Abortion

A Jewish “Crisis Pregnancy” Group Follows Its Anti-Choice Christian Cousins

Jodi Jacobson

In Shifra's Arms, a D.C.-based organization that "provides support for Jewish women facing unplanned pregnancies," appears to be following the model of its Christian cousins with an agenda that is less about ensuring women have choices than about making sure women facing unintended pregnancy make the "choice" that matches an organization's ideological agenda.

While sorting the mail the other day, a front-page article in the Washington Jewish Week immediately caught my eye: It details the launch of In Shifra’s Arms, a D.C.-based organization that “provides support for Jewish women facing unplanned pregnancies.”

What kind of support? The same kind as all other crisis pregnancy centers, apparently.  The kind based on misinformation and an agenda that is less about ensuring women have and can exercise their choices than about making sure women facing unintended pregnancy make the “choice” that matches an organization’s ideological agenda.

The founder of the organization, Erica Pelman, an Orthodox Jew, told Jewish Week that she believes her organization is the only one in the United States aimed at Jewish women. The website of In Shifra’s Arms states: “We exist to mobilize the American Jewish community to assist women facing unintended pregnancies.”

On the face of it, that would not be a problem, since organizations such as the National Council for Jewish Women, sundry Jewish family foundations, and many individual donors in the Jewish community are long-time supporters of Planned Parenthood and other non-profit health providers whose missions include services and counseling aimed at assisting women both to prevent unintended pregnancies and to exercises their own choices when facing an unintended pregnancy, whether that means taking a pregnancy to term and bearing a child, terminating a pregnancy or giving a child up for adoption.

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In Shifra’s Arms is, however, quite different in that it appears to model itself on the prototypical crisis pregnancy center, albeit apparently without any physical “center” right now. And because these crisis pregnancy centers are so poorly regarded, it remains to be seen, as Jewish Week notes “if In Shifra’s Arms will gain traction in the overwhelmingly pro-choice Jewish community.”

Nancy Ratzan, the president of the National Council of Jewish Women, told Jewish Week that In Shifra’s Arms’ website “looks like it fits the model that targets young women in a deceptive way,” and that “[NCJW] is greatly concerned about pregnancy crisis centers and their focus to limit women’s choice and undermine the rights of women.”

In fact, there are really only two choices offered by the organization: carry to term or choose adoption.  Either is a completely valid choice when made freely by a woman facing unintended pregnancy.  And while any given woman facing an unplanned pregnancy might want to choose either of these options, she might also want accurate information about abortion.  She would not get it at In Shifra’s Arms.  The website states:

If you are considering abortion, it is also important that you understand the details about abortion and have fully researched the provider, methods, side-effects etc.

Alyssa Zucker, professor of psychology and women’s studies at George Washington University, noted that crisis pregnancy centers “say they are about choice, they are really not. Their goal is to convince women not to have abortions.”

The group takes a page out of the “abortion is bad” handbook of all crisis pregnancy centers by offering “non-facts” such as that abortion causes long-term psychological problems.  When referring to abortion, its website talks about risks, pressure and coercion, and offers materials that provide what appears to be both erroneous and some balanced information on abortion. At the same time, it offers links to highly questionable “sources” such as the anti-choice Elliot Institute and a 2002 book by the Institute’s director, David Reardon, on the supposed psychological effects of abortion, and to other crisis pregnancy centers.

As noted in the Jewish Week article, both the American Psychological Association and Johns Hopkins University researchers have stated that there are no reputable studies linking long-term depression with abortion and that abortion is not a threat to mental health.

“From looking at the In Shifra’s Arms Web site, it is talking about emotional risks, but it is citing studies that show extreme results,” says Zucker. “The majority of studies show women are fine.”

In a phone call with Pelman, I asked whether she felt concerned about offering materials on her website that had been discredited by major medical organizations and experts.  She responded that “they [the American Psychological Association and Johns Hopkins] have opinions, and I have opinions. I linked to sources that have been published in peer reviewed journals. I think people need to see these different opinions.”

When asked whether she had any training in medical or behavior sciences or research, she said no.

The organization also appears to be based more on “perception” and hearsay than any qualitative assessment of the need for it in the Jewish community.  When I asked Pelman why she started the organization, she said, “One of the biggest barriers [to carrying out a pregnancy] is feeling embarrassed.”

