NEW YORK, May 17, 2011 ( – A video recently published by NARAL Pro-Choice New York has revealed a national strategy to network with lawmakers to target pregnancy resource centers (PRC) in urban areas. The strategy would employ a gag rule intended to hamstring the centers’ ministry to abortion-vulnerable women.


The video, available on YouTube as of May 10, features council members from New York City and Austin, Texas, slamming pro-life pregnancy resource centers collectively as “an institution with an agenda” that engage in “emotionally bullying” and even “brainwashing” of vulnerable women.

“What they tell us is this is a brainwashing outfit,” Bill Spelman, a member of the Austin, Texas City Council, claimed of women entering PRCs. New York City Council Members Christine Quinn and Jessica Lapin also condemned the activities of PRCs as “not safe” and “unconscionable.”

The video reveals that the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) has launched an initiative, known as the “Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health,” to unite city lawmakers across the country against crisis pregnancy centers and disseminate a template gag rule similar to ones already passed in New York, Austin, and Baltimore, Maryland.

The gag rules would force pregnancy centers to disclose prominently that they do not provide or refer for abortions. Baltimore’s gag rule was struck down by a federal judge in January of this year as an unconstitutional violation of the centers’ free speech. City officials plan to appeal.

NIRH claims that over 800 advocates, including elected officials and public health leaders, in 30 cities have joined the network aimed at hampering the work of PRCs across America.

“Our goal is to create a movement to have each of these bills be not just an isolated victory, but really to address these crisis pregnancy centers one urban area at a time,” said NIRH interim Executive Director Angela Hooton.

Melinda Delahoyde, president of the national PRC network Care Net, said in a statement Tuesday that the video is a helpful tool in exposing strategies of abortion advocacy groups working toward “shutting down the competition.”

“[The video] reveals for the first time that these legislative attacks will be focused on urban areas, the very areas where abortion providers are prevalent, support for abortion alternatives is lacking, and abortion rates are skyrocketing,” said Delahoyde.

In New York City, the latest to adopt the gag rule, four out of every 10 children are aborted, according to a city Department of Health report in January. In many urban communities, abortion providers outnumber pregnancy centers by a ratio of five to one, according to Care Net.

Rev. Dean Nelson, Care Net’s Vice President of Underserved Outreach, said that NARAL’s efforts will be met with opposition from community leaders, especially clergy.

“Talk to pastors in urban areas and see if they support efforts to promote abortion and to crack down on organizations that are supporting pregnant women,” he said.


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