(LifeSiteNews) — A Yahoo Finance editor recently blamed pro-lifers and pregnancy resource centers for a shortage of diapers.
Or at least that’s what the headline led readers to believe the story would be about. “America is facing a diaper crisis, and the anti-abortion movement is making it worse,” Sandra Salathe wrote on October 9. She is pro-abortion, having expressed “how heartbroken and disappointed” she was on June 24 when the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade. She also was on the “brink of crying” because of the reversal of Roe.
But the only connection between a lack of diapers and the pro-life movement is that some states take taxpayer dollars intended for needy families and allow pregnancy resource centers to use that money – to support families in need.
Most of Salathe’s article consisted of reprinting criticism and including quotes from a pro-abortion group called Equity Forward and an old report it released called “Seven Reasons Why Anti-Abortion Centers Are a Problem, Not a Solution.” The report is undated but references an upcoming December 2021 Supreme Court hearing of Dobbs v. Jackson.
Equity Forward’s report relies on opinionated comments such as asserting that pregnancy centers “use coercive tactics when encouraging people to remain pregnant” and a misunderstanding of how nonprofits function.
For example, Equity Forward, in an argument repeated by Salathe, claimed that “the majority of [welfare] funds were used by [pro-life] grant recipients for marketing and overhead costs, not participant support and education.”
The researcher, Ashley Underwood, based this on a program budget she obtained from Ohio for Elizabeth’s New Life Center.
But she assumes that because the center spends a significant amount of money on staff that this is not for “participant support and education.” But the New Life Center offers parenting education, medical care and marriage classes. It would not be unreasonable for a human service focused nonprofit to have trained staff who provide knowledge, but do not spend as much on direct supplies.
Furthermore, she has just one part of the group’s budget – publicly available data shows that program budgets published by Equity Forward represent just one-fourth of New Life Center’s funds.
READ: Author of op-ed supporting Vanderbilt transgender surgeries does not disclose university job
Salathe’s article also shows a lack of understanding of how pregnancy resource centers can differ in the type of services provided. Some may provide basic material support, such as diapers, food or formula. Others may be able to provide ultrasounds, STD testing and pregnancy tests. Some provide counseling, job search assistance and aid applying for social services. Every pregnancy resource center does not provide every item and service.
“In 2019, Heartbeat International, [a pregnancy resource center] giant, claimed to have provided 1.85 million individuals with free baby supplies, including more than 2 million baby clothing outfits, more than 19,000 strollers, and more than 1.2 million packs of diapers,” Salathe wrote, mistakenly attributing to Heartbeat International all pregnancy centers. Heartbeat cited research from the Charlotte Lozier Institute on pregnancy centers.
“According to Equity Forward’s findings, Heartbeat International only provided one stroller for 1% of clients, one car seat for 1.6% of clients, and less than one pack of diapers per person,” Salathe wrote.
It was not just Heartbeat International, though, as Salathe would have seen if she went to the original source cited in the amicus brief. The Lozier Institute “collaborated with Care Net, Heartbeat International, and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) to share the impressive national impact of pro-life pregnancy centers in 2019,” the introduction for the 2020 report states.
First, the Lozier report comes to 1.85 million individuals by including 881,125 students who attended educational presentations on sexual risk avoidance, leaving the number of new clients to about 967,000.
Second, while it is true that if someone divides 1,290,079 diapers by 967,000 new clients it works out to about 1.5 packs of diapers per person, that’s not the best way to calculate care provided.
Not all of the new clients are necessarily pregnant or wanted a free item. The breakdown from Charlotte Lozier does not capture the pregnancy center volunteer or staff member that helps a woman sign up for free health insurance or looks over her resume to help her find a job.
Moira Gaul, a scholar with the Lozier Institute, told LifeSiteNews in a statement that the Yahoo story is “classic media bias.” She has been involved with pregnancy resource centers and has a “master’s in public health (with an emphasis in maternal and child health) from the George Washington University,” according to her bio.
“Nearly 3,000 pro-life pregnancy centers nationwide serve millions of women and men each year and offer a wealth of material assistance and vital services – including care provided by over 10,000 licensed medical workers – typically at no cost to the client,” Gaul said in a statement on Tuesday. “In contrast, Planned Parenthood performs nearly 200 abortions for every adoption referral, receives a whopping $2 million on average per day in taxpayer funding, and carried out a record 383,460 abortions in their last reported year. The real-world data is clear: pregnancy centers offer the tangible support women and families need to choose life. Planned Parenthood is just an abortion business.”
“Politics is behind the fearmongering and attacks on pregnancy centers we’ve seen since Dobbs,” Gaul suggested. “The abortion lobby is spending enormous sums to elect political allies who want to expand abortion on demand until birth and funnel more and more taxpayer dollars to their business. The abortion industry is profit-driven and based in eugenics, whereas pregnancy centers serve people of every race and socioeconomic status.”
“The premise behind Yahoo’s story is as absurd as it is desperate,” Gaul continued. “In 2019 pregnancy centers provided nearly 1.3 million packs of diapers, 689,000 packs of wipes, 30,445 new car seats, over two million baby clothing outfits, and 19,249 strollers to families that need them.”
The success of the pro-life nonprofits at saving lives, “more than 800,000 lives since 2016 ” is behind the attacks, Gaul said. The life-saving work of pregnancy resource centers is “why the abortion industry is driven to tear down their work.”
Abortion supporters should know better
Equity Forward and Salathe, the Yahoo editor, should know that car seats and strollers can be reused. And since abortion activists know that many women getting abortions already have other kids, it seems reasonable to assume that the abortion-minded women coming to pregnancy centers also have kids too. That means they have strollers and car seats.
The Yahoo and Equity Forward hit pieces also boil down the aid provided just to physical items – while ignoring parenting classes, counseling and emotional support provided by pregnancy center staff and volunteers.
LifeSiteNews contacted Salathe via Twitter to ask for clarification on the link between the diaper shortage and pro-lifers and to point out her error about Heartbeat. LifeSiteNews also asked Salathe if her assertion is that pregnancy centers only provide physical items, and not services such as education and counseling.
“I think that’s clarification enough,” Salathe said Tuesday. “These centers are using federal funds to pay for employee salaries and marketing tactics to deter individuals from getting abortions. The funds that were meant to be allocated to provide services to needy families was not used accurately. I would suggest reading my article again and contacting the sources I interviewed if you want to write something accurate.”
Elizabeth’s New Life Center did not respond to a Tuesday email request for comment on the Yahoo article.