Feminist organization pushes campaign against pregnancy clinics

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A feminist organization is trying to warn students about two pregnancy clinics near campus it says misinform women, but the clinics insist they are truthful with their clients.

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s “Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics” is an effort against crisis pregnancy centers that give women inaccurate information about abortion. The closest center to campus is the Northwest Center, located near Dupont Circle, but another clinic is located on Capitol Hill.

Jacqueline Sun, a campus organizer for FMF – a nonprofit organization that raises awareness on feminist issues – said the campaign’ goal is to have students be able to discern between a real crisis pregnancy center and a fake clinic, which she said would give clinic-goers inaccurate information about abortion.

“It varies a lot from CPC to CPC, some are more deceptive than others,” she said, referring to crisis pregnancy centers.

Sun said the problem is with crisis pregnancy centers that advertise as full health clinics. She said the FMF wants to make sure the centers “provide what they advertise.”

Susan Haney, the associate director of GW’s Student Health Service, said in an e-mail that Student Health Service does not refer to the Northwest Center.

“We actually don’t have many students come to Student Health Service with pregnancy concerns,” Haney said. “If termination is being considered or decided on we will provide counseling, information and referrals. We usually refer to Planned Parenthood. We offer follow up visits to give support to the students if needed as they make their decision.”

Cynthia Gilday, director of the Northwest Center, said the center does not make referrals for abortions and that it is not a medical clinic.

“I just get frustrated with attacks on crisis pregnancy centers,” she said in response to the FMF campaign. “We’re not political.”

Gilday said clients do a urine pregnancy test themselves and are referred to a doctor to determine if they’re really pregnant.

“We see a lot of college-aged people but they’re not always in college,” Gilday said.

Vickie Graf, a senior and the president of GW student organization Colonials For Life, said her group would like to get pamphlets from the Northwest Center at the Student Health Service.

Since the group started in 2003, members of Colonials For Life have volunteered at the Northwest Center and collected items for mothers at the center through its annual Baby Items Drive.

The Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, another center in the District, is associated with Care Net, a Christian-based national network.

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“We don’t recommend abortion, we don’t give them recommendations on where to go, they can find that out themselves,” said Executive Director Janet Durig.

Durig said the center is not a medical clinic, and of the center’s over 2,000 clients a year, only 3 to 4 percent are college students.

“If they bring up abortion, we don’t run from the subject. We do not give false information,” she said of the women that visit the center.

Durig said her center would like to be able to advertise on college campuses in the area but doesn’t due to a lack of funds.

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