Pregnancy Centers Ask California Lawmaker to Apologize for Calling Them ‘Fake’

Officials at California pregnancy centers are speaking out against accusations made by a Democratic state lawmaker who depicted the clinics as “fake health care centers.”

The Santa Clarita Valley Pregnancy Center in Santa Clarita, California, held a press conference on May 24 to call out pro-abortion Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo (D-Chatsworth), who said the state’s pregnancy centers are unlicensed and deceptive.

“Assemblymember Schiavo was wrong,” said Angela Bennett, president and CEO of the pregnancy center. “We are not a fake clinic. Our medical professionals are not fakes. We’re proud to serve our community. We’re proud to be a licensed medical clinic within our community and to meet the pregnancy diagnostic needs of women in our community who are either uninsured, have no place to go, or they just need an answer.”

During a presentation of Assembly Bill 710 before the Assembly Health Committee on April 25, Schiavo told members the centers intentionally mislead and lie to women about their reproductive health care options to “block them from accessing abortion care.”

“These clinics use deceptive practices targeted at vulnerable populations to draw them in by claiming they provide abortion services when they have no equipment or capacity to provide abortions,” she said. “To be clear, they’re not licensed medical clinics.”

The measure stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

According to the California Family Council (CFC), an organization “advancing God’s design for life, family [and] liberty,” there are 162 centers in the state and 87 of them were state-licensed.

“CFC acknowledges that not all pregnancy care centers in California are licensed medical clinics, but Schiavo does not make that distinction in her remarks,” the organization said. “Her claim that pregnancy care centers are ‘fake’ health clinics is a broad brush mischaracterization that is obviously false.”

Schiavo, whose district has two of the pregnancy centers, which are both licensed, called the free clinics extremely dangerous.

According to a fact sheet distributed by Schiavo, her proposed legislation, AB 710, would launch a public information campaign through the California Department of Public Health to communicate facts about pregnancy care and abortion services to ensure women seeking abortion know where to get medically accurate, comprehensive, and unbiased information.

The bill most likely won’t be reconsidered this session, but some constituents are asking her to retract her statements and apologize.

Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council, joined nurses, advocates, and patients for the press conference in Santa Clarita. The nonprofit criticized Schiavo for her statements and demanded an apology on May 1.

“This issue goes beyond just the issue of whether you are pro-life or pro-choice,” Keller said. “This is an issue of care for women. It’s, sadly, an issue of what happens when this care for women gets politicized to the point that life-saving care is called misinformation, or it is called fake care.”

The group also heard from one of the clinic’s patients, Patty, who was holding her young son, Liam. Patty said she found out she was pregnant with her son in January 2022 and the boy’s father decided to leave her because she did not want to get an abortion.

Full of self-doubt and without proper medical insurance, Patty said she went to the Santa Clarita pregnancy center for care.

“Through the center, I was given the guidance and tools to get my insurance set up,” Patty said. “I was able to openly talk about my feelings and concerns about being a single mom. And throughout the whole process, I felt genuinely cared for, and they listened to what I had to say.”

The Santa Clarita clinic has provided free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling, and materials to women in the community for four generations according to Bennett, the center’s president.

Bennett reached out to Schiavo to invite her to tour the center and learn about the services they provide, but a meeting had not yet been scheduled.

“Once you see who we are and how we care for women, I hope you will apologize for the accusations of being a ‘fake clinic’ that were leveraged … against all the centers in our state,” Bennett said.

The California Family Council hopes the group set the record straight about the pregnancy centers on May 24, according to the council’s spokesman Greg Burt.

“I hope this helps correct the false information that’s been given out,” Burt told The Epoch Times. “We’re hoping legislators get the message that if they misrepresent and lie about what pregnancy centers do and who they are, we’re going to speak up for them.”

Schiavo’s office did not return requests for comment by The Epoch Times but responded to the Signal in Santa Clarita Valley in a statement.

“Licensed or not, these crisis pregnancy centers are bringing women in by using misleading language about providing care when really, they only offer ultrasounds to ‘confirm a pregnancy,’ which then leads to misleading conversations about abortions and the woman’s choices, regardless of what’s best for her and her family,” Schiavo told The Signal.

Schiavo’s bill was part of a package of 17 abortion rights and reproductive justice legislation considered by the state Legislature this year. The legislation is one of numerous bills proposed by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and the California Future of Abortion Council.

The abortion council was created in September 2021 by more than 40 organizations representing sexual and reproductive health care providers, and pro-abortion advocacy groups. Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and NARAL Pro-Choice California are among the members of the council’s steering committee.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom pushed to include the right to abortion in the state’s constitution in 2022 and continues to promote a variety of abortion rights legislation in the state in response to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

From The Epoch Times

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