The subway ads featuring a dejected young woman with the words “Free abortion alternatives” in bold yellow writing always looked like pro-life propaganda to us, but women who find themselves pregnant without resources don’t have the luxury of being so dismissive. There’s a reason the word “free” gets the most emphasis. The results of a yearlong investigation by Naral Pro-Choice New York reveal what happens to the women who call the numbers at the bottom of those ads and make their way to one of the twelve E.M.C. FrontLine Pregnancy Centers around the city. As it turns out, that free abortion alternative they advertised was … dun dun dun dah: staying pregnant and having the baby! The “free” in that instance must refer to the advice itself and not the cost of the promoted option.
Women interested in discussing abortion were told medically refuted data that abortions cause higher rates of breast cancer. Other lucky confused young women were treated to graphic images and told “God will never forgive you.” A new bill proposed today would force those centers, in some cases located across the street from a Planned Parenthood, to indicate what they don’t provide (the morning-after pill) and state clearly that they don’t have a licensed medical professional on staff.