Fake Clients: Statement by Care Net President Melinda Delahoyde on Recent Attacks on Pregnancy Centers

While pregnancy center grow in number and effectiveness, they are enduring numerous local and state attacks by abortion advocates. It's critical that pregnancy centers are aware that abortion groups are continuing to send undercover fake clients to gather "evidence" to concoct reports which are then used to spur on legislation to regulate and ultimately shut down pregnancy centers.

As a movement, we must continue to encourage pregnancy centers to operate under best practices, particularly as stated in the movement-wide document, The Commitment of Care and Competence. While doing that, we should defend our centers to the best of our ability and help expose the tactics of abortion groups.

In general, the fake clients that enter pregnancy centers do so with the specific objective of claiming they were mistreated in some way. In other words, they are going to accuse the center of mistreatment regardless of how professional and legally compliant the center is. These are not objective measures of pregnancy center professionalism. In Washington State, for example, the fake clients that testified before the Senate Committee were all employed by Planned Parenthood. In every state, the fake clients have either been employees, interns or volunteers of either Planned Parenthood or NARAL.

Many pregnancy centers attacked in recent NARAL reports have proven to us that false accusations were made about them. For example, the Maryland NARAL report indicated that pregnancy centers received Title X funding, when not one center in Maryland had ever received any Title X funding. In Virginia, the witness NARAL presented to defend their report before the state legislature actually admitted that the report was methodologically flawed and unreliable.

Pregnancy centers are wise to anticipate these attacks but not to be fearful of them -- what is meant for harm, can be used for good. The best way to prepare is first to ensure that your center is serving with excellence, from the moment that woman calls or visits your website to the moment she leaves. In particular, it's critical to ensure that all information is updated, current, and accurate. Secondly, we encourage centers to make it a point to introduce their ministry to leaders in their community -- not just church leaders, but city council members, newspaper editorialists, state legislators, and others in places of influence. Often what happens is that abortion advocacy groups are the first to introduce pregnancy centers to such people, who, because they are unfamiliar with your ministry, adopt an innacurate view of who you are.

The good news is that pregnancy centers have nothing to hide and have been serving millions of women over the years with incredible compassion and integrity. Nevertheless, use these attacks as a reminder to be wise to ensure best practices and to build key relationships in the community in order to protect the ministry and its abililty to continue to serve women and uphold life. InspireLifeNow, Melinda's blog post

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