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N.Y. crisis pregnancy center finds legal, moral support

WASHINGTON (BP)–One of the New York crisis pregnancy centers under investigation by the state’s attorney general for possibly providing “deceptive” medical information to women now has big-name legal representation, CNSNews.com reported.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) will fight on behalf of Expectant Mother Care, a New York City-based organization that operates five pro-life crisis pregnancy centers. According to the ACLJ, the investigation by the office of N.Y. Attorney General Elliot Spitzer is “clearly a case of discrimination and harassment.”

Spitzer’s office has issued subpoenas to several crisis pregnancy centers in New York, demanding that they divulge before Feb. 1, the names of all staff members and their credentials, as well as the training materials, policies and procedures used to counsel pregnant women.

According to Vincent McCarthy, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ, “the subpoena is designed to intimidate our client and stifle their pro-life message.” He added that the Virginia-based ACLJ would “challenge the subpoena aggressively in court.”

Darren Dopp, Spitzer’s spokesman, said the investigation is the result of complaints filed by some women who had asked the crisis pregnancy centers for help. Spitzer’s office had no further comment when contacted Jan. 15.

South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon has also injected himself into the controversy, writing a letter to his New York counterpart in which he called Spitzer’s probe an “ill-advised course of action.” In the letter, Condon also endorsed the pregnancy centers for their “outstanding work” and “great service to their communities.”

Condon is running for South Carolina’s Republican gubernatorial nomination.

“Crisis pregnancy centers soothe the pain, relieve the suffering and ease the trauma of women who are hurting,” Condon wrote in his letter to Spitzer. “Those who operate these centers freely give of themselves with a helpful hand and a loving heart.”

Condon wrote that Spitzer’s investigation might not only destroy a non-profit program that helps many women each year, but will discourage communities from volunteering to help those in need.

“Quite often, just meeting next month’s rent or paying bills is a difficult task,” Condon wrote. “Experiencing the heavy hand of the government investigation and facing the hassle of government subpoenas is undoubtedly a frightening experience for these individuals.

“That kind of one-sided power will inevitably discourage community service and volunteerism,” he wrote. “I would respectfully request you to reverse your position and refocus your efforts.”

Brad McBurney, spokesperson for Condon, said the attorney general heard about the New York investigation from a CNSNews.com article published Jan. 8. McBurney said Condon wrote the letter to ensure that Spitzer heard both sides of the issue concerning crisis pregnancy centers.

“Attorney General Condon wanted to make sure that General Spitzer was not hearing just one side of the story on crisis pregnancy centers, because we know from our efforts to assist crisis pregnancy centers here in South Carolina, that the other side of the fence, the pro-abortion side is adamantly opposed to those centers, and see them as threats,” McBurney said.

“We wanted to make sure General Spitzer got some accurate information as to what those crisis pregnancy centers do and the types of folks that volunteer their time there.”

McBurney said the South Carolina attorney general witnessed, first-hand, the work done at crisis pregnancy centers, after an unrelated legal victory left the state with $400,000 to be spent on women’s health and education. State officials decided to split the money evenly between rape/domestic violence centers and crisis pregnancy centers. Each South Carolina crisis pregnancy center was allotted $13,000.
Pierce is a staff writer with www.CNSNews.com. Used by permission.

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  • Jason Pierce