NARAL attack on CT pregnancy centers unwarranted and wrong

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ABC Women’s Center, a non-profit organization in Middletown offering free support services to women facing unplanned pregnancies, has this response to a report released by NARAL Pro Choice CT entitled, “The Right To Lie.”

The report is part of a nationwide strategy by abortion advocacy groups to harm the reputation of those charitable entities providing critical pregnancy support services in communities across the state.

For over 25 years, ABC Women’s Center has been committed to serving our community with the utmost of care and integrity. In partnership with a host of other agencies, our center plays a key role in providing a web of support to women facing unplanned pregnancies. This report is an unfair and inaccurate assessment of our services coming from an organization seeking to shut pregnancy centers down.

ABC Women’s Center offers practical help and emotional support to those facing an unplanned pregnancy. Our free services include pregnancy tests, material support, parenting and childbirth classes, limited obstetrical ultrasounds, and post-abortion recovery programs. NARAL’s concerns have centered on whether pregnancy centers provide accurate information about abortion risks, whether medical services are offered by professionals, and whether pregnancy center clients are treated with respect and care.

As part of Care Net, a national pregnancy center affiliation organization, ABC Women’s Center complies with an industry set of standards called ‘The Commitment of Care and Competence’ which ensures that every client is treated with respect and compassion.

But don’t just take our word for it, ask our former clients. More than 99 percent of our clients have indicated on exit surveys that they were treated well and would recommend our center to a friend.

Secondly, when it comes to making a major health decision, women want to be well informed. We understand this and stand behind the information we provide about pregnancy options; all of our materials have been reviewed by a medical professional. If any information is found to not be accurate with references from mainstream, peer-reviewed sources, then we will take immediate action to assess the material and make the appropriate changes.

Part of being informed about a pregnancy decision is determining whether your pregnancy is viable and how far along you are. ABC Women’s Center provides limited obstetrical ultrasounds that help women determine just that. Our ultrasound services are provided in accordance with pertinent medical standards, under the supervision and direction of our licensed physician. Our 2015 medical team consists of our head Medical Physician, two RDMS and eight Nurses. A licensed medical professional is on duty when medical services are provided.

ABC Women’s Center is also committed to ensuring that women facing an unplanned pregnancy are accurately aware of our services. All of our advertising clearly communicates the services that we offer, and we are always up front and clear about the services that we don’t offer.

We hope that those who have raised these concerns will take the opportunity to be more informed about the services that pregnancy centers offer, hear from current and former clients who wish to share their stories, and get to know each of our center’s volunteers. We seek to be a welcoming place and to keep an open dialogue – whether you support our services or not.

At the end of the day, everyone can agree that women facing unplanned pregnancies deserve excellent support and care.

Finally, we want to take the opportunity to thank our many volunteers who have joined us in the work of simply helping a neighbor in need. Because of your support, we have provided thousands of women facing an unplanned pregnancy with help, hope, and practical support. The support to women and families has had a ripple effect that has benefited our entire community.

Molly Hurtado is the executive director of the ABC Women’s Center in Middletown.

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