WASHINGTON, D.C., February 24, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the Supreme Court considers a Massachusetts law that enacted a 35-foot barrier around abortion clinics, mainstream media sources are describing alleged incidents that depict pro-life sidewalk counselors in emotionally negative lights.
Last week, Cosmopolitan published an article entitled “6 Women on Their Terrifying, Infuriating Encounters With Abortion Clinic Protesters.” The article, which largely consisted of personal stories, opened by asking, “What is it actually like to encounter these protesters outside a clinic?”
None of the six women are either pro-life or have a positive perspective on sidewalk counseling. There is also no substantiation of their stories in pictures, other witnesses, or photographic evidence.
One woman, who says she was on the Depo-Provera shot when she got pregnant seven years ago, claims several men were the only people in front of the clinic. Allegedly, these men threw doll parts at her and her escort – her aunt – as they walked into the clinic.
Brittany, now 28, says that the protestors “convinced me I was making the right decision. ... We’d all just been through the most heinous experience, but there was a feeling of quiet satisfaction among this group of women amidst the horror. I thought, 'If I can make it through that, I can make it through the rest of this day.'”
Ronak, now 30, says she had an abortion at the age of 19. Her testimony opens by blaming the PTSD diagnosis she was given one year after the abortion on her experience going through protestors outside the clinic she entered.
Heather, who had an abortion two years ago at the age of 22, says she went to the clinic alone. Heather, who “just wanted to take a pill and have the whole thing be over as quickly as possible,” says “the guy that got me pregnant said he would be supportive of any choice I made and then never spoke another word to me after I told him I was going to have an abortion.” She criticized the use of graphic images of dead babies held by those outside the clinic.
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In addition to the piece by Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post ran an article citing a clinic escort at the last abortion clinic in Mississippi. "We are reproductive freedom fighters, and will will not allow them to harass our patients, we will not allow them to intimidate our staff and our doctors, and they're going to stay out of our driveway and stay out of our walkway,” said the escort. While most pro-life activists are white, according to the escort, the majority of patients are black, and she has heard “some of the most disgusting, degrading and racist comments to them about killing the dream, killing the next Barack Obama, the next Martin Luther King.”
According to Brett Manero, who has led and co-led seven 40 Days for Life campaigns in Washington, D.C., the stories shared by Huffington Post and Cosmopolitan do not accurately represent who sidewalk counselors are. “Sidewalk counselors are there purely out of love,” Manero told LifeSiteNews. “We are there not only for the babies, but just as importantly, for the mothers and the fathers. We are there simply to show love and to offer better and safer options to abortion.”
Both articles fail to share important facts with readers. Regarding Depo-Provera, WebMD.com says the shot has a 99 percent pregnancy prevention rate. It also has many side effects, from headaches to loss of bone mineral density and depression. While “most of the side effects are not common,” some women “may experience irregular bleeding or spotting,” and “after a year of use, about 50% of women will stop getting their periods. Their periods usually return when they discontinue the shots.”
Increased risk of osteoporosis is also a side effect, though it “is more likely for those who have been taking it for longer than two years, particularly when other risk factors for osteoporosis exist, such as family history and chronic alcohol and/or tobacco use.”
The Huffington Post article did not provide context to why sidewalk counselors are so concerned with abortions among black women. According to a Guttmacher Institute fact-sheet published this month, black American women have 30 percent of abortions, while black Americans make up a mere 13.1 percent of the U.S. population. This is compared to 36 percent of abortions being done by white women, while Census data shows 63 percent of the nation is white.