I am extremely skeptical of so-called pregnancy centers like A Door of Hope, a center close to where I live, and one of a number of such facilities nationwide.
Pregnancy centers like these do not have medically trained staff on site.
This. Is. An. Important. Point.
They are a religiously-funded and supported Christian organization with an agenda. I am a Christian and I would no more trust them to perform an ultrasound or a pregnancy test or pregnancy counseling on me than I would my local Starbucks. And while I appreciate that their website says they’ll “refer you to resources” if abortion is something a person is considering, I find that hard to believe (but I’m certainly open to anyone who can prove me wrong.)
In my opinion, it would be better if Door of Hope and other “pregnancy centers” like these used their religious donations and funding to offer free birth control or at the very least free condoms; free community classes on STDs and sex health; and outreach to schools to talk to young girls and boys about the physical and emotional sides of sex (more than just biological sex ed); and, to promote safe sex, encourage healthy choices, and lower the risk of unintended pregnancy and STDs.
Knowledge is power.
If they would just be upfront about their intentions that would be fine. “We are a Christian organization – not medically-trained professionals. We are pro-life and we are here to see you through your pregnancy.” Or something like that.
But of course, their intent is not to provide pregnancy services; it is to coerce women in crisis to not choose abortion and find Jesus through classes like:
“Making an Informed Decision About Religion”
“Who is Jesus?” and
“Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes”
These are real classes, y’all. Not at your local church as you might anticipate, but at the local crisis pregnancy center.
One question: what if the woman in crisis is Jewish? Sikh? Hindi? Or Muslim? Are the services offered contingent upon the woman’s conversion to Christianity? Eesh.
In exchange for attending these “classes,” the pregnant woman receives credits to be used for diapers, baby clothes, car seats, etc. That sounds a bit like bribery to me. Attend our classes, promise not to abort, and we’ll give you free things for your baby. Yikes. Will Door of Hope be there when the baby is 2? 6? 13? What if the baby has severe medical needs? Just how long is the door of hope open? Just curious.
I’m realizing that centers like these really trigger a nerve with me. I am still sorting out everything, but I think it’s safe to say these things trigger me because of the inherent intent to deceive. After all, who benefits from centers like these? Is it the young women? Well, surely some women have benefited from talking to a complete stranger about an unexpected pregnancy. But again, these are not people with any kind of counseling or medical training so really they’re just operating as surrogate confidants.
So who else benefits? The pro-life movement? Well, perhaps. After all, many of these centers are set-up purposefully near Planned Parenthood clinics so from a political standpoint, I suppose it looks good to those on the pro-life side.
But the entity that really benefits the most is the church, and specifically the people that work in these centers. They get to congratulate themselves on how they’re doing the work of Jesus and helping to save lives when in fact they’re doing nothing of the sort. Proselytizing isn’t part of a regular ob-gyn exam, last I checked.
I abhor centers like these that are deceptive and manipulative – especially those that operate under the guise of religion. Perhaps A Door of Hope is an oasis for some women, but to me, it’s nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
(Note: I wrote a shorter version of this post on a private Facebook group, from which I will probably will be asked to leave! Seriously, my community is quite conservative and my voice tends to get lost there sometimes. So I decided to share it here, too.)