Massachusetts pregnancy centers form alliance in face of campaign against them

mother and baby A mother and her baby who were served by one of Pregnancy Care Alliance's member centers. | Photo courtesy of Pregnancy Care Alliance of Massachusetts

Pro-life pregnancy centers in Massachusetts have allied to enhance collaboration and share resources amid hostility from advocates for abortion.

CNA has tracked more than 60 pro-abortion attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers since May 2022 — four of which occurred in the Bay State — in which vandals have marked pro-life facilities with threatening graffiti and in some cases broken windows and burned down buildings.

Pregnancy Care Alliance of Massachusetts
Pregnancy Care Alliance of Massachusetts

The Pregnancy Care Alliance of Massachusetts was also formed in response to another threat — the rise in legislation targeting the work of pro-life pregnancy centers in the state. 

Last year, ordinances were enacted in the cities of Cambridge and Somerville, located north of Boston, to issue fines of up to $300 for every instance of “deceptive” advertising by local pregnancy clinics that do not perform abortions or refer clients to those that do perform them.

Other municipalities have attempted to adopt the same ordinance. The state Legislature is currently considering a bill that contains the same language targeting “deceptive advertising” from pro-life pregnancy centers, although there is no definition of the term in it.

That bill in the state Legislature is “clearly aiming to censor protected speech,” Myrna Maloney Flynn, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life (MCFL), told CNA on July 20.

Myrna Maloney Flynn, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. Myrna Maloney Flynn
Myrna Maloney Flynn, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. Myrna Maloney Flynn

MCFL came up with the idea for the pregnancy center alliance in 2022 to serve as a “hub” for the member pregnancy centers, Flynn said.

“The network was formed with a dual mission of building public awareness and also serving more women,” Flynn said. 

One of the ways the alliance is working to share its message is through video testimonials on YouTube of women whose lives were positively impacted through the services of pro-life pregnancy centers.

A 29-year-old woman named “Crystal,” who was able to save the life of her son through the abortion pill reversal method, gave her testimony in a video dated May 17.

After regretting her visit to a Planned Parenthood, Crystal shared her experience with the women working at Abundant Hope pregnancy resource center in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

“There I met the most amazing group of women that really helped me feel confident in my decision and really supported me through the abortion pill reversal,” she said of her visit.

“I am so happy to say that thanks to them and their support, I was able to deliver my son and we had him last April, and he really is the light of my life,” Crystal said.

Flynn said that both MCFL and the pregnancy center alliance are “eager” to tell the stories of women who benefited from the centers. The collaboration means they can wage an effective social media campaign across different platforms.

“Now we work together to come up with creative campaigns, or hashtags or fundraisers, or a series of open houses that we held earlier this year,” she said.

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“We’re hitting multiple audiences way more efficiently than each center could do on [its] own. And so, consequently, we hope that in a shorter amount of time, the public in Massachusetts will be better informed and more widely informed about the truth of pregnancy resource centers,” she added. 

Flynn will be testifying in front of a joint committee in the state’s Legislature on July 24 in order to oppose the passage of the “deceptive advertising” bill called “An Act to protect patient privacy and prevent unfair and deceptive advertising of pregnancy-related services.”

The bill says: “No limited services pregnancy center, with the intent to perform a pregnancy-related service, shall make or disseminate before the public, or cause to be made or disseminated before the public, in any newspaper or other publication, through any advertising device, or in any other manner, including, but not limited to, through use of the internet, any statement concerning any pregnancy-related service or the provision of any pregnancy-related service that is deceptive, whether by statement or omission; and a limited services pregnancy center knows or reasonably should know to be deceptive.”

Using data taken from the member pregnancy centers in the alliance, Flynn will testify that no clinic that is part of the Pregnancy Care Alliance has received complaints related to “deceptive advertising.”

“Furthermore, Pregnancy Care Alliance centers maintain consistently high satisfaction ratings by their clients,” she said. “Thousands of women have found pregnancy resource centers via internet searches and are grateful that they did.”

In March of this year, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, a Democrat, signed a $389 million supplemental budget bill that included a $1 million “public awareness campaign focused on the dangers of crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers.”

It’s unclear how the state is planning to use the funds, as CNA inquired with the governor’s office but did not receive a response. However, Flynn said that MCFL is planning to launch a counter-campaign soon called “$1 million for women.” 

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“The funds raised would support Pregnancy Care Alliance’s member centers and, by extension, women,” Flynn said.

“By nature of the fact of being a network, these pregnancy resource centers become stronger, and with MCFL as the hub, we can help to make them stronger and spread the word about what they do and correct misinformation in the public sphere,” Flynn said.

Several other states have initiatives bringing pro-life pregnancy centers together in collaboration, such as Indiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma. 

The Pregnancy Care Alliance website can be found here.

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