Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Fake Clinics and Licence Plates

(Still in catching-up mode.)

Good news from the Excited States on the anti-fake-pregnancy-clinic campaign.

Following Baltimore's lead in forcing fake clinics (aka 'crisis pregnancy centers') to tell the truth, legislators in Virginia and Washington are working on truth bills.

In Virginia, the local chapter of the National Abortion Rights League carried out an undercover study of the state's fake clinics and found:
The National Abortion Rights League found more 35 of the 52 pregnancy counseling centers in the state were giving out inaccurate information on infertility, miscarriage, abortion, mental health, cancer, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. The unlicensed facilities, often run by abortion rights opponents, receive some funding through the state's "Choose Life" license plates.

NARAL says 35 of the clinics do not have medically trained or supervised personnel on staff.

The misinformation passed along to women seeking information included being told that abortions cause cancer and that when a doctor performed an abortion he could accidentally take out a woman's intestines.

We'll be following developments.

In related news, it seems there might be some jiggery-pokery going on with the funding from those 'Choose Life' licence plates.

More than 20 USian states offer these automotive statements of misogyny, with some dough going to the fake clinics. As far as I could find out, no province in Canada offers such things -- not even New Brunswick. Ontario calls them graphic license plates and there are more than 60 available. (The things one finds out when blogging. . . )

Back to the jiggery-pokery.
When a Virginia driver purchases a specialty "Choose Life" anti-abortion license plate, $15 of the $25 processing fee goes to Heartbeat International, a Christian group that distributes the money to pregnancy resource centers located across the state.

Critics say the license plate program doesn't do enough to determine whether a clinic is qualified for the money. One pregnancy center listed by several anti-abortion groups as a certified clinic -- the Mattingly Test Center in Loudoun County -- is a two-story brick house owned by Linda Mattingly, a former director at Care Net, a Leesburg-based pregnancy network. There are no signs in front indicating it is a clinic, the Internal Revenue Service has no record of it as a 503(c) nonprofit, and it is not registered as a corporation with the Virginia secretary of state.

A woman who answered the door of the Ashburn house last week said pregnancy services had been, but no longer were, provided there. She did not give her name before closing the door. The Washington Post tried to reach Mattingly by phone, but messages were not returned.

. . .

As of Tuesday, 1,678 of the license plates had been purchased, and $10,170 has been earmarked for Heartbeat, said Melanie Stokes, a DMV spokeswoman, and Heartbeat officials.

Pro-choice forces in Virginia want in on the action. There's a move to create pro-choice plates. If any Virginians are reading this, here's where to order one. They must pre-sell 350 of them before the state will issue them.

The so-called Culture War is fought on many (weird) battlegrounds.

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