“I have gotten a lot of feedback from people that it is embarrassing to be pregnant [out-of-wedlock],” she said.  When I asked through what mechanism she had elicited the feedback she said “You know, just people.  Three friends of mine who knew people that had become pregnant told me they were embarrassed.”

The vice-chair of the board of In Shifra’s Arms, Diana Furchtgott-Roth told the Jewish Week that she sees the agency providing a Jewish alternative to Christian crisis centers.

“I always got upset whenever I would go by churches and see signs outside saying ‘pregnant and worried, come see us’ and there was no equivalent in the Jewish community,” says Furchtgott-Roth. “People in the Jewish community want to say this doesn’t happen to us.”

Furchtgott-Roth has serious conservative street cred: She is a senior fellow at the ultra-conservative Hudson Institute, held an earlier position as a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, served in the Administrations of both Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and has connections to the Independent Women’s Forum.

In Shifra’s Arms calls itself a national organization but is in reality very small.  Pelman is the sole staff member and has five board members, two interns and a “handful of volunteers.”  They just received their non-profit determination this week, according to Pelman.

Shifra’s Arms is apparently tightly connected to Birthright International, a crisis pregnancy organization that supports centers in the United States and “worldwide.” A phone call this morning to the organization did not reveal how many crisis pregnancy centers are affiliated with Birthright nor in how many countries.  It’s website claims 400 such centers in the U.S., Canada and about 5 other countries in 2002.  A request to speak with one of the directors regarding the organization’s reach and its policies was not answered as of this writing.

In Shifra’s Arms also will not give referrals for abortion. But they don’t refer for contraception either.  In a brief call, Furchgott-Roth told me that In Shifra’s Arms neither provides information on nor refers women to centers that might offer advice on avoiding future unintended pregnancies. In other words, they don’t encourage future prevention of unplanned pregnancies.  Birthright International similarly confirmed it does not “do that kind of thing.”  Birthright International’s website states that it does not show clients “abortion pictures or slides” although the person to whom I spoke on the phone at Birthright, when asked what services are offered to pregnant women seeking their input, told me unprompted that “we show them what abortions look like.”

When I asked what training Pelman had for her job as director, she said “I was trained in counseling by Birthright and got their materials.”

Pelman admits that the reach of In Shifra’s Arms is limited yet still makes huge promises. Pelman told Jewish Week:

We provide caring listening, confidential support and resource information for our callers facing unplanned pregnancy. We listen to our callers as they work through understanding their options, learning about available resources, communicate with people in their life, and make their choice.

“We can also accompany DC Metro callers to visit Birthright Centers (pregnancy resource centers) for face-to-face interactions.”  Pelman also told Jewish Week that “we will help advocate for you if you are currently in school and need support to finish your pregnancy and stay in school.”

“I will walk with them through the pregnancy,” says Pelman, 30, whose group offers to help a woman find a job or finish school, obtain baby supplies and find counselors.

Exactly how an essentially one-person organization can make these promises in this economic climate is unknown. The District of Columbia is facing a $500 million dollar deficit and is slashing social services that serve, you know, born people.  The state of Maryland has a projected $2 billion budget deficit and my own county’s school district is selling off our curricula and access to our school leadership for a mere $2.5 million dollars to raise money.  In Virginia, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell is cutting K-12 education, health programs, furloughing employees, and taking other measures to offset a $2.2 billion budget shortfall over two years and, of course, avoid raising taxes to pay for any of it.

When I asked about her work in supporting people through unintended pregnancies, she said that a college student who is pregnant and embarrassed to attend classes while pregnant and doesn’t want to continue her education in class might want to work online from home on her degree or “put college on hold, so we help her with that. We can also help her find an internship to add to her resume.” And where are such internships available? “At various think tanks in town.”  (See above).

Strikingly, Pelman’s premise seems to be one based on–and reinforcing–social stigma aimed at women pregnant out of wedlock.  She helps “pregnant college students ‘lie low,'” and “get away from her normal situation to maintain privacy,” but provides little detail on exactly how this works.  “We are creating it and inventing it along the way,” she said. “It is all customized.”

