San Diego County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer has made it clear how she feels about crisis pregnancy centers.
In an agenda item introduced at the board’s Nov. 7 meeting, she labeled these nonprofit pro-life organizations “notorious” and “fake,” accusing them of “unethical practices” and “deceptive methods.”
Around 15 crisis pregnancy centers encourage women in San Diego and Imperial counties to choose life for their unborn children and provide them with the resources to do so. They offer a variety of services, both during and after pregnancy. These include free ultrasounds and baby items, as well as prenatal care, parenting classes, adoption referrals, job-skills training, Natural Family Planning classes, referrals for a safe place to live, and support groups at no cost.
Board Vice Chair Lawson-Remer’s proposal calls for the county to explore taking legal action against the centers, “including but not limited to shutting down such centers”; to launch a public education campaign to challenge their claims and promote the availability of resources that include abortion; and seek funding to raise awareness about “reproductive health services.”
The board deadlocked at 2-2 on her proposal. Joining her as a “yes” vote was Chairwoman Nora Vargas, a former executive of Planned Parenthood. Supervisors Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond voted “no.”
Until the deadlock is broken, the proposal will be brought up for a vote at each meeting of the Board of Supervisors, unless Lawson-Remer requests its removal from the agenda.
By Dec. 5, the date of the next meeting, newly elected Supervisor Monica Montgomery Steppe will be able to break the tie. She has expressed support for legal abortion.
Maria Valencia, who serves in the diocese as associate director of Culture of Life, said that these centers have been “persecuted” since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year effectively overturned Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion.
In California, voters approved an expansion of the right to obtain an abortion, which remains legal and widely available.
Pregnancy centers “just want to offer the other option that Planned Parenthood … doesn’t offer, and (that) is to support moms and encourage them to have their babies,” she said.
Valencia said that the centers “think they can win” on this issue, but having to litigate it would be expensive.
“As a diocese, definitely, we support the pregnancy centers,” she said, “because their mission of promoting human life and supporting families with valuable education is aligned with the diocese’s mission.”
She said the diocese asks Catholics to make their voices heard about this proposal, either by attending the next board meeting at which the proposal will be discussed or by contacting their county supervisors via phone or email, and to pray that the pregnancy centers will be able to continue their work.
From the Southern Cross