Part 4 – Do CPCs pretend they are medical clinics as Arthur states?
One of Arthur’s favourite allegations against CPCs is that they pretend to be unbiased medical clinics or counselling centres. This false allegation is repeated over and over again every time Arthur writes on the topic of CPCs. Arthur also likes to call CPCs “fake clinics” which is both derogatory and untrue.
Of the 100 CPC websites identified in Arthur’s latest report, I did find one group which actually is a medical facility. Since this group is a medical clinic, that leaves 99 actual CPC sites, of which 77 specifically state that they are not medical clinics or that they would provide referrals for medical care (meaning they aren’t a medical facility).
This leaves 22 sites. Of these remaining sites, there is nothing on their sites to imply that they are medical clinics.
For instance, Birthright clearly explains what services they provide (see part 2 above). And nothing Birthright says on their website refers to medical services. They do say this on their “Services” page:
“Referrals to: Medical supports” (Source: http://birthright.org/en/our-services)
So Birthright does refer to medical services. This is very clear. This fact would hold true for all of Birthright’s 26 locations, and not 56 locations as Arthur misinforms her readers.
Most CAPSS CPCs also say on their sites that they are not medical clinics.
Brian Norton stated in the CAPSS rebuttal of Arthur’s 2009 report on this topic:
“We are not pretending to be professional counselling agencies or medical clinics. As is noted on our CAS charity’s CPC website: The Crisis Pregnancy Centre is not a medical facility. We do not perform or refer for abortions. We provide non-judgmental, compassionate support and information on all pregnancy options. Our services are not intended as a substitute for professional counselling or therapy.
Though centre staff have a wide variety of professional training (e.g. social workers, counsellors, nurses, educators and pastors), CPCs are primarily peer counselling agencies. The CAPSS centres which do offer medical services, like STD/STI testing or ultrasounds, have staff with appropriate certification and will advertise themselves accordingly.”
“We respectfully challenge Ms. Arthur to publicly disclose which centres in British Columbia are alleged to be pretending to be medical clinics or professional counseling centres.” (Source: Page 33 of CAPSS rebuttal)
Arthur never disclosed which centres in BC she believes are pretending. And in her 2016 report Arthur is still making these false allegations, both in her writings and in her presentation to the BCHA.
Further, CAPSS policies in their 2017 Core Documents:
- “All of our advertising and communication are truthful and honest and accurately describe the services we offer” (Commitment of Care and Competence #8).
- “Medical services are provided in accordance with all applicable laws, and in accordance with pertinent medical standards, under the supervision and direction of a licensed physician.” (Commitment of Care and Competence #12).
- “The affiliate centre is committed to integrity in dealing with clients, earning their trust, and providing promised information and services. The affiliate centre denounces any form of deception in its corporate advertising or conversation with clients, agencies, or other individuals.” (Statement of Principles #8)
Clearly, CAPSS member centres (and other CPCs) do not pretend they are medical clinics.
In fact, if you Google “medical clinics in Canada,” no crisis pregnancy centres come up:
If a woman is looking on the internet for a medical clinic, she will find one, and it won’t be a CPC.
Arthur takes particular offense when a CPC does not explicitly say they are not a medical clinic. A quick look at any of the links that come up from the Google search above reveals actual medical clinics. You will quickly see all kinds of medical personnel identified on these sites, such as doctors, residents, etc. It is pretty obvious they are medical clinics.
And medical clinics frequently use the word “medical” in their title. You will see none of this for a CPC, and they never use the word “medical” in their title. You mostly see the words “peer counselling” on CPC sites, which is what most CPCs engage in.
If you Google “abortion clinics in Canada,” again no crisis pregnancy centres are found. If a woman is looking on the internet for an abortion clinic, she will find one:
In fact, the first link to come up in this last Google search is Joyce Arthur’s own list of abortion clinics in Canada:
But there’s something else here that I would like to draw the reader’s attention to. Why do CPCs even need to say they are not a medical clinic in the first place? (Unless they specifically do provide medical services which most do not.) CPCs don’t say anything about nurses or doctors or medical staff on their sites. Nothing about medical services care.
Anyone reading these sites can easily see what CPCs do and what they don’t do. If you don’t read anything about medical services care on these websites, then clearly the CPC does not provide medical services care.
