Letting Crisis Pregnancy Centers Do Their Work

Today Bishop DiMarzio and I released a formal statement concerning Intro 371, the bill before the New York City Council that would require crisis pregnancy centers to, among other things, display signs detailing the services that they do not provide, like abortion.  You can read the statement here.

This controversy over Intro 371 reminds me of a conversation I had not too long ago with a dedicated woman medical professional who works in one of the wonderful crisis pregnancy centers here in New York City.  “Archbishop,” she said to me, “we’re here to help women who want an alternative to abortion. We don’t get massive subsidies from the government like the abortion clinics.  We sure don’t have the well-heeled donors Planned Parenthood has.  Why are some people trying so hard to get rid of us?  Why is the city government harassing us?  All we want is to be left alone to do our work.”

It’s a good question, and one I couldn’t answer.

It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of places to get an abortion in New York City.  It grieves me to think that we can be called the abortion capital of the world, as 41% of all pregnancies in New York end in abortion.  If a woman in this city wants an abortion, it is distressingly easy to get one.

It’s also not as if this kind of bill hasn’t been tried elsewhere and been found wanting.  A similar law was recently declared unconstitutional in Baltimore.  Why then would our City Council spend valuable time and energy promoting this type of harassing bill?  Aren’t there more pressing concerns with our City’s budget, with the education system, with basics like pothole repair?

And if an industry ever needed more oversight and regulation, it’s the abortion industry, as the recent horrors from Pennsylvania demonstrated.  Yet it is the little pregnancy care centers that come under attack.

This asks the delicate question if people who claim to be “pro-choice,” but seek to silence anyone who would help a woman to have her baby, are really interested in “choice” at all.  Witness the recent gag-order imposed on a pro-life billboard last week.    These pregnancy centers will not only help a mother to give birth, but they will also find her assistance if she wants to keep her baby, or help the mother find a good home for her child through adoption.  Sure, they’ll never have the big donors or flashy celebrity support that the abortion centers have, but they are making a real difference in the lives of these women and their babies, pre-born and born.

So, why the major push to get rid of these centers and the dedicated, humble, loving people who work there?  Why can’t they just be left alone to do their work?

I didn’t have the answer for my friend. Because I don’t think there is one.

28 Responses to “Letting Crisis Pregnancy Centers Do Their Work”

  1. Heather Nicole says:

    Archbishop, thank you for taking a courageous stand for women, babies, and the pregnancy care centers in NYC! How blessed we are! I hope we will see you at the Save the Life Centers March tomorrow!

  2. Mary says:

    Archbishop Dolan,

    I have the answer to your question, such as it is. It was in a post and video titled “Invincible as the Titanic” on the blog of a crisis pregnancy center. The intern who wrote it was at last Saturday’s Planned Parenthood rally. In the video, Christine Quinn, head of the City Council, announces why she is rushing to pass 371. (I know you don’t like links so I transcribed her remarks for you.)

    …And make no mistake, the timing of passing the bill this week is on purpose…. They are not being subtle, so there is no reason for us to be subtle either. What has happened in Washington is a clear message being sent. The new Congress under the Republican leadership is interested in rolling back women’s rights. They are interested in taking away our reproductive freedom, they’re interested in closing down our organization and sending us back to the days when reproductive rights did not exist in this country. And we have a clear message for them: that will simply never happen in our country never again. And all of you being here today, sends that message loud and clear. And I’m passing these laws and resolutions on Wednesday to send that message loud and clear. if I know one thing about the religious right to life they believe they can wear us down, that there are more of them than us and they believe we will give up. Well I have a ??? message to tell them. They are wrong. There are more of us than them and they will never wear us down and we will never stop fighting to protect a woman’s right to choose and her access to full reproductive freedom. So God bless all of you and God bless the reproductive rights movement in New York and every state in our great union….


    Many thanks to you and Bishop DiMarzio for standing up for life.