Whatever “it” is doesn’t sound like much in the way of education, jobs, housing or any of the other things you need to provide over a lifetime to raise a child.  Pelman herself had a hard time coming up with concrete strategies, organizations or agencies that she could point to working with or having knowledge of and did not appear to have experience in say, applying for food stamps, though she offered that as a strategy with which she could help a woman in need.

And this is a simple reality of the “crisis pregnancy” approach: Not only do they provide misinformation on various options and on medical science and interventions, to which they refer as “opinions,” they also make promises they can’t keep. In reality, Pelman’s group appears to be relying on Birthright International to provide the “support” she promises.  But when asked what type of support Birthright offers, I was told, “well, it depends on what we have on hand, in terms of diapers or things like that.”

Perhaps it is both telling and also reassuring that to date Pelman claims only one “client.”

In the end, the point is not to decide or “channel” women’s choices.  The point is to provide women with choices and support each individual woman in whatever choice she makes, the one that is best for her and her family and any current or future children. In that regard, these crisis pregnancy centers–whether Jewish, Christian or non-sectarian–still fail miserably.  More so when they offer the promise of help they can not possibly provide.

News Politics

Clinton Campaign Announces Tim Kaine as Pick for Vice President

Ally Boguhn

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

The Clinton campaign announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has been selected to join Hillary Clinton’s ticket as her vice presidential candidate.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” said Clinton in a tweet.

“.@TimKaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” she added.

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

Kaine signed two letters this week calling for the regulations on banks to be eased, according to a Wednesday report published by the Huffington Post, thereby ”setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party.”

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, told the New York Times that Kaine’s selection “could be disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump in the fall” given the senator’s apparent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just before Clinton’s campaign made the official announcement that Kaine had been selected, the senator praised the TPP during an interview with the Intercept, though he signaled he had ultimately not decided how he would vote on the matter.

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Kaine’s record on reproductive rights has also generated controversy as news began to circulate that he was being considered to join Clinton’s ticket. Though Kaine recently argued in favor of providing Planned Parenthood with access to funding to fight the Zika virus and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act—which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services—he has also been vocal about his personal opposition to abortion.

In a June interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine told host Chuck Todd he was “personally” opposed to abortion. He went on, however, to affirm that he still believed “not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As Rewire has previously reported, though Kaine may have a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the campaign website for his 2005 run for governor of Virginia promised he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

As governor, Kaine did support some existing restrictions on abortion, including Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law. He also signed a 2009 measure that created “Choose Life” license plates in the state, and gave a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network.

Regardless of Clinton’s vice president pick, the “center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted in a bold, populist, progressive direction,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an emailed statement. “It’s now more important than ever that Hillary Clinton run an aggressive campaign on core economic ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and yes, stopping the TPP. It’s the best way to unite the Democratic Party, and stop Republicans from winning over swing voters on bread-and-butter issues.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article included a typo that misidentified Sen. Tim Kaine as a Republican. We regret this error.

Analysis Abortion

‘Pro-Life’ Pence Transfers Money Intended for Vulnerable Households to Anti-Choice Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Jenn Stanley

Donald Trump's running mate has said that "life is winning in Indiana"—and the biggest winner is probably a chain of crisis pregnancy centers that landed a $3.5 million contract in funds originally intended for poor Hoosiers.

Much has been made of Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s record on LGBTQ issues. In 2000, when he was running for U.S. representative, Pence wrote that “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s [sic] as a ‘discreet and insular minority’ [sic] entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.” He also said that funds meant to help people living with HIV or AIDS should no longer be given to organizations that provide HIV prevention services because they “celebrate and encourage” homosexual activity. Instead, he proposed redirecting those funds to anti-LGBTQ “conversion therapy” programs, which have been widely discredited by the medical community as being ineffective and dangerous.

Under Pence, ideology has replaced evidence in many areas of public life. In fact, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has just hired a running mate who, in the past year, has reallocated millions of dollars in public funds intended to provide food and health care for needy families to anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers.

