New York Times reporter Pam Belluck made Saturday's front page with her slant against the rising pro-life trend of Christian-run pregnancy centers: "Abortion Fight: Helping Hands Gain Influence."
Belluck also defended Planned Parenthood, leaving out recent controversies, including one uncovered by the pro-life group Live Action -- two videos showing Planned Parenthood staffers actively assisting a Live Action actor to procure a sex-selection abortion. (The Times fiercely defended Planned Parenthood last year after the Komen Foundation cut off grants to the organization; Komen reinstated the funds under liberal media pressure.)
With free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, along with diapers, parenting classes and even temporary housing, pregnancy centers are playing an increasingly influential role in the anti-abortion movement. While most attention has focused on scores of new state laws restricting abortion, the centers have been growing in numbers and gaining state financing and support.
Largely run by conservative Christians, the centers say they offer what Roland Warren, head of Care Net, one of the largest pregnancy center organizations, described as “a compassionate approach to this issue.”
As they expand, they are adding on-call or on-site medical personnel and employing sophisticated strategies to attract women, including Internet search optimization and mobile units near Planned Parenthood clinics.
“They’re really the darlings of the pro-life movement,” said Jeanneane Maxon, vice president for external affairs at Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group. “That ground level, one-on-one, reaching-the-woman-where-she’s-at approach.”
Pregnancy centers, while not new, now number about 2,500, compared with about 1,800 abortion providers. Ms. Maxon estimated that the centers see about a million clients annually, with another million attending abstinence and other programs. Abortion rights advocates have long called some of their approaches deceptive or manipulative. Medical and other experts say some dispense scientifically flawed information, exaggerating abortion’s risks.
Some centers use controversial materials stating that abortion may increase the risk of breast cancer. A brochure issued by Care Net’s national organization, for example, says, “A number of reliable studies have concluded that there is an association between abortion and later development of breast cancer.”
Blogger Tom Maguire caught the bias: "The NY Times delivers a takes a blast at pregnancy centers, which offer an alternative to the Times vision of abortions for all. Sadly, they can't (or don't want to) quote a single prominent liberal in favor of this implementation of 'safe, legal and rare.'...The story is totally one-sided in its finding of flaws....I suspect that somewhere a pro-life advocate has criticized abortion providers for presenting slanted information. That suspicion is not addressed by the Times."
Maguire linked to a counter-story ignored by the paper showing that despite what abortion providers might say, late-term abortions are usually elective and not done for medically necessary reason.
Belluck denigrated the pregnancy centers while elevating Planned Parenthood's abortion centers as "medical clinics."
Pregnancy centers are not women’s health clinics. Medical services at Waco’s Care Net are pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, given to 2,500 women in 2011.
That year, Waco’s Planned Parenthood performed 15,575 Pap smears, breast exams and other services, and, in a wing required to be separate, 445 surgical and 414 medication abortions.
Planned Parenthood’s building looks like the medical clinic it is. It distributes information on prenatal care and adoption, among other things, but does not offer emotional counseling. “We’re our patients’ medical provider,” said Katie Wolfe, the health educator, “not their emotional support.”