Fundraising vs. fact-raising: Why attacks on pregnancy centers always fail

November 1, 2017

Every six months or so, the radical pro-choice movement makes another attempt to defame life-affirming pregnancy centers. Every six months, these efforts fail. Why? Well, it comes down to the difference between fact-raising and fundraising.

The pro-choice fringe narrative is that a bunch of right-wing religious zealots, Bibles in hand, are manipulating and coercing women into having babies they don’t want at crisis pregnancy centers. And there are thousands of them around the country that must be stopped.

This makes good fodder for the latest fundraising letter from groups like Reproaction, Abortion Access Hackathon, and Lady Parts Justice League, except for the fact that none of it is true.

If these abortion-supporting groups were interested in doing some fact-raising, rather than more fundraising, they would have nothing to say. Care Net has exposed their lies about the work of pregnancy centers many times before, as every campaign to defame pregnancy centers relies on the same tired set of false premises and half truths.

The latest campaign, which launched in late October, is called #ExposeFakeClinics. Like every campaign that has come before it, its main premise is that pro-life pregnancy centers pretend to be medical but are not. If this was true, then it would be ridiculously easy for the state to shut these centers down. For example, if I set up my basement as a medical office and started seeing patients—with no licenses, no trained medical professionals, no nothing, just me with my bachelor’s degree in economics hanging from the wall—the authorities would be on my case in a heartbeat. You wouldn’t need a heavily funded, social media-driven campaign to shut me down. You’d just have to make a few phone calls.

Accordingly, pregnancy centers don’t just appear to be medical. They are medical. Per Care Net’s affiliation standards, all of our centers that provide medical services do so in accord with their state laws and operate under the direction of a licensed medical director. So, the very fact that pro-choice radicals are constantly launching “campaigns” to shut down pregnancy centers is an indication in and of itself that these campaigns are fraudulent—and they know it.

Take one of the suggested tactics in the current #ExposeFakeClinics campaign. They instruct participants to go online to post fake negative reviews of pregnancy centers on sites like Yelp. Now, if pregnancy centers truly were these horrible places that pro-choicers claim they are, wouldn’t there already be negative reviews of them on Yelp? Care Net pregnancy centers alone (there are over 1,100) saw over 334,000 new clients last year. Wouldn’t some of those clients have already posted about the terrible service they were receiving? Well, they haven’t. In fact, between 2014 and 2016, over 97 percent of Care Net pregnancy center clients who completed an exit survey said they were satisfied with the care they received. Netflix and the iPhone don’t have client satisfaction ratings that high. Moreover, many pregnancy centers get much or most of their visits from referrals—former clients who tell their friends about the center.

There are two other arguments that these campaigns use. One is that pregnancy centers provide women with misleading information about pregnancy and abortion. The reality is that every fact we use is referenced from a peer-reviewed academic journal, government study, science textbook, or the like. Our 36-page Before You Decide resource, for example, has 335 references, which are publicly available here. And the second argument that anti-pregnancy center campaigns try to make is that centers trick women into thinking they perform abortions. Again, the reality is that Care Net centers tell clients up front, either on the phone or in person, that they do not perform or refer for abortions. Yet, the clients stay, receive service, and then provide positive feedback about it. That does not sound deceptive to me.

These realities expose a troubling undercurrent in campaigns like #ExposeFakeClinics, and ultimately, in pro-choice ideology as a whole. Such campaigns must assume that women are stupid and easily duped. Someone would have to lack common sense to receive bad service, not know that they’ve received bad service, and then tell their friends to go get the same bad service. It would be analogous to walking into a burger restaurant, asking for a burger, being served chicken instead, and then going online to post that it was the best burger you’ve ever had.

Women, of course, are not stupid and easily duped, which is why the number of pregnancy centers is increasing and more clients are visiting them. The communities they serve are not stupid either. They see the benefits of having an organization in their community that provides an array of completely free services to women and men facing pregnancy decisions. Over the last nine years, Care Net pregnancy centers alone have offered over 948,000 free ultrasounds and 2.5 million free pregnancy tests. More than 1 million people have received parenting support and education, and more than 1.5 million people have received material resources. These and other services amounted to over $56 million in free support provided by Care Net centers in 2016 alone.

Pregnancy centers are a threat to the bottom line of the abortion industry.

And this gets us back to where we started; fundraising versus fact-raising. Pregnancy centers are a threat to the bottom line of the abortion industry. The more that women and men utilize life-affirming alternatives to abortion, the fewer abortions there will be. Care Net centers have saved over 600,000 unborn lives in the last nine years. At $500 per abortion, that is $300 million in lost revenue for the abortion business. No wonder they have to fundraise off of our success!

The good news is that most people see through these sham campaigns and see them for what they are; desperate attempts by the pro-choice fringe to rally their base and raise money through scare tactics and moral panic. Fortunately, the general public is uninterested in the latest fundraiser from your local pro-choice group. And the people who know pregnancy centers best, their former clients, are unfazed by false claims that have nothing to do with the reality of the compassionate support they received. Thus, invariably, these campaigns fizzle.

And that’s a fact you can take to the bank.

Vincent DiCaro

Vincent DiCaro is the chief outreach officer of Care Net. Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24