Monday, July 17, 2023

Fake abortion clinics ‘bigger than ever’


   I haven't done a lot of investigative pieces for the paper. But one of the very first stories I wrote for news side, back when I was still writing for the features section, was about fake abortion clinics, and involved me going around and visiting them, with the staffer from a pro-choice group posing as my girlfriend. That was 35 years ago, and it was disappointing — though not surprising — to find they're still a feature on the Chicago landscape. That's why I snapped at this when it came my way.

     Lizz Winstead was 17, a high school senior in Minnesota.
     “I was a Catholic teenager who found myself pregnant, making deals with God and myself,” said Winstead, now 61. “Pregnancy tests weren’t available.”
     There was no internet. She saw an advertisement on the side of a bus about free pregnancy tests. She went to the address, an old house, oddly.
     “I never forgot it,” she recalled. “There was a person in a lab coat, impersonating a doctor. She gave me a pregnancy test. It was positive, and she pulled out a book with all those pictures of bloody fetuses you see at protests outside clinics. She freaked me out.”
     Winstead had stumbled on one of the fake abortion clinics that anti-abortion activists run to lure in young women who fear they are pregnant, so they can be harangued about hellfire and the alleged horrors of a medical procedure far safer than carrying a pregnancy to term.
     Nor are these fake clinics a relic of the past — Illinois, despite being a blue peninsula of women’s rights jutting in an angry red lake of Midwestern religious intolerance, has three times as many sham abortion clinics as real ones.
     “They’re bigger than ever,” said Winstead, a comedian who went on to co-create “The Daily Show” and, in 2015, started a group that became the Abortion Access Front, which came to Chicago over the weekend to rally in front of one of Illinois’ 97 fake abortion clinics.

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  1. Just yesterday I read that ex-VP & forced birther Pence went full on anti-abortion, even worse than before, even when the fetus will be stillborn or has zero chance of living more than a few minutes.
    Apparently, he's even against aborting an ectopic pregnancy, which would kill the pregnant woman.
    These monsters care more about a clump of cells than a living breathing woman, who may already have children to take care of.

  2. Thank you for a calm and instructive piece on abortion rights. (Oddly, spell check wanted to change "piece" to "peace". If only.)

  3. Making The Handmaid’s Tale real

  4. I'm sure that the fake clinics believe they are doing their Lords' work. I am equally sure that they have never lost a love one who was denied an abortion. They have never known a woman who tried to conceive, who went to extremes in the process and then had to deal with the heartbreak of carrying a child who would never take its' first breath.

  5. Well said, Clark and anonymous

  6. The tell is the name of these bogus outfits..."Crisis Pregnancy Center"...that's how you know the clinic is fake. I knew that in 1987. How I knew that, and why, is best left undiscussed.

    Mikey Sixpence even wants to ban all forms of contraception, not just abortion. A third of these Untied Snakes now want to make it legal to use private medical records to persecute and prosecute any woman who travels out-of-state to terminate a pregnancy. These people are sick puppies, and we are living in truly sickening times. It's not going to get any better, either.

    Thanks to the Soo-preems, abortion is now to this century as slavery was to the 19th. If our increasing discord culminates in Version 2.0, among its root causes will be the ultimate expression of self-determination...the struggle for bodily autonomy.

  7. To own the rights of a person should be defined as a form of slavery and forcing a woman to give birth against her will could surely be described as involuntary servitude
    and both should violate the 13th amendment. When will some savvy lawyer run with this concept to guarantee abortion rights to all women.


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