On Oct. 31, members of the Women’s Caucus, its sub-committee VOX and representatives from local Rochester organizations joined forces to inform UR students that Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, have been misleading women with inaccurate medical information on abortions.

The rally capped off the Women’s Caucus and VOX sponsored CPC Week of Action. Group members tabled throughout the week to inform the student body about CPCs.
There was also a petition circulating to stop federal funding of such centers, 11 of which are located in the Rochester area. There were several hundred signatures on the petition.
At this time, Women’s Caucus is continuing to raise awareness by hanging up more flyers educating women about additional pregnancy centers to contact.

Approximately three weeks ago, flyers were hung in Wilson Commons that offered information to women who were pregnant.

These flyers mentioned the names of three CPCs that claimed they would help women weigh all of the options available to them when expecting a child.

According to sophomore Adelaide Kuehn, a liaison between VOX and Women’s Caucus, the centers exaggerated the risks of abortions. The flyers mentioned that having an abortion in general would severely increase psychological trauma experienced by the mother and increase her risk of breast cancer. The CPCs also stressed that abortions can possibly cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which prevents chances of a future pregnancy.

They did not specify that the risks increase by the trimester, but instead spent much of their time providing information to persuade the women from getting an abortion.

Birthright and Compass Care, two of the CPCs that were included in the flyers pinned in Wilson Commons a few weeks ago, evidently were not aware of the fact that Women’s Caucus held a rally to prevent further federal funding of their centers.

Birthright stated that they do not get involved in politics and that they have never directly campaigned in any university setting.

Director of Birthright Joan Rohr says that the center is a support system for women under sensitive and frightening circumstances.

‘People are rushed into making decisions, which is why they don’t have the time to consider all of their options,” she said.

They have a staff comprised of volunteers who are there to listen rather than talk so that they can understand where the woman is coming from and figure out why they may believe that an abortion is the only answer.

Compass Care, another CPC in the Rochester area, offers a 15-step service for women who are looking to learn about their options. According to an exit survey conducted by the CPC, women spoke favorably about the center’s professional services and caring environment.

President of Compass Care Jim Harden said that the nonprofit organization strives to be unbiased.

‘We have a very nonjudgmental environment and work through this difficult time with her,” Harden said. ‘Research shows that women want to go to nonprofit organizations so that the organization doesn’t benefit from their choices either way.”

Women’s Caucus Vice President and senior Julianne Nigro emphasized that the group does not intend to interfere with CPCs. Though the CPC Week of Action was in response to the misleading flyers, the main goal of the week was to educate UR students.

‘We want to make it clear that we do not object to the CPCs or their advertising,” she said. ‘We find fault in the fact that they give out medically inaccurate information and they disguise themselves as pro-choice and attempt to scare women from making their own decisions regarding abortion.”

Nigro and Kuehn, along with Women’s Caucus and VOX, are working for awareness of this issue at hand. Women’s Caucus is continuing its work for the right of women to be informed and receive all of the information needed.

This past Monday, the community organizer from NARAL Pro-Choice N.Y. Lalena Howard joined the weekly Women’s Caucus meeting in the Ruth Merrill Center to discuss ways for students to continue to stay involved in supporting women’s health and women’s choice.

Howard specifically addressed various pieces of legislation and distributed a number of pertinent petitions to those present at the meeting.

Hasan is a member of the class of 2012.

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