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Readers Respond

Crisis pregnancy centers are not always what they seem

Columnist Marta Mossburg asks: "What could be more sinister than helping young, poor, black and Latina women find the means to care for their children?" ("Free services? Some 'threat,'" July 17).

The answer is so-called "crisis pregnancy centers," which do not help young, poor, black and Latina women or the children they already have.

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Many women seeking abortions already have children — children that Ms. Mossburg conveniently fails to mention, because she is only concerned about the ones who are not yet born.

Crisis pregnancy centers present themselves as "pregnancy resource centers," suggesting they will offer counseling and assistance. Women who do not know better may enter in the hopes of receiving help. But by denying or diverting women from certain services, they are ultimately hurting the children these at-risk women have by wasting their mothers' time and money.

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A Google search reveals dozens of stories of women being harassed after visiting a CPC. This includes a college-age girl who was told that the CPC volunteers would contact her parents if she refused to sign up with an adoption agency on the spot — a threat they followed up on by contacting her roommate and getting her parents' information.

Not all CPCs may treat women in this manner, and those that provide assistance, diapers, food and formula are good. But even one bad seed is too many when it comes to women's reproductive rights.

Real truth in advertising would require CPCs to post a sign that says: "We are not medical professionals, we may harass you if you don't submit to our moral authority, and we will not give you the help you may want."

Rachel Smith, Reisterstown


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