  3. Colleen Barry says:

    Great Blog on Intro Bill 371. I Will be at Rally Wed. and PRAYING

  4. Brian Cook says:

    Crisis pregnancy centers have been accused of shaming women and feeding medically inaccurate information. Of course, the people making those accusations may be mistaken or lying for all I know. Does anyone else here have experiences with those centers?

  5. Thank you for speaking up, Your Excellency. I pray your statement with your brother bishop makes a difference!

  6. Brandy M Miller says:

    The answer is that abortion is big business, and a big business that spends a lot of money funding politicians. Crisis pregnancy centers take away from abortion business, and that means less money for the abortion mills and thus less money for the politicians they fund. Thus, crisis pregnancy centers are viewed as a threat meriting the strongest possible action. It is a small comfort to realize that these attacks are actually a sign that what the crisis pregnancy centers are doing works.

  7. Life says:

    @Brian Cook NARAL and Planned Parenthood are behind this bill, check out LiveAction on all the lying done by PP ie lying about development of the unborn, covering up for child sexual predators and helping child sex traffickers getting around the law to get abortions. Why would they lie about this? Losing business is a good reason for them to lie about CPCs. I haven’t been to the CPCs in NYC but the one I went to didn’t lie to me when I was pregnant with my first child.

  8. lethargic says:

    Thank you, Archbishop.

    “I didn’t have the answer for my friend. Because I don’t think there is one.”

    You were being charitable. The bluntly honest answer is that the devil is driving this. But that wouldn’t be a politic thing to say.

  9. George Heath III says:

    I’m really disgusted when I hear people calling the killing of the unborn a “reproductive right”. Is that euphemism supposed to draw attention away from what abortion really is? Well it doesn’t and it never will. Abortion is the killing of unborn babies, and as Ward Kischer, PHD., Specialty in Human Embryology says, “Every embryologist in the world knows that the life of the new individual human being begins at fertilization. It is not a belief; it is a scientific fact.”

    Do you hear that Christine Quinn and other pro-abortionists? It is not just religious belief, it is SCIENTIFIC FACT.

    If anyone wants to see the video with Ward Kischer, PHD., Specialty in Human Embryology, you can look for him on Youtube. Just go to Youtube and type in ‘When does life begin?’ It’s the video presented by trhorn100

  10. Lynet says:

    Speaking from someone who is more accustomed to hearing the pro-choice angle on these things, I can at least tell you what I have always understood to be the problem with Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

    Crisis Pregnancy Centers are suspected of attempting coercion — of trying to trick women who are in a vulnerable position, and who have not yet made up their mind as to whether they want an abortion, into trusting someone who has an undisclosed agenda. So this bill is trying to make such centers disclose their agenda — and that is all!

    How will having a sign out the front saying that you do not provide abortions stop you from helping women who do not wish to abort? If all you want to do is make it easier for those women who do not choose abortion to either keep their child, or send it out for adoption in the way that is best for them, as they choose, then I don’t see how this bill will get in the way of that.

  11. Maggie says:

    What other business is required to post/advertise what they don’t provide? Bizarre. Your Excellency, my family and I are praying for you and the people of New York.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I concur with Maggie. No other business is required to post/advertise what they do not provide. This bill is unconstitutional and Mayor Bloomberg should veto it.

    Lynet, the pregnancy centers are being unfairly targeted and smeared. They are being “accused of coercion” by the very ones who are experts at coercing young women, even minors, into having abortions without informed consent or parental notification. Why isn’t Christine Quinn advocating legislative bills requiring informed consent and parental notification in the case of minors? Who is deceiving who?

    Pregancy centers are dedicated to providing women with accurate information and abortion alternatives. This is why the laws of New York City must equally protect their basic civil liberties, especially freedom of speech and equal treatment under the law, just like every other business… not more, not less. This is America and this nefarious bill is clearly unconstitutional.

