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- by Kaitlyn Neath

Brockton Ontario will soon be home to a new maternity centre. An article posted by a local news source today described this centre as, “a charitable organization dedicated to helping young pregnant women.” The article also described the program as “designed to support and advocate for the most vulnerable, young pregnant girls who have fallen through the cracks.”

What this article failed to report was the organization’s charitable faith-based status, or its anti-choice position on pregnancy. This can cause a lot of confusion for young women in crisis, seeking council for an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.

This issue isn’t new, nor unique to Grey-Bruce. The pregnancy centre in downtown Owen Sound is also a faith-based organization with an anti-choice bias. Women who seek council there may be shown anti-abortion material in an attempt to guilt the young and vulnerable into continuing their pregnancies. Even more concerning is that when I spoke with the founder of the program that will be running in the Brockton maternity centre, I was informed that those seeking council for an abortion there will be referred to the Owen Sound Pregnancy Centre. [ed note: As of this writing, the "morning after pill" and "considering abortion" links on the Pregnancy Centre website bring up error messages].

So now we have two anti-choice organizations in our area and those seeking an abortion at one, will be sent to the other to receive even more faith-based counselling.

If you’re having difficulty seeing the problem here, imagine seeking treatment for a medical condition, let’s say a women's cancer, and you walk into a building called, “The Cancer Centre.” You would expect this centre to provide resources, referrals to specialists and information about all treatment options, right? But when you’re taken into the back room to speak with a councillor, you are informed that this clinic does not provide referrals for a specific treatment plan, let’s say chemo-therapy. In fact, not only will they not provide you with this information, they continue to inform you that chemo is bad and you just shouldn’t do it.

What do you do at this point? Do you continue to listen? Do you walk out the door? Are you scared that maybe they are right?

Maybe you do work up the courage to assert that it is a chemo- therapy referral you are seeking. Great. Now imagine instead of being referred to those services, you’re referred to something called, “The Cancer Crisis Centre,” but guess what? This centre won’t provide you with information about chemo-therapy either. They are also vehemently anti-chemo.

What happens next? Where do you turn? You’ve now been to two cancer clinics that tell you the same thing, “chemo is not an option.”

This sounds crazy right? Chemo-therapy is a completely legal and common treatment for cancer. How could something called “the cancer clinic,” legally perpetuate this kind of misinformation, or withholding of information, without any legal recourse?

This hypothetical cancer clinic obviously doesn’t exist, but the Pregnancy Centre does, and not just in Owen Sound, and not always by the same name.

For those shouting, “Pregnancy is not cancer!” you’re right. But it is a life-altering health issue for women and abortion is a legal, common and safe medical procedure. If an organization is going to advertise that they offer assistance with pregnancy, should they not be required to refer to all legal options? Or at the very least, be transparent in the options or faith-based services they provide?

Canada has an abortion accessibility problem and Grey-Bruce’s is about to get worse. It’s time to call for the transparency of all pregnancy centres. No vulnerable young person in crisis should be guilted or mislead.  All legal and safe options, and accurate information about them,  should be made available to everyone.


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