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Massachusetts launches ‘first-in-the-nation’ effort to target pregnancy resource centers

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CNA Staff, Jun 11, 2024 / 15:15 pm (CNA).

The Massachusetts state government this week announced what it billed as a “first-in-the-nation” effort to discredit — and steer pregnant women away from — pregnancy resource centers in the state. 

The state’s Department of Public Health said in a press release on Monday that it was launching what it described as an “education campaign” to highlight “the dangers and potential harm” of crisis pregnancy centers.

Those organizations offer aid and support to pregnant women, particularly women in desperate situations and who may be considering abortion.

Pro-abortion advocates have regularly criticized such centers for what they claim are misleading tactics that steer women away from having abortions. The Massachusetts government on Monday said those organizations “often mislead [women] about their options if they are pregnant and dissuade them from accessing abortions.”

The government’s campaign will “amplify how anti-abortion centers provide misinformation about abortion services to prevent people from making an informed choice about their care,” the Department of Public Health said. 

‘Extreme abortion agenda’

Pro-life advocates in Massachusetts criticized the state government’s campaign after it was announced this week.

In a statement to CNA, the Pregnancy Care Alliance of Massachusetts — which works to educate the public about pregnancy centers — said the state’s network of pregnancy centers “provides millions of dollars in no-cost support and care for thousands of women annually who face planned and unplanned pregnancies.”

“The women served by pregnancy resource centers overwhelmingly report a positive experience” the statement said. “Yet the [Gov. Maura] Healey administration and other politicians in the state are furthering their extreme abortion agenda by using a taxpayer-funded campaign to discredit our centers.”

The “politically motivated campaign,” the alliance said, “will negatively impact women the most, specifically the many women who want to parent and rely on the free assistance we provide.”

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Citizens for Life — which founded the Pregnancy Care Alliance group — said in a statement shared with CNA that the campaign will spread “multiple inaccurate claims” about pregnancy resource centers.

The organization said that in recent years pregnancy resource centers “have faced mounting pressure from the state, hindering their ability to effectively offer a life-affirming choice to women.”

“There is one reason why: Pregnancy resource centers threaten abortion industry bottom lines,” the group said.

The group’s president, Myrna Flynn, told CNA on Tuesday that “honoring the dignity of the human person is as central to the pro-life movement as it is to Catholic social teaching.” 

“In their commitment to support vulnerable women by offering a myriad of cost-free, life-affirming services, Massachusetts’ pregnancy resource centers elevate and seek to preserve a woman’s dignity above all else,” she said.

Flynn noted that in Massachusetts there have been “no complaints of merit filed against our PRCs [pregnancy resource centers]” and that for decades “tens of thousands of Bay State women received the help they desired inside these critical community treasures.”

“So for Gov. Healey, who describes herself as a Catholic, to direct $1 million of taxpayer money to an effort that is strategically designed to steer women away from PRCs and into abortion clinics instead effectively conveys one message: In this state, politically-generated abortion revenue matters more than women, their dignity, and the very lives of their children,” she said. 

In the state’s announcement, Healey claimed the campaign is “an important way to provide accurate information so residents can make informed decisions about reproductive care that are right for them.”

The campaign, which will “appear on social media platforms, billboards, radio, and transit,” was funded “through a $1 million investment” from the Massachusetts Legislature, the government said.

Flynn, meanwhile, indicated to CNA that pregnancy resource providers will work to counteract the government’s pro-abortion campaign. 

Massachusetts Citizens for Life “intends to inform citizens of our state about the truth of Healey’s aim and, in tandem, the truth about PRCs,” she said.


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