Angelica Vecchiato:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 overturn of Roe v. Wade means that abortions in the United States are no longer (and never were) deemed a constitution right. In protest, the pro “choice” side has gone up in arms — and quite literally at that.  

As early as the Dobbs leak in May — when speculation surrounding the possibility of Roe’s reversal was premised on Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft — crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs) across the U.S. were violently attacked, becoming targets of arson and vandalism, and volunteers and workers were threatened. Between the leak on May 2 and the decision released on June 24, at least 27 centres were vandalized or set ablaze including arson attacks in Peoria (Illinois) and Buffalo (New York).

The violence increased after the Dobbs decision was officially announced. For instance, on June 25, the day after Roe’s overturn, the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg, Virginia, had its windows and doors smashed by a crowbar, and their brick walls vandalized with “Vote blue” and the slogan “If abortion isn’t safe, you ain’t safe,” as well as with images of coat hangers in red paint on the nearby sidewalk. 

Later in the summer saw further vicious reprisals, part of what pro-abortion activists called a “Summer of Rage.”

In the evening of July 9, two CPCs were attacked in Worcester Massachusetts. One, Problem Pregnancy, located across the street from a Planned Parenthood facility was slathered with blue and gold paint. The other, Clearway Clinic, saw shattered glass in three windows and two doors as the ominous pro-abortion slogan, “Jane was here” appeared on the building’s walkway spray painted in large black capital letters to welcome the CPC owners the next morning. 

A radical group by the name of “Jane’s Revenge” is behind the enigmatic “Jane was here” slogan. They are an American militant group which has claimed responsibility for several CPC vandalisms since May 2. The name, Jane’s Revenge, retains a shadowy, not-so-subtle allusion to the Jane collective, which was a covert organization working in Chicago prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, which helped women obtain illegal abortions. 

Inspired by groups like Jane’s Revenge, pro-abortion retaliation has been on the uptick since Roe’s overturn, where close to 165 CPCs have been vandalized since the draft leak. 

Reversing Roe does not recriminalize abortion in the U.S. Rather, the Dobbs decision allows states to limit or regulate abortion as they see fit in the absence of a national abortion law, and thus the pro-abortion response has been greatly exaggerated. 

Nevertheless, CPCs across Canada and the U.S. seem to be bearing the  brunt of pro-abortion pushback. 

Even before there was any talk of overturning Roe, in Canada, political action had been directed against CPCs. Justin Trudeau’s 2021 Liberal election campaign platform promised to repeal charitable tax status from pro-life centres, which provide essential care to pregnant women in desperate, trying situations. 

Much to the chagrin of pro-abortion groups, Canadian CPCs enjoyed registered charity status for their legitimate goodwill initiatives toward pregnant women in crisis. This has lead Trudeau vowing to strip them of their charitable tax status, a move that could lead to fewer donations to pro-life pregnancy care centres. The Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the finance minister instructed her to introduce amendments to the Income Tax Act to remove CPCs ability to provide charitable tax receipts to donors. 

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, tabled a petition from pro-lifers to not punish CPCs by stripping them of their charitable status, stating that “registered charities that provide reproductive health services are required to provide ACCURATE, JUDGEMENT FREE and EVIDENCE-BASED information to women with respect to their rights and options at all stages of their pregnancy” (capitalization in the original). 

American politicians are no different. Elizabeth Warren, a pro-abortion senator from Massachusetts, said CPCs “should not be able to torture a pregnant person like that.” 

In July, Warren introduced the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act, which would allow the Federal Trade Commission to suppress supposedly false claims made by CPCs. If passed, these pro-life centers could be fined $100,000 for violating the “prohibition on (abortion) disinformation.” Warren said this is important because with Roe gone, “it’s more important than ever to crack down on so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ that mislead and deceive patients seeking abortion care.”

A 2020 study by Charlotte Lozier Institute found that in 2019, 2,700 care centres in the United States offered more than 730,000 free pregnancy tests and nearly 490,000 free ultrasounds, served 291,000 clients through parenting or prenatal classes, and offered material assistance such as diapers, baby clothing, and car seats. About 10 per cent offer the abortion pill reversal and nearly a third provide testing for sexually transmitted infections. The Institute also found that a quarter of the nearly 15,000 paid staff are licensed medical professionals, and that even 12 per cent of the nearly 55,000 volunteers are similarly licensed. 

According to completed surveys by two large networks of pregnancy care centres, Care Net and Heartbeat International, more than 99 per cent of clients reported their dealings with CPCs were a positive experience. The two networks account for 2,100 pregnancy care centres in the United States.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, says “pro-abortion Democrats’ extreme rhetoric is fueling an unprecedented wave of attacks on pregnancy centers and pro-life organizations across the country.”

It appears the left-wing politicians are intent on making life difficult for CPCs. The aggressive counter-action against them is premised on the idea that CPCs at home and below the 49th parallel are supposedly “misleading” women, an idea which has gained traction and popularity due to biased research from pro-abortion organizations, such as the Abortion Right Coalition of Canada.  The ARCC’s Joyce Arthur said in a May 2016 report entitled Review of “Crisis Pregnancy Centre” Websites in Canada that CPCs “misinform women” because they have some sort of hidden, Christian agenda. Arthur argued that CPCs need more “transparency” because “they purport to help and advise women on healthcare, yet often provide dangerous medical misinformation while deceptively presenting themselves as unbiased centers that assist clients with all options.” 

Carol Butler, director of a CPC in Haldimand County in southwestern Ontario, said that Roe’s overturn is an opportunity to have more conversations to “get the language right.” Butler said that abortion should not be referred to as “reproductive justice” or “sexual health care.” 

In response to the vandalism in the U.S., Butler commented on a lack of social awareness on the real scope of work of CPCs. “People need to see the value of what CPCs do. In fact, I invited Trudeau to discuss and see what we’re about. I wanted him to meet the staff and volunteers to see what we are really doing, namely, helping women. He never responded. Although we haven’t been under any physical attack like in the states, we have been under attack in a different way.” 

Butler wonders that if the pro-abortion campaign is premised on “choice”, then why not help those women who are looking to choose life, or at least consider it, do so in peace?