Michelle Oberman's opinion piece, "The Woman the Abortion War Leaves Out," published 1/11/18 in the New York Times, shares her interpretation of fake clinics' work with "abortion-minded women." Oberman, a self professed pro-choice Californian, claims public opinion would pit her against fake clinics, yet she felt affection for them. Oberman suggests that fake clinics fill the gaps for low-income pregnant people who want to parent because abortion providers just do abortions.
In short, she's wrong.
Abortion providers provide so much more. Clinics offer care for the life cycle of reproductive years, from pregnancy tests, birth control to breast cancer screenings. When it comes to insurance, nearly every abortion provider signs pregnant people up for Medi-Cal on the spot. By assuming eligibility, clinics can refer clients to ob/gyns to prepare for birth or adoption. Or, they can prepare for abortion services. Additionally, clinics refer undecided clients to All-Options, a judgment free, toll-free talkline for people facing an unexpected pregnancy.
Northern California clinic Women's Health Specialists has provided abortion, pre-natal referrals and free adoption services for over 30 YEARS! With clinics in Chico, Grass Valley and Redding, they serve low-income folks in rural counties.
Women's Health Specialists prints a "Survival Guide," distributed to clients and community groups. A pocket sized guide to food, housing, parenting, childcare, and employment, the guide served as a navigator for people who need help but aren't sure where to turn.
Clinics are dialed into the community. The Nurse-Family Partnership, for example, provided a free nurse mentor to first time moms. Their materials were given to the clinic's clients who chose to parent, and posted in the waiting rooms. Family Resource Centers throughout the county offer free parenting classes, housing resources, and community activities. Women's Health Specialists Sacramento had satellite clinics in two area Family Resource Center.
California has a host of free, county based programs for women who would like to parent but need the financial or emotional support to make it a reality. Fake clinics, who do not trust clients to make their own choices, are not the only pipeline to birth, adoption or parenting success.
If Oberman had explored the abortion providers in her own home state, she would know the vast array of medical and wrap around services, connections and community that abortion providers intentionally foster to support their clients, no matter what they choose.