rosa, I do not need to read when I've lived the experience of volunteering and working for a cpc for 18 years. As for cpcs working to the detriment of women, why do so many friends and former clients send women to us? Why do local state agencies send women to our cpc?
It is a policy of our center not to show graphic pictures of aborted babies, we show the women THEIR baby, their baby's beating heart.
We do advise them of resources, we provide financial assistance, we provide for their other children, we provide GED classes, parenting classes, yes, Bible studies. For those who choose to abort, we provide post abortion group. All free.
Rosa, you never worked at our center

Anonymous said...

Rosa, because of your work in a CPC, I'd really like your input in some investigating/research on many of my local CPC's. I've sent an e-mail to the website but I have no clue who they go to so I wanted to reach out here. I'd rather not put the details here to avoid anti-choice trolls but if you could e-mail me at that would be great. I did leave another e-mail with my other message to the site but because it gives out personal info I can't write it here.

Thank you. By the way my name is Kate.

Rosa said...

You do need to read what your cohorts are doing in their own CPC, because they are doing it in your mission's name! It kills me, too, that these acts are being carried out in the Lord's name, which is why I'm using this venue to speak out against them. Maybe I did not work in your center, and maybe your center does not give out supplies based on the "abortion vulnerable" scale, but may I ask what sorts of information on abortion you give out? Because at my center, we gave out false statistics based on inaccurate research about how abortion causes breast cancer, abortion causes infertility, abortion causes depression, etc etc. I've taken it upon myself to speak with medical researchers, to read medical journals and learn about methodologically-sound research, and it's not that CPCs don't KNOW about said research, it's that they are CHOOSING to IGNORE that research. Because of an agenda. You don't want women to have abortions, but you also don't want them to use contraception. You don't want them to know the TRUTH about their bodies, or else you would be more hooked in with the medical community that decries your work. And state agencies refer to CPCs because POLITICIANS (not doctors) pass legislation to state-subsidize funding for religious organizations with agendas. That's one of the reasons I like the work of CPC Watch, because they are getting truth out there and helping to educate the public about where their tax dollars are going: if not to fund the CPC directly, then to fund state agencies that refer folks directly to you.

Rosa said...

And to Kate, I'd love to. I will be contacting you later on tonight depending on how much free time my family gives me ;)