  13. Larry says:

    “Crisis Pregnancy Centers are suspected of…trying to trick women who are in a vulnerable position…into trusting someone who has an undisclosed agenda.” Rather, Lynet, I would say that they are trying to save the lives of babies, who are in an infinitely more “vulnerable position,” as you would say, than their mothers–since those children do not have a say in whether they will be allowed to experience a lifetime in the world or be murdered in the womb after a few weeks of existence, with the blessings of the society that refuses to accept them as new members. Saving these precious lives is the kind of “undisclosed agenda” that I wish far more people had than currently do have. The shortage of this “undisclosed agenda” is posing an ever-more-mortal threat to the future of Western civilization.

  14. The liberal agenda is a very damaging one … achieved in the guise of “freedom”. There are many sad examples beyond this one. Why are our taxes being used to fund Planned Parenthood and Public Radio? Hopefully we remedy this through the ballot box.

  15. Siobhan says:

    Thank you, Your Excellency, for speaking up for those whose voices are so frequently ignored. And thanks to Bishop DiMarzio also. I pray that Bill 371 never comes to pass. May God continue to bless you!

  16. Andrew Piacente says:

    Blah, blah, blah. A vain repetition of words. I have a friend who wanted to run for city council on the prolife line right here in Yonkers. He stood at the ridiculously proper distance from the Churches he visited to hand out flyers. You would not believe the comments he received from “good Catholics.” Those coming into and out of Church for Sunday Mass. Mass goers absolutely brainwashed by the current secular, rationalistic culture said some of the most vile things to him.


    Because too many Catholics do not believe this Church teaching. Do the math. There are between 65 and 70 MILLION Catholics in this nation. This shouldn’t even be an issue with that kind of voting power but it is.

    Our leaders fiddled while Rome was burning in America and in Europe in the latter half of the last century.

    Our leaders willfully hand over our Lord and Saviour in the most Holy Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist to cafeteria Catholic politicians who are most responsible for this slaughter of the innocents even though Popes John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI as well as Cardinals Burke and Arinze with a minority of other bishops teach that this should not be done.

    How can the average woefully undercatechized American Catholic take any of this vain repetition of words seriously?

    The aforementioned is the painfully obvious answer to the queston in this articles as to:

    “Why are some people trying so hard to get rid of us? Why is the city government harassing us? All we want is to be left alone to do our work.” It’s a good question, and one I couldn’t answer.”

    Until we teach our Catholic brothers and sisters the true faith this will inevitably continue.

    We must walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

    AndyP/Doria2 HOSEA 4:6

  17. S.Quinn says:

    Lynet, Lynet, you couldn’t be more wrong! It is a fact, not an opinion, that the coercion goes on at abortion mills, where even there own data show that it is most often parents, pimp, and boyfriends who force these young women into believing that their only “choice” is to kill their child. You are being amazingly disingenuous in saying that JUST about stopping pregnancy centers from “disclosing their agenda.” The harrassment of pregnancy centers has been non-stop, and this is just one further step.

    What is saddest of all (and I may be the last poster for this column, so you will never see this) is that you yourself have bought the “choice” rhetoric.

  18. Richard says:

    Perhaps if every pastor was requested at the end of February to ask every single parishioner to show up on the steps of City Hall on a specific Sunday afternoon ( 2 million?), the vote might have been different.

  19. Andrew Piacente says:

    I know what I’m talking about Your Excellency. It’s getting worse by the day. This is the latest. The link is at the bottom:

    Scourged by His Own:

    ‘Catholics’ Back Maryland’s War on Christian Marriage

    R. Cort Kirkwood POSTED: 3/07/11
    (www.RemnantNewspaper.com) It appears as if Maryland, a state founded by Catholics, named for the Catholic queen consort of Britain’s King Charles I, site of the first Catholic Mass in the British colonies, and one in which nearly 30 percent of the residents are Catholics, is about to legalize homosexual “marriage.” The term is an oxymoron, of course, but leftists never let logic and objective truth impede their ideological cant. And like the abortion issue, it appears as if Catholic politicians will decide the issue, from the governor to the leaders of Maryland’s General Assembly.

