Like a Prayer: God & Abortion at the Pregnancy Support Center | Community Notebook | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Like a Prayer: God & Abortion at the Pregnancy Support Center 

Last Updated: 06/29/2013 11:49 am

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"It has been documented that when the client sees her unborn child at any stage, her understanding is raised. This greatly enhances her ability to make an informed decision," she said.

Since last April, La Rose has addressed the Ulster County legislature and the town of Ulster town board to announce the center's presence. She's also been a guest on Kingston's WGHQ morning show and Lake Katrine's WFGB, as well as at over a dozen churches. She next plans to appeal to middle and high schools, both public and private, to install an abstinence program that lapsed two years ago when Siletsky left.

"These programs would not necessarily come from a scriptural point of view, but more from a common sense perspective," she explained.

La Rose seems undaunted by the sobering statistics showing that nearly half of all US pregnancies are unintended and half of all women in the US will have an abortion. She does not believe in providing birth control education to the majority of teens who will have sex despite abstinence education, and has no answers for them. According to La Rose, the Bible has all the answers.

"We may not reach all students," La Rose conceded, "but even if we only reach a few, those few can give the gift of virginity to their spouses."

Currently, she is seeking a volunteer abstinence director to administer these programs, but hopes to one day be able to afford a paid position. In stark contrast, Planned Parenthood opposes any limitation or restriction on the access of adolescents to confidential contraception and abortion. While federal and state taxes currently fund Planned Parenthood programs in New York public schools, La Rose may have soon have Congress on her side: President George Bush has proposed doubling federal funding for abstinence-only programs to $270 million in 2005. La Rose currently has an annual budget of $100,000 and said she has little to spare. However, she said that PSC and other CareNet affiliates do not now, nor do they ever want to, accept public funds, because the centers would then be subject to government oversight. In May, PSC organized a baby bottle campaign that invited people to take home the bottles, drop in their loose change at the end of each day, and return them to the centers when full.

Mary Tyler, office manager of the New Paltz Planned Parenthood, said most of the women who come to her clinic choose abortion. Adoption is the least popular choice, but she emphasized that her staff does not try to sway clients one way or another. Planned Parenthood is staffed by medical professionals who advise clients of all their options, including information on the nature, consequences, and risks of abortion, and counseling on the alternatives, Tyler said.

Pat Ernenwein, executive director of the Planned Parenthood program covering clinics in Ulster, Dutchess, Sullivan, and Orange counties, said she refers women to the Pregnancy Support Centers because she believes women need all the choices they can get.

"We take advantage of any community resources available," she said. " We'll do anything to get these young mothers what they need because they have nothing."

Ernenwein's co-executive director, Steve White, said while he believes PSC and operations like it provide some good, their subjective view can have devastating results.

"They do some good because they provide Pampers and cribs and so forth," White said. "The major problem with them is they are biased in the information they give. Occasionally they talk or facilitate a young girl into keeping her baby. The problem with that is no one's around to help that girl a year or two after she gives birth. They [PSC] are great during the pregnancy and the first few months to a year, but after that they are nowhere to be seen, then this young mother and her child are left out in this cruel world all by themselves. It's an enormous injustice. I think it's an unintended effect of what they do. It's just not an objective process. They don't offer alternatives."

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