LANSDOWNE, VA – Care Net, a national network of more than 1,100 pregnancy centers, issued the following statement Tuesday in response to HBO’s “12th and Delaware,” a documentary that portrays the issue of abortion through the eyes of two filmmakers who dramatize the work of a pregnancy center and an abortion clinic in Ft. Pierce, Florida:
“While Oscar-nominated filmmakers Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing may have set out to accurately depict the work of these two ‘sides’ of the abortion issue, they clearly did not do the necessary background work of a good documentarian or journalist. Neither Care Net nor any other national pregnancy center organization was contacted, to our knowledge, by these filmmakers for any information. Without a more in-depth, national perspective, or at least interviews with other centers across the nation, how could these filmmakers faithfully portray this movement of approximately 2,300 centers?
“There is much in the film that is disturbing, as is the issue of abortion. It is difficult to know where the filmmakers used artistic license or key details were withheld or manipulated. However, the overall perception that the filmmakers concoct of the pregnancy center and pro-lifers in general is in the style of many 1980's journalists, who ran sound bites of 'angry white male' pro-life protestors and lumped the entire pro-life movement in with them. That’s inaccurate and it’s propaganda.
“Nevertheless, those sidewalk counselors in the film that used hateful or fear-based rhetoric to dissuade women from choosing abortion are misguided and hurting the pro-life cause. The pro-life movement has compassion for both the woman and the child. That means that if the woman chooses abortion, she still needs our compassion and help.
“While the Ft. Pierce pregnancy center featured is not an affiliate of Care Net, they too, like Care Net affiliates, are being targeted by abortion advocates in an effort to smear their reputation and deter women from visiting them for help. Sadly, ‘12th and Delaware’ fits in with that strategy. Groups like NARAL perpetuate the notion that pregnancy centers are scary places that use ‘shock and awe’ tactics to somehow trick women into carrying their pregnancy to term. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Talk to any real client of a pregnancy center and you will hear something like this: “That was the first time, in a long time, that I felt like someone really cared about me.”
“If you’re interested in a more balanced view of the work of pregnancy centers, check out the TIME magazine cover story on pregnancy centers. From Care Net’s perspective, journalist Nancy Gibbs worked diligently to write a fair and accurate article about the work of these local faith-based organizations. While TIME’s piece was not altogether favorable, Gibbs, with the conscience of a good, real journalist, interviewed Care Net for hours and sent us copious emails back and forth to ensure that what she was publishing about the pregnancy center movement was objective and accurate. That’s the type of effort we would expect out of Oscar-nominated filmmakers, but no such emails were exchanged.
“It’s also apparent that Grady and Ewing did not take the time to read the latest in-depth investigation of pregnancy centers which culminated in a report called, A Passion to Serve, A Vision for Life, released October 2009 by Family Research Council. They might have found out that pregnancy centers are well-respected and in long-standing partnerships with a host of community and government agencies that provide support to pregnant women. Had they talked to Care Net they might have discovered that even a good number of abortion providers respect the work of pregnancy centers. In fact, 28 percent of Care Net pregnancy centers reported that abortion providers referred women to them for help last year. They also might have discovered the information used at the end of their film for the number of pregnancy centers was inaccurate.
“So, if you watch the film, we challenge you to take notes and do your own research. Visit your local pregnancy center and find out about their work for yourself. Perhaps you’ve been a client of a pregnancy center yourself – what did you experience? We encourage you to share your story and let the truth be told.”