Reproductive Justice Action Milwaukee targets crisis pregnancy centers in Wisconsin
Milwaukee, WI – Nearly two dozen people gathered in front of the Farwell Women’s Care Center on Milwaukee’s East Side on the morning of Saturday, November 18, to raise awareness of local crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) throughout the state. Reproductive Justice Action Milwaukee hosted the picket and chalk-writing action to raise awareness and highlight the risks these centers pose to reproductive healthcare, by the CPCs masquerading as legitimate health facilities.
“Crisis pregnancy centers are tools of reproductive injustice. They place themselves in marginalized communities to purposely target oppressed nationalities and they lie about being able to provide long-term support to the pregnant person after they give birth,” said Lauren Forbush, the chair of the Reproductive Justice Action Milwaukee (RJAM). “The decision to have an abortion is not as simple as 'making a decision or having a choice.' Most times people have an abortion because their situation under capitalism doesn’t allow them to have a choice.”
RJAM held a traditional picket and chalk-writing, led chants, and had three speakers outside the center. Favorite chants from picketers included, “We are unstoppable, another world is possible!” and “Get up, get down, Milwaukee is a pro-choice town!” Chalk designs also included slogans such as “free lies inside” and “Anti-abortion clinic.”
Aside from Forbush representing RJAM, there were other speakers from the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Medical Students for Choice (MCW-MSC) and the Affiliated Medical Services Escorts. All three speakers outlined the various ways in which CPCs have directly impacted the community at large. A couple of speakers detailed their personal experiences either seeking care at a CPC or escorting at an abortion care facility across the road, while MCW-MSC highlighted the dangers and medical misinformation these centers have been known to give vulnerable patients. All speakers gave a call to action to demand the Wisconsin state assembly to vote “no'' on AB 344.
SB 345 and AB 344 would allocate $1 million of taxpayer money to ChooseLife Wisconsin, which would in turn disperse these funds to the over 80 crisis pregnancy centers in the state. This is in direct opposition to state statutes that prohibit the same funds be used by legitimate medical facilities that provide or counsel individuals on receiving abortion care. SB 345 has already passed through the state senate in October.
Crisis pregnancy centers are run by anti-abortion organizations that prioritize birth over the health and wellbeing of the pregnant person. These facilities will use deceit, lies and shame in an attempt to coerce individuals into not seeking abortion care. Free ultrasounds and pregnancy testing are performed by predominantly volunteer workers with no proper medical training and routinely provide inaccurate dating of the pregnancy. They also provide counseling that contains outright false claims that link abortion to increased rates of breast cancer and suicide in an attempt to scare people aware from seeking abortion care. To make matters worse, these facilities also refuse birth control to patients and use more lies and shame to promote abstinence-only sexual “education.”
Forbush indicated that future actions, such as a call-in campaign, are in the works to contact representatives to vote “no '' on these bills, as well as future pickets in front of other crisis pregnancy centers.