It was a busy friday at Loyola on October 21, 2016 and I had spent the night before baking and preparing treats to sell in the Danna Center to raise money for Take Back The Night. While I was tabling and selling baked goods, I went to refill my water bottle at the water fountain. I looked at the bulletin board at all the different flyers while I filled it up. I noticed one that was out of place. After further examination, I became infuriated. This is what I found
There was a brochure and a flyer on the board advertising a crisis pregnancy center. Pregnancy centers like this are normally not run by doctors but are run by religious organizations, pro-life organizations, and often have unlicensed volunteers providing services there and act like they have the woman's best interest in mind when really they try and convince women to have the baby and raise the child according to to their religious views. I noticed the flyer was not time stamped and was therefore not allowed to be posted on this bulletin board, so I took it down. I then saved it so I could call the number listed and interview them. Here's the transcribed version of the interview:
Me: **speaking to recorder** So I, uh, am calling the pregnancy care center, number 5048314006, from a flyer I found in the DSC, I found a flyer and a brochure asking if they thought you might be pregnant and offering this number to call. I have a list of questions to ask them if they answer. Allright,
(dials) (phone ringing)
PCC: Pregnancy Care Center, this is Hannah
Me: Hi, I saw a flyer at Loyola and I was just calling for more information about your center.
PCC: Yeah, uh, so we offer free resources for women that are pregnant and so we do free ultrasounds, free counseling, and free pregnancy tests. So uh were able to provide some care to women who might not be able to afford to get that at somewhere like the doctor or planned parenthood, um and we offfer clothes for the babies and um a little bit of prenatal care for the mothers before the baby is born. (muffled noise)
Me: Okay and where uh
PCC: Is there a service you were looking for specifically?
Me:Well were are you guys located?
PCC: Um we’re located on 20th street in Metairie right off veterans blvd
Me: Oh Okay, well uh and so Im not sure if I am pregnant but I have a friend who is pregnant and might be interested in your resources um so are you guys are like doctors then, so is it a medical group?
PCC: UH we have nurses on site that perform the ultrasounds and we also do like medicaid referrals and will refer you to a doctor that you can continue your prenatal care to but we can’t provide full services.
Me: Uh okay, so then do you have to have insurance to come there?
PCC: No, no its all free.
Me: I saw that you offer material care for the mother and the baby, uh what does that mean?
PCC: Um, so we have baby clothes and supplies for the babies and um so we can help with that and we also just have alot of relationships with ministries in the new orleans area that can offer like ***inaudible** to like single mothers who need help raising their child uh and so yeah. We have like some of that. I guess were able to supply like pregnancy clothes for the mother and uh baby clothes and baby supplies.
Me: Okay uh it says that you guys offer home visits, what exactly does that mean?
PCC: Uh so we have like a relationship with a nurse family doctor so for the duration of your pregnancy they’ll do home visits and do you just have to fill out a small application and they’ll do home visits and come and do a check up within your home cuz not all women are able ot get to a doctor or have time to do that you know or have someone to even take them so they’ll come and do a in home check up and so for a year after your child is born they’ll come and do a check up on your child as well.
Me: Okay so uh is it limited my friend who is pregnant she lives in baton rouge, so is it limited to a certain location?
PCC: Im actually not sure um I know its in the new orleans area but we might be able to offer the same kind of service in baton rouge.
Me: Oh okay uh and so then so it says you guys have a 24 hour hotline, so uh what is the hotline about, like just for to tell like what you told me or is it like counselors or?
PCC: Yeah, so we have different counselors that who will take the hotline and so you can call our hotline if you’re in need of help or if you just have questions or want to schedule an appointment so were available to talk pretty much 24/7
Me: Okay. Um so do you guys do like adoption services?
PCC: Um, yeah, so we’ve actually done a few adoption through um our our um ministry that’s involved with our pregnancy center so we’re able to provide like resources for that- we dont do it like through us but we have relationships with people so if a girl is wanting to give her child up for adoption we will help walk them through that essentially.
Me: Okay and um so do you have to be religious?
PCC: Oh no, definitely not. I mean we are a christian ministry but we but we provide our services to anyone and everyone. We have a lot of muslim girls that come in actually. It doesn’t matter what your religious preferences are.
Me: Oh okay. And then I saw that you guys offer post abortion support, what is that really?
PCC: So we have counselors and so um girls that need post abortion support or just need to talk about it they can come in and talk about it and we can talk with them about it, we have a post abortive counselor at our center so she she does all of it so she can come SO alot of girls just need just deal with different emotions after having an abortion and just need someone to talk to about it
Me: Okay so do you guys do abortion referrals as well?
PCC: No, uh we are prolife uh so we will give information about abortion so we won’t do abortion referrals but we will do information through our center.
Me: Oh okay so what kind of information uh like statistics or uh-?
PCC: We have statistics and uh we also know like the prices like the price range of an abortion and just like different outcomes that can come from having an abortion like and so we provide a little bit of that but were mainly trying to help women who are planning on keeping their babies and who need extra help because theres not alot of people out there who are just willing to help a woman you know who has just had a child and so alot of women are really alone in that so that’s where we come in.
