Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Lifesavers Under Attack

Author: A.L.L.


American Life League

Never give in then, my dear brothers, never admit defeat; keep on working at the Lord's work always, knowing that, in the Lord, you cannot be laboring in vain.

                                                                                                  1 Corinthians 15:58.

Anti-Life Philosophy.

Anti-choice people don't care about women, only fetuses. If they were really 'pro-life,' they would focus their attention on those already born the women! They would work to help feed, clothe, and educate these women, and they would promote contraception, which would lead to fewer of the abortions they're trying to prevent in the first place.

The tactic of using fraudulent clinics to entrap and frighten poor women into continuing their pregnancies is truly despicable. These 'centers' do nothing but propagandize pregnant women with scary films, inaccurate facts, and pressure tactics to keep their 'babies.' These 'centers' should either be shut down entirely or strictly regulated by the State.

CPCs: An Honorable Pro-Life Tradition.

Speak, yourself, on behalf of the dumb, on behalf of all the unwanted; speak, yourself, pronounce a just verdict, uphold the rights of the poor, of the needy.

                                                                                                    Proverbs 31:8,9.

The organized American pro-life movement in America has a very long and honorable history. It is more than a century older than the Republic at least 350 years.

The oldest manifestation of the American pro-life movement consisted of chains of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, whose operating methods and range of services were remarkably similar to those that exist today.

Between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century, leading pro-life organizations included the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the Society for the Suppression of Vice, the YMCA and YWCA, the Florence Crittenden Society, and the Salvation Army (the latter three groups are now pro-abortion).

Before 1900, the slogan "Adoption, Not Abortion" was even more popular that it is today. There existed literally hundreds of Crisis Pregnancy Centers and shepherding homes for unwed mothers, some with room for more than 1,000 to live at one time. Their names were legion: Some of the largest chains of sheltering homes and CPCs included the Homes of Mercy, Door of Hope, the Life and Hope Missions, the Rescue Missions, Beulah House, the Jewish Home for Girls, the Home for the Friendless, Bethany Home, the Norwegian Home of Shelter, the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes, the Association for Befriending Children and Young Girls, the New Shelter for Young Women, the Magdalene Benevolence Society, the House of Mercy, the House of the Good Shepherd, and Boynton Refuge Home.[1]

Modern History of CPCs.

In 1967, Bob Pearson organized the first Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) in Hawaii as a response to that state's recently liberalized abortion laws. by 1978, eight CPCs were operating in Hawaii, and since 1979 the Pearson Foundation has acted as a national clearinghouse for CPC information.

Pro-life organizations, including the Pearson Foundation and the Christian Action Council, have opened more than 2,000 Crisis Pregnancy Centers over the last ten years in the United States.

In 1983, about 855,000 women were counseled in the nation's 2,900 crisis pregnancy centers. Of these women, about 40 percent had first visited pro-abortion 'counseling' centers or abortion mills. Of these women, about 650,000 decided to keep their babies a CPC 'success' rate of 76 percent.[2]

This success rate is extremely significant when compared to the abortion rate of women in the general public and those who are 'counseled' by Planned Parenthood, as shown below.


All pregnant United States women                                    29%
Women counseled by CPCs                                             24%
Women 'counseled' by Planned Parenthood                      70%

Persecution of the Lifesavers.


Because Crisis Pregnancy Centers are so effective, and because the anti-life people are truly "pro-abortion," groups like the National Organization for Women (NOW) have launched a nationwide program whose ultimate objective is the destruction of every CPC in this country. The pro-aborts are attempting to create an environment so hostile to CPCs that nobody will even dare try to organize one.

The reason for these attacks can be simply stated: The more than half a million babies saved by the crisis pregnancy centers each year means tens of millions of dollars of lost profit for the abortionists.

Although pro-abortion forces all around the country are trying to shut down CPCs, two cases in particular are significant due to the sheer viciousness of the legal assaults mounted against veteran baby-savers. These cases are described below.

Mother and Unborn Baby Care.

Charles J. Pelletier Jr., a highly decorated veteran of two Vietnam tours, founded the Mother and Unborn Baby Care of North Texas in June of 1984. Pelletier, whose Vietnam wounds left him a paraplegic, was so successful in his quest that he was named the 1987 "Humanitarian of the Year" by the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus.

Over a period of three years, his CPC cared for about 6,000 clients. Of 1,280 clients who initially intended to abort their babies, 1,100, or 85 percent, chose to have their babies. This tremendous success rate enraged the abortionists because it was cutting into their killing business.

