Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reproductive Health, Lebanon, the FBI, etc.

From the DH story on the loss of the building that housed the Lebanon Pregnancy Alternatives Center:

The FBI says it is investigating the fire jointly with the Lebanon Police Department and has authority to do so under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.

Now, at first glance, the name of that act sounds to me like it was written to guarantee access to - let's be honest - abortion clinics (pro-choicers are not exactly notorious for shaming anyone who enters churches, now are they?). Given that 'pregnancy alternatives center' is synonymous with 'anti-choice center that will do everything but provide actual reproductive health,' I was a little surprised that such an act would cover something like the LPAC in the way the FBI is claiming according to the story. So I looked up the act. Check this out:

§ 248. Freedom of access to clinic entrances

(a) Prohibited activities.--Whoever--


(3) intentionally damages or destroys the property of a facility, or attempts to do so, because such facility provides reproductive health services, or intentionally damages or destroys the property of a place of religious worship,

So.... I think it's reasonable to conclude that whoever wrote this act wrote it to include so-called pregnancy alternatives centers, specifically Christian ones (are there any other kind?). After all, why the hell else would a reference to 'a place of religious worship' be in there?

And after all, it's not like such places actually provide meaningful reproductive health services beyond 'here is how to care for your baby once it's born'.

It's an interesting false equivalance, as well: Something like Planned Parenthood provides the full gamut of reproductive health services, including, I believe, information for those who want to remain abstinent and who want to carry to term. Something like the Lebanon Pregnancy Alternatives Center doesn't seem to provide birth control or even mention abortion, much less abortion referrals, as an option on their website (which I will not link to). Clearly, the two are not equal, yet they are treated as equivalent under this law, apparently.



Anonymous said...

Or maybe someone assumed it was an abortion clinic.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Lebanon Pregnancy Alternative Center does provide some reproductive health services and is moving more in that direction, though it doesn't provide, recommend or even refer for abortions.

It provides a valuable service for people who want the help.

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