    The bill recently cleared the Judiciary Committee of the House of Delegates, and before that, passed the Maryland Senate, 25-21. In the run-up to that contentious vote, The Washington Post provided the correct headline over a story describing the debate and the role Catholic politicians played in validating sodomite “marriage:” “Md.’s top leaders cross Catholic hierarchy on gay marriage.”

    According to the pro-homo Post, “Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley regularly attends a weekday Mass and has sent his four children to Catholic schools.”

    House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) used to teach and coach at his old Catholic high school in Annapolis.

    Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) grew up serving as an altar boy in the idyllic wood-frame Catholic church his family helped build in Clinton.

    But the presence of three Catholics at the helm in Annapolis hasn’t stopped a same-sex marriage bill from wending its way through the legislature, triggering deep disappointment among church leaders as it suggests a waning of Catholic influence in this heavily Catholic state.

    Yes, it does suggest that, and the article reveals, by quoting these men, how poorly catechized the modern Catholic leader is.

    Here is O’Malley:

    The vocation I’ve chosen for these last several years has been a vocation that requires one to be of service to others in an arena of compromise. It is a different vocation than the vocation that a bishop or a cardinal chooses to fulfill, and rightfully so.

    O’Malley, the Post reports, trots out a list of liberal causes he thinks Catholic teaching enjoins him to support, and “has come to view gay nuptials as a matter of ‘equal protection under the law.’ It is one of several issues in which he is not ‘in sync’ with the Catholic hierarchy.”

    “Their job is to guard the tenets of the faith, and, you know, it’s understandable that the church, for that reason, that they’re slow to change,” he said.

    So because O’Malley is not a bishop, he has the right and indeed the obligation to set aside objective moral truth when he makes public policy. Any minimally educated Catholic knows that all human beings, regardless of “vocation,” have a positive duty to affirm objective moral truth, and that the government has a duty to ensure that laws reflect that truth. They also know that evil has no rights. But Catholic politicians agree with O’Malley, who modestly bills himself as “a fearless, intelligent public servant.” He does not claim to be minimally educated Catholic.

    Sen. Robert J. Garagiola told the Post that homosexuals will get the “same rights” as he and his wife. “It’s an historic day for equal justice under the law,” he said. He’s right about that. What to homosexuals do in a bathhouse, the law says, is no different than what a married man and woman do when they create life.

    Apostate Catholic Busch told the Post that the nuns who schooled him imparted “a value system of honesty, integrity, hard work and discipline.”

    Busch said he considers himself Catholic, adding that “one day I hope they’re going to bury me a Catholic.” He would not say how often he attends church, offering only that “I’m not a guy who makes every Sunday.”

    Busch said he largely agrees with the church on issues such as supporting the poor and expanding access to health care. He has parted ways on others, including abortion and embryonic stem-cell research funding, which Maryland lawmakers approved in 2006.

    “I don’t think I’m unlike a lot of other members of the Catholic religion,” Busch said.

    No doubt about that. Indeed, he is not unlike a lot of teachers in Catholic schools, as Busch once was, the Post informs readers. Naturally, Busch peddled the non-sequitur that opposing homosexual “marriage” is tantamount to “hatred.” “In wrestling with the same-sex marriage issue,” the Post reported, “he said he has asked himself how he would respond if one of his daughters told him she was a lesbian. ‘Do you love them any less? You love them the same. You want the best for them.’”

    Yes, but truly loving them, this man educated by nuns should know, also means instructing them properly and not encouraging them to sin. Clearly, Busch must not have learned the nine ways of being an accessory to another’s sin: by counsel, by command, by consent, by provocation, by praise or flattery, by concealment, by partaking, by silence and by defense of the ill done. A bill such as this subsumes them all.

    Then the Post informs us about Miller, who is against homosexual marriage and says his mother pushed him to vote for abortion. “Miller said his mother told him that ‘it was a women’s issue and that I needed to support the women.’”

    Miller also admits he’s “not a very good Catholic despite regular attendance at churches in his district.” Well, listening to what Miller believes, at least one can say he is honest. “I think we should have women for priests,” he told the Post. “I think there should be contraception to stop the spread of AIDs in Africa. I support capital punishment, and I’m pro-choice in the early stages of pregnancy.”

