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Misplaced Priorities Cost Women's Lives
They're just working for those poor women, right?
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"Why do the so-called champions of women's lives and health attack places that are at worst a harmless annoyance, and allow those who kill women to flourish?"
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• Subpoena against pro-life group challenged
• New York state probes pro-life centers

Dateline: 2/18/02

The National Abortion Rights Action League of New York has some strange priorties. While women languish and die from grotesquely substandard abortion care, NARAL/NY turns its attention to attacking prolife pregnancy centers on the grounds of "false advertising."

Now, don't get me wrong. I think that prolife centers should be above reproach, and that those who fall short should be disciplined and/or shut down. What I'm questioning is NARAL/NY's priorities. NARAL/NY reminds me of my dogs, who bark their fool heads off every time a bunny rabbit hops through my yard, but hide under the bed at the first sign of any real trouble.

Nobody could impugn my dogs' motives. They're dogs. As Dave Barry says, dogs tend to be very "vigilant." By "vigilant" he means "stupid." And when my dogs bark at bunny rabbits, there's no harm done. The bunny rabbits look at my dogs, shrug, and go on munching tender dandelions. They know my dogs are fenced in and can't hurt anybody.

I wish the same could be said of NARAL/NY.

The folks at NARAL/NY are not vigilant in the Dave Barry sense. Nobody could accuse these folks of stupidity. They're politically savvy, proud of their efforts to ensure the election of their dear friend Eliot Spitzer in the race for attorney general. And it is Attorney General Spitzer who is spearheading the effort to attack prolife centers.

Spitzer launched a special "reproductive rights unit" within the state's Bureau of Civil Rights. The new unit is dedicated to "ensuring that women have unfettered access to reproductive services," Spitzer said. In his 1999 speech to NARAL, Spitzer promised that the unit would "address matters such as false advertisements for services ... by opponents of reproductive rights."

The attack centers on centers' promises of "free abortion alternatives." The centers do in fact provide free alternatives to abortion. So what's the problem? Have women been bilked out of their money? Well, no. The centers provide the services for free, as advertised. Have women been harmed? No doubt some have been confused and/or annoyed. Probably some have had their plans to abort their fetuses delayed by a day or so because they got information on alternatives when they were wanting information on how to get a dead fetus. But where's the actual harm?

Meanwhile, there are facilities abounding in New York that are doing palpable, measurable harm to women seeking reproductive health care services. They're called "abortion clinics." But even that is a misnomer, since a lot of the troublemakers aren't even clinics, but are just private medical practices passing themselves off as clinics.

Why is the AG and NARAL/NY not looking into places like Eastern Women's Center, which has killed at least two women and at one point managed to misplace its medical director?

I would like to challenge NARAL/NY and AG Spitzer: Show me ONE woman who has suffered any measurable harm by going to a prolife center. Demonstrate to me, and to the public, how much worse off she is than the women who have been killed by New York abortionists.

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