Gov. Pence, who declined multiple requests for an interview with Rewire, has been outspoken about his anti-choice agenda. Currently, Indiana law requires people seeking abortions to receive in-person “counseling” and written information from a physician or other health-care provider 18 hours before the abortion begins. And thanks, in part, to other restrictive laws making it more difficult for clinics to operate, there are currently six abortion providers in Indiana, and none in the northern part of the state. Only four of Indiana’s 92 counties have an abortion provider. All this means that many people in need of abortion care are forced to take significant time off work, arrange child care, and possibly pay for a place to stay overnight in order to obtain it.

This environment is why a contract quietly signed by Pence last fall with the crisis pregnancy center umbrella organization Real Alternatives is so potentially dangerous for Indiana residents seeking abortion: State-subsidized crisis pregnancy centers not only don’t provide abortion but seek to persuade people out of seeking abortion, thus limiting their options.

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“Indiana is committed to the health, safety, and wellbeing [sic] of Hoosier families, women, and children,” reads the first line of the contract between the Indiana State Department of Health and Real Alternatives. The contract, which began on October 1, 2015, allocates $3.5 million over the course of a year for Real Alternatives to use to fund crisis pregnancy centers throughout the state.

Where Funding Comes From

The money for the Real Alternatives contract comes from Indiana’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, a federally funded, state-run program meant to support the most vulnerable households with children. The program was created by the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act signed by former President Bill Clinton. It changed welfare from a federal program that gave money directly to needy families to one that gave money, and a lot of flexibility with how to use it, to the states.

This TANF block grant is supposed to provide low-income families a monthly cash stipend that can be used for rent, child care, and food. But states have wide discretion over these funds: In general, they must use the money to serve families with children, but they can also fund programs meant, for example, to promote marriage. They can also make changes to the requirements for fund eligibility.

As of 2012, to be eligible for cash assistance in Indiana, a household’s maximum monthly earnings could not exceed $377, the fourth-lowest level of qualification of all 50 states, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. Indiana’s program also has some of the lowest maximum payouts to recipients in the country.

Part of this is due to a 2011 work requirement that stripped eligibility from many families. Under the new work requirement, a parent or caretaker receiving assistance needs to be “engaged in work once the State determines the parent or caretaker is ready to engage in work,” or after 24 months of receiving benefits. The maximum time allowed federally for a family to receive assistance is 60 months.

“There was a TANF policy change effective November 2011 that required an up-front job search to be completed at the point of application before we would proceed in authorizing TANF benefits,” Jim Gavin, a spokesman for the state’s Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), told Rewire. “Most [applicants] did not complete the required job search and thus applications were denied.”

Unspent money from the block grant can be carried over to following years. Indiana receives an annual block grant of $206,799,109, but the state hasn’t been using all of it thanks to those low payouts and strict eligibility requirements. The budget for the Real Alternatives contract comes from these carry-over funds.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, TANF is explicitly meant to clothe and feed children, or to create programs that help prevent “non-marital childbearing,” and Indiana’s contract with Real Alternatives does neither. The contract stipulates that Real Alternatives and its subcontractors must “actively promote childbirth instead of abortion.” The funds, the contract says, cannot be used for organizations that will refer clients to abortion providers or promote contraceptives as a way to avoid unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

Parties involved in the contract defended it to Rewire by saying they provide material goods to expecting and new parents, but Rewire obtained documents that showed a much different reality.

Real Alternatives is an anti-choice organization run by Kevin Bagatta, a Pennsylvania lawyer who has no known professional experience with medical or mental health services. It helps open, finance, and refer clients to crisis pregnancy centers. The program started in Pennsylvania, where it received a $30 million, five-year grant to support a network of 40 subcontracting crisis pregnancy centers. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called for an audit of the organization between June 2012 and June 2015 after hearing reports of mismanaged funds, and found $485,000 in inappropriate billing. According to the audit, Real Alternatives would not permit DHS to review how the organization used those funds. However, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in April that at least some of the money appears to have been designated for programs outside the state.

Real Alternatives also received an $800,000 contract in Michigan, which inspired Gov. Pence to fund a $1 million yearlong pilot program in northern Indiana in the fall of 2014.

“The widespread success [of the pilot program] and large demand for these services led to the statewide expansion of the program,” reads the current $3.5 million contract. It is unclear what measures the state used to define “success.”