Me: Okay so do you guys like um have a day care or do day care referrals because i know like the the daycare is kinda hard to get some times because its really expensive
PCC: Mhm. we have a lot of relationships with churches in the new orleans area such as like celebration church on airline in metairie that do day care so we can refer you to a daycare that we have relationships with and know and trust and that might be able to work with you uh financially
Me: Uh okay and so um what are you guys’s hours?
PCC: Um right now we are open on Tuesdays, from 10 to 3 and then thursdays 9-3 and fridays 10-2
PCC: And were open every other saturday
Me: And so if I wanted to come to make an appointment for like a pregnancy test is there like a waitlist or when can i do that
PCC: Um we can make an appointment right now over the phone.
Me: So um I normally week uh during the week during the week so what are your hours on saturdays/
PCC: Um i believe our person who comes in on Saturdays has only been able to do it every other week, so i believe we’re open from 10-2.
Me: Okay so is next saturday available or would it be the saturday after that?
PCC: Um, let me check our schedule.
PCC: Okay, um our next available appointment on a Saturday would be Saturday November 5th, does that work?
Me: Um yeah, do you have anything after 12 noon?
PCC: Well uh we have an appointment for 12 already but I could schedule you for 1 uh pm?
Me: Okay and what was your address again? I was gonna write it down, I didn’t write it down before.
PCC: What? I’m Sorry?
ME: Oh, I was gonna write it down- I didn’t write it down before?
PCC: ts um 3108 20th street.
PCC: In metairie.
Me: And so like how long does that normally take?
PCC: How long does it take?
PCC: Around an hour normally.
Me: Okay uh
PCC: Just depending on what she uh what services shes wanting so is she wanting a pregnancy test
PCC: Ookay, it should take no longer than an hour
Me: So 1-2
PCC: And whats her name or your name
PCC: Uh huh
ME: McDonald M-c-capital D-o-n-a-l-d
Me: Okay then
PCC:So whats the phone number
PCC: Im sorry
Me: **phone number not included for privacy reasons**
And you wanted 2 pm? Or 1pm?
Me: Uh yeah 1 pm.
Me: Okay, Cool.
Me: And then um i was just wondering cuz I go to Loyola so I saw the flyer here but normally they don’t like allow health flyers from outside organizations so I was just uh- do you guys have a relationship- like with Loyola? Cuz i was just kinda surprised uh that they would like put the flyer up.
PCC: OH, I don’t uh I’m not sure actually. We had volunteers go out in like coffee shops in certain areas and like hang flyers just to uh get the word out that uh we exist haha
ME: And then do you guys have volunteer positions as well?
PCC: Im Sorry?
Me: So do you guys take volunteers, for uh volunteer hours and stuff?
PCC: Oh, yeah, we do.
Me: And uh-
PCC:We love volunteers.
ME: And uh how would you gp about doing that? Like do you have to do a training?
PCC: Um you would have to talk with our main manager Bronwan Niles, would you like her phone number?
ME: Um Yeah and can you spell her name for me?
PCC: B-r-o-n-w-a-n and her last name is niles n-i-l-e-s
PCC: And her phone number is.. Are you ready?
Her phone number is 5-0-4
PCC: **phone number not included for privacy purposes**
ME: Okay great, and then does she have normal hours that are best to call- Um- Or is there an email address
PCC: Um yes. Let me get her email for you.
PCC: Okay, are you ready?
Me: Uhhuh, yeah
PCC: Her email is bronwan b-r-on-w-an y-wan- new orleans okay new orleans.org New orleans.org
Me: So is she like the volunteer coordinator then?
PCC: Yes, she’s like the person you would talk to about that, then.
Me: Well, okay, thank you so much.
PCC: Uh huh Bye Bye, Lane
Me: Okay bye.
So overall, the fake name I came up with was very dumb but I had just finished up a test in sociology talking about McDonaldization and had it stuck in my head. The woman was nice on the phone and answered most of my questions and spoke to me for almost 15 minutes. However, normally people who would call wouldn't have a list of 12 questions to ask them and they probably wouldn't know that this kind of center isn't actually an ethical medical institution. These centers present themselves as medical institutions for pregnant women but completely leave out tons of options for women such as abortion and birth control. Places like these are physical manifestations of the anti choice movement and how far people will go to deceive women. I have actually driven by this center before and it is kiddie corner from an abortion clinic. The placement of the center near an actual medical office that provides reproductive health care to women is strategic. They place these centers near abortion clinics and Planned Parenthoods hoping that women will come into their center on accident. There's also tons of abortion protesters outside of the clinic and normally their pregnancy center looks much more calm and inviting sans protesters when often times, the protestors are volunteers with the pregnancy center.
Check out this article from Rewire about the Epidemic of Lying at Crisis Pregnancy Centers, https://rewire.news/article/2015/03/10/epidemic-ly...for a fuller scope on the issue.