    One wonders why, then, he opposes sodomite marriage, and Miller happily explains: “It’s not really a Catholic thing,” he told the Post. “I have a hard time associating family values with people of the same sex being married. What is the next definition of marriage going to be? At some point, you have to draw the line.”

    Another Catholic clown represents Catholics from my hometown and attends Mass, apparently, at a church I attend occasionally when I travel home: Immaculate Conception. Sen. James Brochin said it was the “hate” that caused him to vote for sodomite marriage. Brochin called the bill’s opponents “appalling,”, and claimed that during a seven-hour hearing on the bill, “Witness after witness demonized homosexuals, vilified the gay community and described gays and lesbians as pedophiles.” So Brochin now supports homosexual “marriage.”

    For me, the transition to supporting marriage has not been an easy one, but the uncertainty, fear and second-class status that gays and lesbians have to put up with is far worse and clearly must come to an end.

    Actually, it’s apostates Catholics such as like Brochin calling themselves Catholic that “must come to an end,” but in any event, even more interesting than who supported this bill — Catholics who should know better — are those who opposed it.

    For the record, not all Catholics in the Maryland legislature supported the bill. Del. Michael Hough of Frederick voted against it.

    Opposition also came from some liberal black Protestants. Said Sen. C. Anthony Muse, the pastor of Ark of Safety Christian Church, “Here’s my question: Where does it stop?” Muse rightly observed that if homosexuals can “marry,” then legalized polygamy will not be far behind.

    Another black senator who voted against the bill is Joanne C. Benson. She told the Post “she grew up watching her father officiate over weddings and came to believe that such unions should be reserved for people who can have children. ‘Two people of the same sex cannot produce children,’ she said.” Clearly, Mrs. Benson, hardly a right-winger, needs some sensitivity and tolerance training from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Del. Tiffany Alston voted against the bill in the House of Delegates’ Judiciary Committee.

    As goes the country on religion, so goes Maryland. Despite liberal views on some matters, Protestants, particularly black Protestants, are in some cases more reliable supporters of Catholic doctrine than Catholics.

    While the Church in Maryland lobbied arduously against the bill, and announced its extreme disappointment when it passed the Senate, no one in the Church is discussing whether any of these Catholics can present themselves for Holy Communion at Mass.

    Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, has repeatedly affirmed that such politicians must be denied Holy Communion, which means bishops and priests who refuse to do are in very hot water. Spiritually speaking, indeed, they’re in boiling oil. In his remarks to the World Prayer Congress For Life in Rome in last year, Burke explained Church teaching:

    We find self-professed Catholics, for example, who sustain and support the right of a woman to procure the death of the infant in her womb, or the right of two persons of the same sex to the recognition which the State gives to a man and a woman who have entered into marriage. It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself publicly in this manner. …

    To ignore the fact that Catholics in public life, for example, who persistently violate the moral law regarding the inviolability of innocent human life or the integrity of the marital union, lead many into confusion or even error regarding the most fundamental teachings of the moral law, in fact, contributes to the confusion and error, redounding to the gravest harm to our brothers and sisters, and, therefore, to the whole nation. The perennial discipline of the Church, for that reason among other reasons, has prohibited the giving of Holy Communion and the granting of a Church funeral to those who persist, after admonition, in the grave violation of the moral law.

    Burke is unafraid to defend the Faith. “I would have to admonish him not to present himself for Communion,” he said of presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry in 2004. In 2009, he flung down the gauntlet in front of pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius, former governor of Kansas and Secretary of Health and Human Services: “No Catholic who publicly and obstinately remains in serious sin can receive Holy Communion. … Whether Governor Sebelius is in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, or in any other diocese, she should not present herself for Holy Communion because, after pastoral admonition, she obstinately persists in serious sin.”