So the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attacked Pelletier's CPC. They convinced the State of Texas to serve as plaintiff, thereby sparing themselves legal expenses. The primary allegation made by the State of Texas was that Mother and Unborn Baby Care did not advertise that it did not do abortions, which the pro-aborts said was a violation of the State Commerce Statutes.

During the resulting kangaroo trial, Judge George Crowley effectively crippled the CPC's defense lawyers by prohibiting any of the following from being introduced into evidence;

• any reference to the morality or ethics of abortion;
• any reference to the financial assistance of the CPC to its clients;
• any reference whatever to fetal development, fetal pain, informed consent, 
   effects of abortion on women, or any other aspect of abortion; and
• even any mention of the fact that such evidence had been excluded!

One of the three individual plaintiffs, under the pseudonym "Elizabeth Collins," had charged on the CBS television program "West 57th" that Pelletier's CPC had imprisoned her. She later told pro-lifers that she had lied on the program and had perjured herself on the stand and offered to testify for the defense of the CPC. However, the judge, determined to secure a conviction at any cost, prohibited her from testifying by allowing the State to file an amended complaint.

On October 4, 1986, having been deprived of all of the most critical evidence, 11 of 12 jurors found Pelletier and his CPC guilty of deceptive trade practices. They recommended that the CPC be permanently closed and levied fines and costs of over $130,000.

Judge Crowley had stated that no members of the jury could be "pro-life" or "pro-abortion," but "pro-choice" was allowable! Being a former ACLU lawyer, the judge knew exactly what these words meant, and exactly the effect they would have on jury selection and, ultimately, the outcome of the trial.[3]

The Lourdes Foundation.

The City of San Francisco brought suit against the Lourdes Foundation, a CPC, for false advertising and running a black market baby operation(!). The court made the entire trial just as difficult as it could for the CPC. On several occasions, pro-life expert witnesses flew across the country at great personal expense, only to find that the trial had been rescheduled. Naturally, pro-abortion witnesses from the East Coast received ample notice so they could cancel their flights each time.

The District Attorney's office, while complaining of a 'severe manpower shortage' which crippled its prosecution of violent crimes such as rape and drug dealing, expended thousands of man-hours in vigilantly monitoring the CPC. It made hundreds of fake 'checkup' calls to the center in order to insure that it was complying with the judge's orders to the letter.[4]

Other Attacks.

In their no-holds-barred attempt to shut off any option other than abortion, anti-lifers have initiated attacks against other CPCs all over the country.

In Manhattan, the "stone heart" of America's abortion industry, CPCs are ruthlessly hounded by the media, pressured relentlessly by a District Attorney's office that says it is short-handed, and spied on constantly by pro-abortion decoys.[5]

The Des Plaines (Illinois) Pro-Life Pregnancy Problem Center was sued by the National Organization for Women under the Clayton Act, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and the Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) for the heinous crime of burying the bodies of 2,000 aborted babies found on a loading dock.

And Now the Good News ...

From the period 1985 to 1990, pro-abortionists have succeeded in forcing exactly six Crisis Pregnancy Centers to close, at an estimated cost to themselves and their respective States of about two million dollars.

During the same time period, however, more than 400 more CPCs have come on-line, for a net gain of 394. And these CPCs continue to save more babies with each passing year.

And so, CPCs are saving more babies than ever before, in spite of all the persecution!

Resources for Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

Even if abortion is made illegal all over the country, pro-abortionists will continue to push for baby-killing, and women will still find themselves in crisis pregnancies. Therefore, there will always be a need for CPCs, regardless of the legal situation.

The following national organizations can provide all the information and expertise required to start up a crisis pregnancy center in your town.

Bethany Christian Services
901 Eastern Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
Telephone: (616) 459-6273
This is a group that includes adoption agencies in 22 states and has a toll-free pregnancy helpline at 1-800-BETHANY.

686 North Broad Street
Woodbury, New Jersey 08096
Telephone: (609) 848-1819
Birthright operates 550 pregnancy help centers in the United States and Canada.

Christian Action Council (CAC)
101 West Broad Street, Suite 500
Falls Church, Virginia 22046
Telephone: (703) 237-2100.
The CAC has VHS format television spots for CPCs. These may be viewed ahead of time for free.

The Pearson Institute
3663 Lindell Boulevard, Suite 290
St. Louis, Missouri 63108
Telephone: 1-800-633-2252, extension 701
Runs 150 Crisis Pregnancy Centers and does instruction in natural family planning

Women Affirming Life, Inc.
Federal Reserve Plaza
600 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 2700
Boston, Massachusetts 02210
This is a national organization of Catholic women who help pregnant women through difficult pregnancies.

