Greenfield Recorder, May 11, 2023
By SHARON TRACY, ANN FERGUSON, and MARISOL PIERCE BONIFAZ
Crisis Pregnancy Centers” are fake clinics, usually religiously affiliated, that seek to deceive and coerce pregnant individuals into continuing their pregnancy. Last year, former Attorney General Healey released a consumer protection warning against deceptive practices regarding these harmful centers because they often provide misleading and false information. One local anti-abortion center on her list is the Alternatives Pregnancy Center in Greenfield.
To educate the public about their harmful practices, on Saturday, May 13, a coalition of local organizations will join state-wide educational actions against anti-abortion centers coordinated by the Feminist Action Team of the Indivisible MA Coalition. In Greenfield there will be a rally on the Common at 10 a.m. with a march to the Alternatives Pregnancy Center at 466 Main St.
One of this My Turn authors, Ann Ferguson, had an illegal abortion in 1966. She feels strongly that those of reproductive age have the right to more information and safe choices than she had then, and maintains that these misleading fake clinics undermine these rights. We must expose and protest these centers’ deceptive practices, which, with their religious biases, deny their clients the religious freedom to make their own informed decisions about abortions.
There are approximately 30 so-called crisis pregnancy centers in Massachusetts, and they currently outnumber real family planning clinics 3:1. Crisis pregnancy centers have been supported by religious anti-abortion entities, and in some anti-abortion states by government funding, to dissuade pregnant people from getting abortions.
The Greenfield Alternative Pregnancy Center’s website states that they are “committed to offering our services objectively, without judgment, giving information that is factual and complete.” They claim that in order to receive “accurate information about abortion procedures, risks, costs and more,” and that “the trained staff at Alternatives can provide you with this information in a professional, in-person setting.”
But this language masks the fact that there are zero trained doctors or nurses on staff; thus they are not bound by any professional medical oath to provide accurate information on the benefits and risks of abortion. Additionally, as non-medical staff, they are not bound by patient privacy rules. One can easily miss their one sentence statement that they do not refer for or provide abortions.
We urge you to defend reproductive justice and join the nonviolent Greenfield rally and march on Saturday. Co-sponsoring organizations include: Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (www.FCCPR.us); WM Code Pink; Traprock Center for Peace and Justice; Generation Ratify-Amherst; River Valley Democratic Socialists of America RJ Working Group; Indivisible Northampton-Swing Left WM; Indivisible MA Feminist Action Team; and others.
In Massachusetts, we are proud of our strong reproductive rights that allow people 16 and older to receive abortion services if they so choose. However, we still have more to do to fully protect pregnant people’s rights in our state.
Sharon Tracy, of New Salem, and Ann Ferguson, of Leverett, are members of Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, and Marisol Pierce Bonifaz, of Amherst, is a member of Generation-Ratify Amherst.