On April 24, East Liberty found a new neighbor as the Women’s Care Center held its grand opening ceremony. Although the center is marketed as a resource for pregnant women seeking help and advice, abortion workers warn people to read the fine print before walking under the building’s lotus flower sign. .
According to Crystal Grabowski, an abortion worker, the Women’s Care Center is just the latest in a long line of anti-abortion efforts known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), which advocates abortion rights call “fake clinics”. Grabowski says “fake clinics” are a common practice of churches, religious groups and other anti-abortion organizations across the country. Their primary purpose is not to provide sound medical advice to people seeking pregnancy and abortion care. Instead, Gabrowski says, their mission is to advance an anti-abortion agenda, often religiously motivated.
“They’re really betting that people don’t know what to do,” says Grabowski.
In Allegheny County alone, there are more than a dozen CPCs, according to the Pittsburgh DSA Socialist Feminist Committee, many of which feature names with focused language, such as Choices Pregnancy Center (South Side, Coraopolis and Beaver) and the Women’s Clinic (Upper St Clair / Mt. Lebanon).
“They [CPCs] want to appear as close as possible to an abortion provider, ”says Grabowski.
Health Center in East Liberty – CP PHOTO: KAYCEE ORWIG” data-caption=”Allegheny Reproductive Health Center in East Liberty CP photo: Kaycee Orwig” class=”uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle”>
As per Grabowski’s claim, the Women’s Care Center was founded by anti-abortion pastors, televangelists J. Anthony and Tiffany Gilbert, and they are located just one block from the current office of the Allegheny Reproductive Health Center (ARHC ), a women’s health clinic. who provides abortions.
The Women’s Health Center is also located in the same building as the former ARHC address and the logo of the Women’s Health Center building also features a lotus flower, much like the AHRC one.
“It’s clearly their goal to confuse people. It’s very transparent what they do, ”says Grabowski. “I don’t think they hide it very well.”
But the Gilberts see it differently.
They say the logo’s similarity is a “total coincidence.” Tiffany and J. Anthony say they didn’t notice the logo’s similarity until it was brought to their attention.
J. Anthony says they used the lotus flower in their logo because it looked “feminine”.
“There is nothing accidental about this,” says ARHC Director of Nursing Ryah, who prefers not to disclose his full name for reasons of personal safety.
Although Gilbert’s congregation, Another Level Ministries, is based in Mount Washington, they say the decision to open a facility in East Liberty was prompted by both the presence of the ARHC and divine providence.
Although it is not featured on any of the Women’s Care Center’s marketing materials or signage, the center is funded entirely by donations from individuals and other congregations, according to the Gilberts.
Opening the center has been a long-awaited goal for the church, and “the women’s health center is an arm” of “Voices for the Unborn,” the ministry of Another Level Ministries, according to J. Anthony.
“We’re keeping this a little secret,” says Anthony.
Yet J. Anthony insists that the couple are “very transparent in our ministry”.
The Gilberts say they provide a variety of services to the women at the center, including free pregnancy tests, ultrasound referrals, employment assistance and material assistance.
However, hardware assistance, especially more expensive items like cribs and strollers, works on a “earn as you learn” system, according to Tiffany. If women are looking for these items, they have to attend free “classes” in exchange for the item. Each item has a number of course hours that turn into credits which can then be redeemed for needed goods.
The compulsory courses, which were developed by the Gilberts as part of their church’s practice and doctrine, also include “practical life lessons.” While women can opt out of the religious elements of the course, according to Tiffany, they have to take courses to get those larger elements.
Ryah is skeptical of these “learn to win” practices.
“It appears that ‘learning to win’ will be 100% biased,” says Ryah, urging those seeking care to find sound medical advice from legitimate medical providers.
J. Anthony says the center is not a medical clinic, but that they will provide ultrasound referrals to their partner Women’s Choice Network – another organization considered a “fake clinic” by the Pittsburgh DSA Socialist Feminist Committee.
“If you want to have an abortion, you don’t need an ultrasound first,” Grabowski explains.
Grabowski says, when researching abortion and pregnancy care options, look for “red flags.” She says one of the most common tactics of these organizations is to paint a “scary” account of pregnancy. According to Grabowski, CPCs can use language like “Fear? Confuses? We’re here to help, ”language that is featured on the home page of the Women’s Health Center website.
“Ask ‘do you have abortions?’ When you call,” Ryah said. “If they say no, they will try to convince you not to have it.”
For Grabowski and Ryah, the tactics used by CPCs are deeply aggravating, as both claim they seek to confuse or provide misinformation to those in need of pregnancy and abortion care.
“Don’t underestimate the blatant lies and disinformation they spread,” Ryah says.
“Everyone who seeks health care deserves full information from someone who knows what they are talking about,” says Grabowski.