References: Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

[1] Marvin Olasky. "Victorian Secret: Pro-Life Victories in 19th-Century America." Policy Review, Spring 1992, pages 30 to 37.

[2] Cathy Deeds. "NARAL's "Silent No More" Ignores "Silenced Ones."" National Right to Life News, May 30, 1985, page 7.

[3] Arthur J. Brew. "Crisis Pregnancy Center Case Might Go to Supreme Court." The Wanderer, June 9, 1988, page 1.

[4] Thomas W. Case. "Freedom of Choice, San Francisco Style." Fidelity Magazine, July/August 1988, pages 8-10.

[5] "Defense Gagged in Texas Courtroom; Jury Convicts Pro-Life Center; Urges Fines." ALL News, November 28, 1986, pages 1. Also "ALL News Briefs." ALL News, March 9, 1987, page 8.

Resources and Further Reading: Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

Jay E. Adams. Competent to Counsel
Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Phillipsburg, New Jersey. 1978, 286 pages. The details of and Scriptural basis of Nouthetic and Rogerian counseling. This book is aimed primarily towards the pastor, but its theoretical discussions will be of use to the experienced sidewalk counselor.

Lynda Allison. Lisa Said No
Hazelwood, Missouri: Word Aflame Press. 1989, 188 pages. Reviewed by Ed Hurlbutt on page 53 of the August-September 1989 ALL About Issues. The story of how a young girl chooses life over death after being sexually molested.

Jeanne Anders. Leslie
Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, 1987. 174 pages. Fictional story of a Christian woman who faces a series of tough 'life-issues' questions. Reviewed by Leslie Bond on page 13 of the August 13, 1987 issue of National Right to Life News.

A Dad Named Bill. Daddy, I'm Pregnant
Multnomah Press, 8435 NE Glisan Street, Portland, Oregon 97220. 1987, 133 pages. The story of a family's experience of their daughter's pregnancy and then the death of the child after only seven days. A story of God's grace throughout the twin ordeals and how the family was actually strengthened by them.

Jerry Falwell. If I Should Die Before I Wake
New York: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986. 218 pages. This unusual book narrates alternatively the thoughts of "Jennifer," a young woman contemplating abortion, and Falwell, as he gradually realizes that rhetoric against abortion is not enough. This thinking has led Rev. Falwell to establish several crisis pregnancy centers.

Thomas A. Glessner. Achieving an Abortion-Free American By 2001
Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1990, 281 pages. The director of the Christian Action Council traces the history of the destruction of protection for the unborn in this country and outlines a political and legislative strategy for rebuilding it. The book has good emphasis on attacking and defunding Planned Parenthood. Appendix D is Marvin Olasky's very useful analysis of the abortophile public relations campaign against crisis pregnancy centers.

Father Michael Mannion. Abortion and Healing: A Cry to be Whole
Kansas City, Missouri: Sheed & Ward, 1986. 111 pages. Reviewed by Regis Walling on pages 268 and 269 of the Fall 1986 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning and by Olivia Gans in the January 15, 1987 issue of National Right to Life News, page 18. Father Mannion's book draws on his experience in counseling post-abortive women and other troubled persons. This book could most accurately be characterized as a collection of the author's thoughts on abortion, ministry, and other subjects, with questions at the end of each chapter for the reader's reflection. The intended audience for this book is not aborted women themselves, but rather those who counsel them.

Susan and Marvin Olasky. More Than Kindness: A Compassionate Approach to Crisis Childbearing
Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. 1990, 221 pages. A three-part presentation on how to deal with women experiencing a crisis pregnancy: How to identify the problem and gather knowledge, how to physically approach the problem, and how to support adoption alternatives and the family.

Linda Roggow and Carolyn Owens. Handbook for Pregnant Teenagers
Zonder-Van Press, 1984. 142 pages. Reviewed by Debra Braun in the October 24, 1985 ALL News. Finally, a pro-life book for pregnant teenage girls! This book should be in every CPC and every library. It explains the three real options in such a case adoption, marriage, and single parenthood. It goes into some detail on how to approach family members and how to deal with and analyze their reactions. The last chapter encourages the pregnant girl to trust in God and have courage. The book also includes a resource list and guide to national crisis pregnancy centers. Good for calming down teens and parents and guiding them in thinking about their situation in a rational manner.

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This is a chapter of the  Pro-Life Activist's Encyclopedia Published by American Life League.