See LifeSiteNews' May 22 follow-up story on our interview with Chris Slattery here.
NEW YORK CITY, May 21, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The pro-life activist whose successful chain of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) is at the center of a legal assault by pro-abortion politicians in New York has shared his experience with LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview.
Chris Slattery, who runs nine EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers in New York and New Jersey, says his programs and others like it are the victims of a full-scale attack by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. The mayor vowed prior to his election to “shut down” crisis pregnancy centers – which he calls “sham clinics” because they do not perform abortions – and increase the number of abortion clinics in the city, possibly with taxpayer dollars.
Slattery told LifeSiteNews that the city has targeted CPCs with onerous regulations designed to “scare women away from pregnancy centers.”
Originally, the new rules mandated CPCs post written notices indicating whether a licensed medical doctor works there and whether abortions and contraceptives are available, along with a disclaimer advising potential clients that the City recommends pregnant women visit a licensed health care provider.
In 2011, the law was struck down in its entirety by a judge who called it “particularly offensive to free speech principles.” But earlier this year, an appeals court reinstated the section of the law requiring CPCs to disclose whether they have a licensed medical professional on staff.
In Slattery’s opinion, this requirement is overly vague, because although most CPCs could never afford to hire an “on staff” doctor, many maintain volunteer partnerships with pro-life physicians who come in on an as-needed basis. It is unclear whether such arrangements qualify as having a medical professional on staff according to the law.
Slattery told LifeSiteNews that CPCs are also under attack by the attorney general, who has accused them of practicing medicine without a license because they offer ultrasounds. However, there is no requirement in New York that ultrasounds be performed by a doctor or even by a licensed professional – although EMC Frontline ultrasound technicians do undergo 18 months of training and are supervised by doctors, according to Slattery.
In fact, the vast majority of services offered by CPCs – pregnancy testing, counseling, ultrasounds and charity donations – do not require any kind of medical license.
“We provide a great, free community service, verifying pregnancies and establishing gestational age before a mother makes the final decision on the outcome of her pregnancy,” Slattery explained. “They want to stop this because they know that it’s helped us succeed in [saving] over 43,000 babies, which I have made widely known, [and] the number goes up by over 1,000 every year. So we have really made effective use of ultrasound, and they want to cripple that.”
“They want to steer women to abortion clinics. They want to scare women away from pregnancy centers.”
“There are thousands of [CPCs] across the United States and a growing number overseas,” Slattery said, “but the enemy sees it as the soft underbelly to attack with regulations on the federal level, state level, city, county levels – we’ve seen amazing efforts to try and hurt the competition of the abortion clinics.”
Recently, those efforts transcended the policy arena and spread to cyberspace, where NARAL Pro-Choice America declared victory early this month by claiming to have forced search-engine giant Google to remove numerous ads for CPCs on the grounds that they “mislead” women about abortion.
However, later investigation revealed that the vast majority of those ads were not removed – they were only temporarily suspended pending review, and were quickly reinstated after Google determined the ads were factually accurate and met all of the company’s terms and conditions.
As for Slattery, he told LifeSiteNews he expects his own battle will continue for as long as New York City and state officials remain in bed with big abortion. Still, he has no intention of giving up the fight.
“We are the leading abortion state and city in America,” Slattery said. “We have aborted more babies in New York than any city outside of China and Russia, and it’s … a battleground I’ve staked out as my vocation, my life’s work.”
“Pregnancy centers are the most vital part of the pro-life movement,” said Slattery, “and we must protect them, and we must make sure that they thrive.”