    The question, again, is what this means for the priests and bishops who are not, as O’Malley would put it, “in sync” with Burke. Is O’Malley receiving when he goes to Mass? What about the others? And if the priests are serving these politicians Holy Communion, why hasn’t Archbishop Edwin O’Brien stopped them? Perhaps they are afraid to use Holy Eucharist as a “political weapon,” as the Catholic leftists say.

    After the bill passed Maryland’s Senate, Mary Ellen Russell, chief of the Maryland Catholic Conference, said “it’s always troubling when someone in such a public position openly disagrees with the church.” She told the Post that the legislation was “a critically important issue for the church.” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., Archbishop O’Brien and Bishop Francis Malooly of Delaware published a statement after the vote. But it said nothing about any spiritual penalties for Catholic politicians who supported the bill.

    But perhaps the more salient point is this: Just as Catholics are responsible for legal abortion in Maryland and across this country, they can now take credit for attacking the sacrament of marriage by conscripting the law to served anti-Christian leftism and organized sodomy.

    When Maryland solemnizes homosexual “marriage,” Catholics can take the blame.

    R. Cort Kirkwood is a contributor to The Remnant. His last article discussed the near legalization of infanticide in Texas.

    Link – http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2011-0315-kirtwood-maryland-marriage.htm

  20. stephen francis mccarthy says:

    As the late Dr. Nathanson, who was instrumental in getting abortion legal ,said , if more priests would have spoken up loudly against this abomination it would not have been legalized. Tragically, they missed their chance.

  21. Worried says:

    Why is it so wrong for these centers to have to put up signs on what they do not provide? I don’t understand why regulation of these centers is so scary if nothing but good is being done at them.

  22. Katie says:

    Seems that if pregnancy centers must post signs on what they do not provide, so should PP: \We do not provide any support or help if you decide to keep your baby.\

  23. Laura Winterroth says:

    I think the fact that you don’t know the answer to your friend’s question reveals more about you than you intended.

  24. Krizia says:

    Laura, I think it reveals Our Excellency’s humility and faith in God and his people, as we can see so much truth generated in the comments to this post. God bless your service to our unborn children and the human family, Archbishop Dolan! May the fruits be a conversion of the world from a culture of death to a culture of Life.

  25. Brian Cook says:

    I want to give a word of warning about the Renmant. It is a radical traditionalist newspaper. I don’t want to say more since this is Lent, but I do want to suggest that you look up critical commentaries.

  26. Irene says:

    We have something of a credibility problem because of the clergy scandals. In that context, I think it is probably better for Catholic agencies to err on the side of truthfulness and transparency

  27. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    Yes the Remnant website is Traditional. Very Traditional. since when is being radical for Jesus the Christ bad? Were the Apostles and Saints who gave their lives for The Word radical and or traditional?

    My goodness, no wonder the Church suffers and is dying in the West.

    The Church is growing by leaps and bounds where it is “radical and traditional” such as in Nebraska with Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz and in Denver with another great bishop – Chaput. It’s growing in Southeast Asia and Africa where traditional Cardinals like Arinze’ and Ranjith are very involved and “radical.”

    Seminries and traditional habit wearing convents are bursting at the seams while older orders are slowly vanishing.

    Thank God Almighty we have the sandwich of Dolan and Gomez on the East and West coasts. Pray Rosaries daily that we can miraculously get “radical traditionalists” in the Midwest and in Washington DC.

    We need all the prayers we can get.

    PS – prove to yourselves what I’m saying. Go to any Church – any Church – and compare the lines for Confession on Saturdays with the lines for ommunion on Sundays. One would think our beloved Church was a museum of saints instead of a hospital for sinners. Pray – Pray hard

    AndyP/Doria2 Yonkers, NY Hosea 4:6

  28. Brian Cook says:

    When I said \radical traditionalist\, I meant radical to the point of dissenting from the post-conciliar Church and even attacking Jews as public enemy number one. I didn’t want to get into too much detail during Lent, but I didn’t want to see the whitewashing go unchallenged either. Good day. I will bow out of this thread.