The Corner

Culture

On ‘Legal Quackery’ and Loan Fraud

(Carlos Barria/Reuters)

In New York magazine’s The Cut, writer Hannah Gold takes issue with the fact that pregnancy-resource centers — or, to use her term, “anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers” — received small-business loans from the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Gold defines these centers as “religiously affiliated and faith-based nonprofits” when in fact several major networks of pregnancy-resource centers are for-profit organizations, and many are not religiously affiliated. For instance, one of the largest of such networks in the U.S., the Women’s Care Center, is explicitly not faith-based. She also alleges, without so much as gesturing at a citation, that these centers “coerce women into carrying their pregnancies to term.” The supposed methods of coercion are left unexplored, and nowhere does she note that these centers exist primarily to give women alternatives to abortion by offering counseling, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, financial assistance, and parenting resources, most often free of charge.

“In the medical community,” Gold states authoritatively, “crisis pregnancy centers are widely understood as legal quackery designed to prevent women from considering and undergoing abortions.” She does not articulate what makes these centers guilty of “legal quackery” — a bizarre term that goes undefined — nor does she provide any evidence that “the medical community” agrees with her assessment, apart from quoting one doctor and one professor, each of whom seems to believe that crisis-pregnancy centers are suspicious or unethical because of their religious affiliations.

On the subject of PPP loans, Gold complains that crisis-pregnancy centers in the U.S. received a total of somewhere between $4 million and $10 million, and she contrasts this with the (in her view inappropriate) uproar following the revelation that Planned Parenthood affiliates also obtained small-business loans from the PPP.

Gold conveniently ignores that the CARES Act explicitly excludes from the loan program any affiliate of a non-profit organization with more than 500 employees — a category that Planned Parenthood easily falls under, with about 16,000 employees nationally. Nevertheless, at least 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received loans totaling $80 million, somewhere between eight and 20 times the total amount claimed by pregnancy-resource centers. In short, these affiliates committed loan fraud, and rather than acknowledging that, Gold has assembled a shoddy case against crisis-pregnancy centers in order to justify the money that went to abortion clinics.

It’s no secret that proponents of legal abortion despise pregnancy-resource centers, and their opposition should come as little surprise. For an industry that profits from a woman’s choice to abort, a network of centers encouraging women to consider anything other than abortion — and giving them the resources they need to do so — is a direct financial threat. Considering that most crisis-pregnancy centers offer their services to women free of charge, they stand to gain much less from offering women abortion alternatives than abortion clinics do from convincing women that abortion is their only choice.

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