Even though CAPSS has completely debunked Arthur’s medical clinic allegations from 2009, Arthur continues to say it in 2016. And she refuses to show any proof of her allegations, even after being challenged by CAPSS. She continues to spread falsehoods.
Crisis pregnancy centres are real places, providing real help, for real women, in real crisis pregnancy situations. They are not “fake clinics” as Arthur has also stated. CPCs are neither fake, nor are they clinics. In fact, CPCs do not even call themselves clinics (a name that connotes medicine); they call themselves centres.
Some examples of Arthur’s use of the term “fake clinics” to describe crisis pregnancy centres:
Another repeated theme of Arthur’s when she is attacking CPCs is that many CPCs come from a Christian (i.e. Protestant and Catholic) perspective/background. But here’s the thing. What does it matter to Arthur if this is the case, and why does she even care?
Does she think all people with a faith background are incompetent or sinister?
In fact, Arthur, a self-identified atheist, would probably be more than welcome at a CPC. Why? Because CPCs do not discriminate or impose their Christian faith/beliefs on clients. They serve women and men of all religions and creeds, and with no faith/religious background.From CAPSS Core Document:
“I will be non-judgmental and I will not discriminate against any client on the basis of race, colour, religion, creed, national origin, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, lifestyle or other arbitrary circumstances.” (Code of Counselling and Peer Support Ethics #1)
“Clients are served without regard to race, colour, religion, creed, national origin, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, lifestyle or other arbitrary circumstances.” (Commitment of Care and Competence #1)
Seems pretty straightforward, clear, and concise as to what CAPSS requires of their staff and volunteers.
As for Birthright CPCs, Arthur says this:
“Another 56 CPCs in Canada (31%) are Birthright centres*, affiliates of Birthright International, which was founded by a Catholic woman and is still Catholic-oriented.” (Source: Page 27 of Arthur’s 2016 report)
*(As noted above Birthright does not have 56 CPCs in Canada, as Arthur states, only 26.)
Although Birthright is Catholic in origin, it is a secular/non-sectarian organization. Volunteers can be of any faith or of no faith background:
“Birthright welcomes volunteers of any age, race, gender, or religion who believe firmly in the Birthright philosophy and have a sincere desire to help pregnant women.” (Source: http://birthright.org/en/get-involved)
Considering the fact that Arthur tells us her study was conducted through reviewing centres’ websites and a few phone calls, how does Arthur know Birthright is “Catholic-oriented”? Did she get this from their website? Clearly she didn’t because there is nothing on their site that says this. What is the point of this erroneous observation? And what does Arthur have against Catholics anyway?
Here is what Birthright’s website does say:
“Birthright cares...for every woman who comes to us. We are non-judgmental, and are not involved in any religious or political activities. Birthright is here to help mothers make a plan for their future and the future of their unborn baby.” (Source: http://birthright.org/en/our-philosophy)
“Birthright takes a non-moralistic, non-judgmental approach toward helping women through their pregnancy dilemmas. Louise regretted the fact that some young unmarried mothers were belittled or ostracized by their relatives: "I can never see anything wrong with any of them."
At Birthright, Louise recreated the supportive homelike environment they deserved. Moreover, Louise helped formulate a Charter, followed by all Birthright chapters worldwide, to define Birthright’s services, to ensure that pregnant women receive the same considerate treatment at every Birthright chapter, and to help volunteers preserve Birthright’s good reputation in the future.” (Source: http://birthright.org/en/discover-birthright)
I then asked Birthright a few more questions.
Is Birthright faith based?
“We are faith based in that all of the volunteers are 100% pro-life and must be to volunteer at Birthright. However we are not affiliated with any specific denomination. Our Charter says we are interdenominational.”
Would you accept volunteers who are atheists for example, as long as they are pro-life?
“We would not ask the religious views of a potential volunteer.”
Do you provide ultrasounds?
“No, we are not a medical facility, therefore [it’s] not allowed in Canada.”
Do you provide any medical services?
“We provide a free urine pregnancy test. We do not diagnose pregnancy as we are not a medical facility. We have a list of pro-life doctors who will look after our clients.”
So Birthright is not faith-based. Birthrights are not medical clinics. Birthright does not even ask volunteers what their faith is.
If Arthur has issues with these facts/values/ethics/commitments, then the problem doesn’t lie with persons of a Christian faith. Or with the CPCs.
I certainly hope these practices are not a problem for Arthur because it sounds like they might be.