A religious, anti-choice crisis pregnancy center (CPC) has set up shop on the publicly-owned property of Cal Poly Pomona university in California, directly across from a student apartment building. Misleadingly named the “Women’s Pregnancy Center,” the CPC has been there since November, says Jaclyn Lara of student feminist group Female Sexuality Society (FSS), which has pledged to evict the CPC.
According to Lara, the CPC is extremely deceptive about its services, failing to advertise that they do not offer or refer for abortion or birth control, and promoting itself as being aligned with the campus’ student health services when it is not.
“We have students saying it’s confusing. They say, ‘What’s the difference?'” Lara said. “I just tell them, ‘usually they’re run by religious anti-choice organizations, but they won’t tell you.'”
Lara became aware of the CPC when one of its representatives came to an event where FSS was tabling. “[She told me] the ‘truth’ about abortion and the various complications which are ‘always’ associated with them,” Lara said. “I am horrified at how intent this woman was at insisting abortion was one of the most dangerous procedures a woman can get and how her views are biased based on her moral beliefs.”
FSS sent a member to the CPC to find out how they deal with students seeking an abortion. Before ascertaining whether or not the FSS member was pregnant, the woman at the CPC began referring to “your baby” and predicting an October due date. The FSS member said she couldn’t have a baby and the worker replied, “If not now, when?”
“I don’t know if I ever want to have a baby,” replied the FSS member, and the worker told her she should consider sterilization.
“A student who went in seeking an abortion would leave covered in guilt and shame,” says Lara. “The women of Cal Poly are really important…I take it very personally that they’re lying to my sisters.”
FSS is planning to lobby the university to evict the CPC, but Lara is concerned that the university won’t listen if they are receiving rental money from the CPC at a time when money is tight. “I’m hoping that they’ll see that money is not worth the harm to our students,” says Lara.
You can help by writing messages to the university and sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The group will deliver them to the administration.
NARAL Virginia video: What I learned at a crisis pregnancy center.
ABOVE: Members of the FSS demonstrating on their campus.