Saturday, 29 August 2009

Fake Pregnancy Centres Create Fake Orphans

We admit it. Here at DAMMIT JANET! and back at Birth Pangs, we've been a tad obsessed with Crisis Pregnancy Centers/Centres.

We -- OK, who am I trying to kid? it's mostly moi -- blog regularly about the lying and deception and manipulation these Christofascists perpetrate on vulnerable women. (And of course, just to blow our own horn a little, we did have a helluva good time helping persuade the Ottawa Senators to pull financial support from one of the lying-liar outfits.)

But it seems there is a whole other ugly side to these fakers, even though I did blog once about a crisis pregnancy centre in Ireland that was convicted of running an illegal adoption agency.

So, I should not have been surprised to read today that 'Christian Organizations Shame and Coerce Women Into Giving Up Their Children'. It's a longish article by Kathryn Joyce, author of 'Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement'.

Using good old shame and guilt, they pressure single pregnant women into giving up their children to 'good' Christian families. And with their usual disregard for truthiness, they lie to women about the terms of 'open' adoption. Women think they'll be able to see their children only to find out, oopsie, no, you can't honey.

Pregnant women are housed with 'shepherding' families, isolated from friends and family who may offer other advice.

After delivery, women are rushed into surrenders. Taken to states with shorter 'change one's mind' periods. Paperwork is delayed until the 'change one's mind' period is just about up.

And such shenanigans go back a ways:
In 1984 Leslee Unruh, founder of Abstinence Clearinghouse, established a CPC in South Dakota called the Alpha Center. The first center had opened in 1967, but in 1984 Unruh's CPC was still a relatively new idea. In 1987 the state attorney's office investigated complaints that Unruh had offered young women money to carry their pregnancies to term and then relinquish their babies for adoption.

"There were so many allegations about improper adoptions being made and how teenage girls were being pressured to give up their children," then-state attorney Tim Wilka told the Argus Leader, that the governor asked him to take the case. The Alpha Center pleaded no contest to five counts of unlicensed adoption and foster care practices; nineteen other charges were dropped, including four felonies. But where Unruh left off, many CPCs and antiabortion groups have taken up in her place.

(Read more about Leslee Unruh in an article by Amanda Robb, niece of murdered abortion provider Dr Bernard Slepian.)

In a sadly ironic twist, the crap works best on religious, anti-choice women.
Religious women may be particularly susceptible to CPC coercion, argues Mari Gallion, a 39-year-old Alaska mother who founded the support group after a CPC unsuccessfully pressured her to relinquish her child ten years ago. Gallion, who has worked with nearly 3,000 women with unplanned pregnancies, calls CPCs "adoption rings" with a multistep agenda: evangelizing; discovering and exploiting women's insecurities about age, finances or parenting; then hard-selling adoption, portraying parenting as a selfish, immature choice. "The women who are easier to coerce in these situations are those who subscribe to conservative Christian views," says Gallion. "They'll come in and be told that, You've done wrong, but God will forgive you if you do the right thing."

Mirah Riben, vice president of communications for the birth mother group Origins-USA [which calls itself 'The voice of mothers who lost children to adoption'], as well as author of The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry, says that many mothers struggle for decades with the fallout of "a brainwashing process" that persuades them to choose adoption and often deny for years--or until their adoptions become closed--that they were pressured into it. "I see a lot of justification among the young mothers. If their adoption is remaining open, they need to be compliant, good birth mothers and toe the line. They can't afford to be angry or bitter, because if they are, the door will close and they won't see the kid."

. . . .

There were nineteen lawsuits against CPCs between 1983 and 1996, but coercive practices persist. Joe Soll, a psychotherapist and adoption reform activist, says that CPCs "funnel people to adoption agencies who put them in maternity homes," where ambivalent mothers are subjected to moralistic and financial pressure: warned that if they don't give up their babies, they'll have to pay for their spot at the home, and given conflicted legal counsel from agency-retained lawyers. Watchdog group Crisis Pregnancy Center Watch described an Indiana woman misled into delaying an abortion past her state's legal window and subsequently pressured into adoption.

As they say, go read the whole thing, though if you want to check out the other links, you'll have to do it from here since I put them in.

BONUS: The first commenter, Amy Adoptee, has a blog. Go read, especially this one.


Amyadoptee said...

This is the reason why they keep the original birth certificates sealed from adult adoptees. The bad thing is that we knew this all along. The birthmothers are no longer silent about this issue.

fern hill said...

Hi, Amyadoptee. I'm glad you stopped by. This is all news to me. Good on the birth mothers. I read some of their stories at those links. Heart-breaking.

I visited your blog briefly -- I'll be back -- and I added a link to it on this post.

Bina said...

My home town has a working Old Bailey replica courtroom that was the used as a set for parts of a movie about the fake-orphan problem and how it was done in the Bad Old Days. Apparently, the maternity home that coerced pregnant girls into giving up their babies did something else on the side: Any "hard to place" (read: non-WHITE) babies wound up dead and buried on the grounds, in crates that the home's butter was delivered in. And since a lot of these unwed mothers had black, native, or Asian boyfriends (that's why they were unwed--their parents objected!), well...

And yes, it was based on real events.

"Pro-life" is often a cover for racist murder.

fern hill said...

Bina, I saw a film, called 'Butterbox Babies'. That it? It was in Nova Scotia, yes?

Yeah, Bad Old Days is right. That's what the Christofascists want us all to go back to. Ptui. I spit on them.

Bina said...

Yes, that's the film. The story takes place in Nova Scotia, but the Old Bailey courtroon they used to film it was right here in southern Ontario. Apparently there aren't many of them left.

Wish the same could be said of those "crisis pregnancy centres" that make a cottage industry of coercion. Unfortunately, THOSE have sprung up like mushrooms. There's one in my town, too--and I once found one of their "volunteer counsellor" advice sheets in the garbage of a public washroom in the same building, along with a box from a pregnancy test kit. I fished it out and read it, and it sickened me--they actually tell their "counsellors" to separate the vulnerable girl/woman from any "abortion minded" (pro-choice, or just plain supportive) person she's with, and to get her to watch a propaganda movie while "waiting for the test results". Meanwhile, you can get your own pregnancy test from any pharmacy for under $20, and in a couple of minutes after you pee on the stick, you'll know. Offering "free testing" is just a ruse to get them to come in and be guilt-tripped out of making a full, informed choice! And this is all perfectly legal, apparently, because the pregnancy-coercion centre is still operating, and has even movied into a main-street storefront (it was on a side street when I first noticed it there.)

I wish I'd kept that paper, too, because someone ought to inform on them, and I can't see any of their volunteer brainwashers doing it.

vitamine h said...

Cruelty at its highest level. This is extremely heart breaking one. I was aware of it but not sure how it goes. I didn't have words to explain my feelings. Is it stopable??

SustainableFamilies said...

Thank you so much for staying on top of this issue! Coercion into adoption is a human rights issue that should concern all of us her care about women, families, and ultimately, our fellow human beings in general. The CPC's got me away from my mother in 1982. With my adoptive parents coercion in full swing, they didn't need to add a whole of pressure to succeed in getting my daughter from me in 2001.

With much reflection, and pain, I am speaking out and hoping to help change the face of how the "adoption option" is presented to women.

Again, thank you so much. I want to see the general public made aware of these tactics so that women will know to be VERY cautious of prgnancy counselors offering "non-biased" support. (Non-biased my arse)

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