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  • The New Squeeze on Private Pregnancy Care

    With very peccable timing, a handful of local officials are launching legislative assaults on popular pregnancy care centers even as Congress debates health care reforms it claims will promote more choice and competition. The assaults began in Baltimore where the City Council passed a law last week  imposing regulations and penalties on the overwhelmingly privately funded centers that provide pregnancy-related services to some of the city’s neediest women.

    The Council’s ostensible concern was that the centers misrepresent their services by failing to inform new clients what they don’t offer – abortion and contraceptives. What the centers do offer is not in dispute and is widely valued by their clients – confirmation of pregnancy; sexually transmitted infection/disease counseling; relationship counseling; food, clothing and prenatal vitamins; and referral to an array of community resources for family and medical support – all services provided at little or no cost to the clients or to taxpayers.

    Baltimore officials rejected suggestions from some council members that it regulate Planned Parenthood of Maryland and other agencies that offer abortion and contraception, but do not provide material assistance to mothers. Meanwhile, officials in Montgomery County, Maryland are taking up the issue as well.

    Ironically, these challenges follow on the heels of newly published information about the quality and depth of the services pregnancy resource centers provide in the United States. The information was quantified for the first time in a collaborative report released by the Family Research Council in September. The report demonstrates the medical accuracy standards the centers follow and the international scope of their networks. Among other findings, the centers:

    • Assist an average of 5,500 Americans daily with sexuality-and pregnancy-related concerns;
    • Offer parenting classes to new mothers through nearly 70 percent of centers nationwide;
    • Provide medically referenced literature, reviewed by national-level experts, on prenatal/fetal development, risk avoidance/primary prevention of sexually transmitted infection and disease, and the physical and psychological risks of abortion;
    • Provide live, 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-per-week accessibility to centers via Option Line, a national telephone hotline and web site that averages 20,000 contacts per month;
    • Includes an international network of more than 60 centers in Canada, and another 40-plus countries worldwide from Romania, to Vietnam, to Zambia, and beyond;
    • Rely on the engagement of more than 40,000 trained volunteers, including professional counselors and medical personnel, many of whom were honored last year at the White House.

    With a national debate underway over cost containment and patient choice in health care, attacks on the privately supported and publicly popular centers are incomprehensible.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to The New Squeeze on Private Pregnancy Care

    1. Cornu Ammonis, US says:

      Yea, attacking private clinics is pretty stupid. Baltimore needs all the help it can get…

      But you do know it's "impeccable", not "peccable" (liable to sin), right?

    2. Dennis Idaho says:

      Because it is not big dollar business that the govt can tax, they want to shut it down.

    3. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Just a preview of what we all have to look forward too if Obama and the Democrats pass any part of the health care bills now in Congress.

      YOU AN'T SEEN NOTHING YET!

    4. Ben Franklin, IN says:

      My guess is that "peccable" is exactly what was meant here. Impeccable means flawless; so peccable would be flawed. The ironic use of an obscure word. It actually makes perfect sense for local officials to attack a private program that is working well – or, should I say it makes logical sense. I am underwhelmed.

    5. Jerry from Chicago says:

      The mantra of this Congress seems to be:

      " If it's not broke, let's fix it;

      "if it's free, let's find a way to charge for it;

      if it costs money, let's find a way to make it cost more and

      "if it's making money, let's tax it out of existence."

    6. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      These centers don't offer abortion! This is what the liberals want. More abortions, not live births. I saw an article about the bad prenatal care in America in the North County Times. What timing when they want to pass this health reform. I know in our country, if you are poor and pregnant, we get good health care, free. Who are they trying to fool, not us the American people!

    7. Chuck Donovan Chuck Donovan, DC says:

      Lest any mystery remain, "peccable" was intended. It has the secondary meaning of, well, "corrupt."

    8. Maureen from Baltimo says:

      I wrote to the President of the City Council to object to this when it was still in discussion. I received an answer saying she felt it was most important for this bill to pass.

      After it did pass, I received an e-mail saying she had seen crisis pregnancy centers with signs stating they gave all alternatives. I emailed her asking for names of these centers with no reply.

      Somehow, I'm nor surprised.

    9. Tim Az says:

      The problem is that govt. can not force private pregnancy care centers to offer abortions as part of their service. So private pregnancy care must not be allowed to exist. They're just not compatible with Mao-Bama's Death Care Bill.

      More hope and change anyone?

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