Speaking of Women's Rights: “The HIV virus slips through condoms like grains of rice through a tennis racket.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

“The HIV virus slips through condoms like grains of rice through a tennis racket.”

Multiple choice: whom do we have to thank for this vivid nugget of misinformation? And let me be clear: the title of this post is NOT TRUE.
  1. Condom industry saboteurs, attempting to take down Trojan (et al) for unknown reasons.
  2. Judy, the talking embryo
  3. “Nurses” in “clinics” offering “pregnancy options counseling.”
If you picked 3, congratulations: you’ve got a fully functional BS detector.

Limited service pregnancy centers (sometimes called crisis pregnancy centers) are set up by organizations with the purported mission of offering services and advice to pregnant women. Which would be fine, if they weren’t also spreading lies. If you were to walk into one of these places…

You might: see staff in white coats, giving pregnancy tests and ultrasounds.
But: no doctors or nurses! Limited service pregnancy centers are not medical clinics, and they’re not regulated as such. In general, they’re staffed by volunteers.
You might: be given a pregnancy test.
But: you could get the same one at your local drugstore. Remember, these aren’t medical clinics – they don’t have any more access to medical tests than you do. Chances are you’ll have to wait a while for those test results, even though they usually only take a few minutes… funny, I wonder why it takes so long? Anyway, prepare to hear an earful while you wait, because...

You might: ask questions about pregnancy.
But: don’t expect the answers to be true! Volunteers who visited limited service pregnancy centers in Washington to gather information for Legal Voice were told the gem about rice and tennis rackets, as well as:
  • “if you are 2 ½ weeks late, it [pregnancy] won’t show up on a test. You should wait a few more weeks before coming back.”

  • “wait until [you’re] 12 weeks and see if [you] miscarry.”
This isn’t just happening in Washington – NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia posted a video about similar experiences.

It’s nefarious to take advantage of women’s need for medical information in order to spread anti-choice ideology. Legal Voice is supporting legislation in Washington that would require limited service pregnancy centers to be honest and upfront about their services, to protect the privacy of medical records, and to provide medically and scientifically accurate information.

The bill is in danger of getting stuck in committee – if you live in Washington, please contact members of the Senate Health Care Committee TODAY and ask them to support Senate Bill 6452.

If you’re still not convinced, Lisa Stone wrote a great post last week on why these organizations ought to be legally obliged to be truthful about who they are and what they do.