by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Folks have been in a frenzy this week with excitement or concern: Apple’s Siri wasn’t providing abortion locations for those who asked it for help. NARAL Pro-Choice America told Apple it must fix the problem. (Which Apple has said is but a glitch in a beta product.) And Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards writes:

This week, blogs erupted with news that Siri had a “blind spot” when it comes to women’s health. Ask Siri, Apple’s latest app, a voice-activated personal assistant, where to get an abortion or where to find emergency contraception, and it typically replies, “Sorry, I don’t see any places matching [your query].” Or worse, as some media outlets reported, Siri only provided locations for “crisis pregnancy centers,” unlicensed clinics that don’t actually provide health care. Instead, they target women with misinformation and propaganda.

A crisis-pregnancy center is worse than nothing? Than being desperate and alone in your apartment?

I read Richards’s comments right before this news about a child whose young desperate mother performed a self-abortion and dumped the baby in the trash. Via the New York Times:

A superintendent in Washington Heights was tying up a garbage bag on Tuesday evening when he felt an errant piece of plastic. He reached into the bag to put it in the recycling bin, and to his horror, he said, “that’s when I saw the baby.”

It was a fetus about six or seven inches long.

The police said Thursday that they had charged Yaribely Almonte, 20, who had lived in the building, with self-abortion in the first degree, a misdemeanor charge that has been used only a few times in New York State. Although it was unclear how old the fetus was, the charge applies when the abortion occurs after 24 weeks of pregnancy, when it is legal only if a woman’s doctor says her life is in danger.

“When I found the baby, I didn’t know if it was real at first,” said the superintendent, who declined to give his name. “It was so bad.

“After that happened, I just stayed in my apartment for a while because I didn’t feel well.”

He said Ms. Almonte had rented a room in the building, at 191st Street and Wadsworth Avenue, for a short while and had moved out recently. She was not very talkative, he said, and he believed that she had dropped out of school a few years ago.

Does Richards really truly believe that this woman would not have been better off at a crisis-pregnancy center? There are actually worse things than finding yourself with real options — choices you might not otherwise think you had or could handle.

I was so grateful to see this message get in the Times beside that awful news:

Greg Pfundstein, executive director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation, an anti-abortion group, said Thursday. “This appears to be a clear case of desperation.

“I wish she had known there are people who would have helped her through this, including the New York Catholic Archdiocese.”

He added that the archdiocese, through Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, “recently renewed its pledge to help any woman who finds herself pregnant and in need.”

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