Recently Google and others were the target of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) public relations strategy to discredit “pro-life” pregnancy centers from placing ads on its search engine under abortion related search terms. Many of these pregnancy centers are medicalized and provide additional material and moral support for women. The work of these pregnancy centers is often viewed by abortion proponents as less than comprehensive at best and downright misleading at worst.
Interestingly, for abortion to have been mainstreamed into western medicine at all it first had to strike a blow to the Hippocratic Oath (e.g. I will not give a woman an abortive remedy) via official channels such as the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v Wade. It then had to create its own ‘medical’ standard and ethic apart from the traditional Hippocratic tradition via the National Abortion Federation (NAF). This essentially represented not purely abortion but a shift in the shared understanding of the purpose of medicine to heal and maintain the health of the individual patient (or two patients in the case of OB care) to a consumer based approach to population medicine. This means that if women ask for a service they should have access to that service without regard for traditional medical standards of care and practice. This view and practice ultimately undermines the integrity of the profession of medicine as well as the good care of the patient.
That said, pregnancy center’s have a unique ability to help women process through all pregnancy related options as she navigates her abortion decision so fraught with external coercive pressure. Hence the appropriateness of pregnancy centers buying ad space under abortion search terms. The flip side of that coin is the abortion industry’s ongoing conflict of interest in flagrantly touting reproductive choice when abortion is their ultimate goal. It’s like mandating that all dime store security personnel be hired from the Society for the Equal Employment of Kleptomaniac Workers of America.
One of the tests for true patient autonomy is the patient’s ability to deny care after being fully informed of all her options and the respective implications. We all know that women feel like abortion is their only choice and so are not truly free to deny an abortion. Only pregnancy centers and ethical medical providers are free to engage what we call a ‘pre-termination consultation’ without a standing and undisclosed political and/or financial conflict of interest. It is common practice for all medical specialists (surgical and otherwise) to first diagnose and consult with a patient in a separate and distinct appointment prior to agreeing to and executing any course of treatment. Abortionists routinely violate this expectation. At the very least pregnancy centers are filling the gap left by the unethical and strangely ubiquitous practice of abortionists.