 

“Every Other Baby … Starts With Women’s Care Center”

Real Alternatives has 18 subcontracting centers in Indiana; 15 of them are owned by Women’s Care Center, a chain of crisis pregnancy centers. According to its website, Women’s Care Center serves 25,000 women annually in 23 centers throughout Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Women’s Care Centers in Indiana received 18 percent of their operating budget from state’s Real Alternatives program during the pilot year, October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015, which were mostly reimbursements for counseling and classes throughout pregnancy, rather than goods and services for new parents.

In fact, instead of the dispensation of diapers and food, “the primary purpose of the [Real Alternatives] program is to provide core services consisting of information, sharing education, and counseling that promotes childbirth and assists pregnant women in their decision regarding adoption or parenting,” the most recent contract reads.

The program’s reimbursement system prioritizes these anti-choice classes and counseling sessions: The more they bill for, the more likely they are to get more funding and thus open more clinics.

“This performance driven [sic] reimbursement system rewards vendor service providers who take their program reimbursement and reinvest in their services by opening more centers and hiring more counselors to serve more women in need,” reads the contract.

Classes, which are billed as chastity classes, parenting classes, pregnancy classes, and childbirth classes, are reimbursed at $21.80 per client. Meanwhile, as per the most recent contract, counseling sessions, which are separate from the classes, are reimbursed by the state at minimum rates of $1.09 per minute.

Jenny Hunsberger, vice president of Women’s Care Center, told Rewire that half of all pregnant women in Elkhart, LaPorte, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties, and one in four pregnant women in Allen County, are clients of their centers. To receive any material goods, such as diapers, food, and clothing, she said, all clients must receive this counseling, at no cost to them. Such counseling is billed by the minute for reimbursement.

“When every other baby born [in those counties] starts with Women’s Care Center, that’s a lot of minutes,” Hunsberger told Rewire.

Rewire was unable to verify exactly what is said in those counseling sessions, except that they are meant to encourage clients to carry their pregnancies to term and to help them decide between adoption or child rearing, according to Hunsberger. As mandated by the contract, both counseling and classes must “provide abstinence education as the best and only method of avoiding unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.”

In the first quarter of the new contract alone, Women’s Care Center billed Real Alternatives and, in turn, the state, $239,290.97; about $150,000 of that was for counseling, according to documents obtained by Rewire. In contrast, goods like food, diapers, and other essentials for new parents made up only about 18.5 percent of Women’s Care Center’s first-quarter reimbursements.

Despite the fact that the state is paying for counseling at Women’s Care Center, Rewire was unable to find any licensing for counselors affiliated with the centers. Hunsberger told Rewire that counseling assistants and counselors complete a minimum training of 200 hours overseen by a master’s level counselor, but the counselors and assistants do not all have social work or psychology degrees. Hunsberger wrote in an email to Rewire that “a typical Women’s Care Center is staffed with one or more highly skilled counselors, MSW or equivalent.”

Rewire followed up for more information regarding what “typical” or “equivalent” meant, but Hunsberger declined to answer. A search for licenses for the known counselors at Women’s Care Center’s Indiana locations turned up nothing. The Indiana State Department of Health told Rewire that it does not monitor or regulate the staff at Real Alternatives’ subcontractors, and both Women’s Care Center and Real Alternatives were uncooperative when asked for more information regarding their counseling staff and training.

Bethany Christian Services and Heartline Pregnancy Center, Real Alternatives’ other Indiana subcontractors, billed the program $380.41 and $404.39 respectively in the first quarter. They billed only for counseling sessions, and not goods or classes.

In a 2011 interview with Philadelphia City Paper, Kevin Bagatta said that Real Alternatives counselors were not required to have a degree.

“We don’t provide medical services. We provide human services,” Bagatta told the City Paper.

There are pregnancy centers in Indiana that provide a full range of referrals for reproductive health care, including for STI testing and abortion. However, they are not eligible for reimbursement under the Real Alternatives contract because they do not maintain an anti-choice mission.

Parker Dockray is the executive director of Backline, an all-options pregnancy resource center. She told Rewire that Backline serves hundreds of Indiana residents each month, and is overwhelmed by demand for diapers and other goods, but it is ineligible for the funding because it will refer women to abortion providers if they choose not to carry a pregnancy to term.

“At a time when so many Hoosier families are struggling to make ends meet, it is irresponsible for the state to divert funds intended to support low-income women and children and give it to organizations that provide biased pregnancy counseling,” Dockray told Rewire. “We wish that Indiana would use this funding to truly support families by providing job training, child care, and other safety net services, rather than using it to promote an anti-abortion agenda.”

“Life Is Winning in Indiana”

Time and again, Bagatta and Hunsberger stressed to Rewire that their organizations do not employ deceitful tactics to get women in the door and to convince them not to have abortions. However, multiple studies have proven that crisis pregnancy centers often lie to women from the moment they search online for an abortion provider through the end of their appointments inside the center.

These studies have also shown that publicly funded crisis pregnancy centers dispense medically inaccurate information to clients. In addition to spreading lies like abortion causing infertility or breast cancer, they are known to give false hopes of miscarriages to people who are pregnant and don’t want to be. A 2015 report by NARAL Pro-Choice America found this practice to be ubiquitous in centers throughout the United States, and Rewire found that Women’s Care Center is no exception. The organization’s website says that as many as 40 percent of pregnancies end in natural miscarriage. While early pregnancy loss is common, it occurs in about 10 percent of known pregnancies, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Crisis pregnancy centers also tend to crop up next to abortion clinics with flashy, deceitful signs that lead many to mistakenly walk into the wrong building. Once inside, clients are encouraged not to have an abortion.

A Google search for “abortion” and “Indianapolis” turns up an ad for the Women’s Care Center as the first result. It reads: “Abortion – Indianapolis – Free Ultrasound before Abortion. Located on 86th and Georgetown. We’re Here to Help – Call Us Today: Abortion, Ultrasound, Locations, Pregnancy.”

Hunsberger denies any deceit on the part of Women’s Care Center.

“Clients who walk in the wrong door are informed that we are not the abortion clinic and that we do not provide abortions,” Hunsberger told Rewire. “Often a woman will choose to stay or return because we provide services that she feels will help her make the best decision for her, including free medical-grade pregnancy tests and ultrasounds which help determine viability and gestational age.”

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky told Rewire that since Women’s Care Center opened on 86th and Georgetown in Indianapolis, many patients looking for its Georgetown Health Center have walked through the “wrong door.”

“We have had patients miss appointments because they went into their building and were kept there so long they missed their scheduled time,” Judi Morrison, vice president of marketing and education, told Rewire.

Sarah Bardol, director of Women’s Care Center’s Indianapolis clinic, told the Criterion Online Edition, a publication of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, that the first day the center was open, a woman and her boyfriend did walk into the “wrong door” hoping to have an abortion.

“The staff of the new Women’s Care Center in Indianapolis, located just yards from the largest abortion provider in the state, hopes for many such ‘wrong-door’ incidents as they seek to help women choose life for their unborn babies,” reported the Criterion Online Edition.

If they submit to counseling, Hoosiers who walk into the “wrong door” and “choose life” can receive up to about $40 in goods over the course their pregnancy and the first year of that child’s life. Perhaps several years ago they may have been eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, but now with the work requirement, they may not qualify.

In a February 2016 interview with National Right to Life, one of the nation’s most prominent anti-choice groups, Gov. Pence said, “Life is winning in Indiana.” Though Pence was referring to the Real Alternatives contract, and the wave of anti-choice legislation sweeping through the state, it’s not clear what “life is winning” actually means. The state’s opioid epidemic claimed 1,172 lives in 2014, a statistically significant increase from the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV infections have spread dramatically throughout the state, in part because of Pence’s unwillingness to support medically sound prevention practices. Indiana’s infant mortality rate is above the national average, and infant mortality among Black babies is even higher. And Pence has reduced access to prevention services such as those offered by Planned Parenthood through budget cuts and unnecessary regulations—while increasing spending on anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers.

Gov. Pence’s track record shows that these policies are no mistake. The medical and financial needs of his most vulnerable constituents have taken a backseat to religious ideology throughout his time in office. He has literally reallocated money for poor Hoosiers to fund anti-choice organizations. In his tenure as both a congressman and a governor, he’s proven that whether on a national or state level, he’s willing to put “pro-life” over quality-of-life for his constituents.