Misrepresenting our mission

This Sacramento crisis pregnancy center doesn’t fool women seeking abortions

Marie Leatherby is executive director of Sacramento Life Center, which runs Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic.

The entire basis for Emily Loen’s opinion piece about crisis pregnancy centers is inherently flawed. She presumes that all crisis pregnancy centers are “designed to look medical … and advertise to pregnant people looking for an abortion provider.”

Since she specifically called out Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, I thought it would be helpful to Ms. Loen to have a few more facts. First, we are an accredited medical clinic with an OB/GYN as our medical director and a registered nurse as our clinic director. Second, the vast majority of women who come through our doors specifically state that they want to carry their pregnancy to term but are fearful of how they will have the resources or confidence to raise the child—and most were told by pregnancy clinics that provide abortions that there was nothing they could do to help.

Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic fills an important need for these women. We provide the resources they need for a healthy pregnancy and a happy child—because that is what they tell us they want. They are not looking for an abortion provider. We provide pregnancy tests, STD tests, nondiagnostic ultrasounds and prenatal vitamins, and we connect women to low- or no-cost prenatal care. Every woman we see who decides to carry her pregnancy to term receives one of our Baby Baskets that are overflowing with baby clothes, diapers, formula and many other necessities that women cannot always afford. Every woman we see can come to us whenever they have any needs for their family for the rest of their lives. Ninety-nine percent of the women who walk through our doors state on their exit surveys that they are satisfied or very satisfied with the services they received at our clinic—a pretty clear sign that they do not feel duped as Ms. Loen suggests.

Ms. Loen also generalizes about all crisis pregnancy centers saying, “Once inside, clients are given a home pregnancy test and told abortion leads to breast cancer … and that your boyfriend is just using you for sex.” The peer counselors and advocates at Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic say nothing of this nature, and I am surprised that Ms. Loen would presume she knows what is stated in every crisis pregnancy center—and that we somehow all have a joint script.

She also states that Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, along with all Sacramento crisis pregnancy centers, are members of the Christian organization Care Net. While Care Net may list our organization as a crisis pregnancy center in Sacramento, we are not an affiliate. Affiliates pay an annual fee of $225 per year. The strange misnomer that my family’s long-respected ice cream business somehow has a policy offering free sodas to pro-life protesters is also inaccurate.

While comparing women’s health needs to finding the best “rolled tacos slathered with guacamole” certainly catches people’s attention, it also shows Ms. Loen’s deep misunderstanding of the many needs that pregnant women face, far beyond the question of whether or not to have an abortion. These are strong women working to find the best multifaceted solution for their families and they should not be treated as somehow incompetent at understanding how to find the care they need and want.

We are impressed that SN&R’s new editor values making Sacramento a “happier and healthier community for everyone,” per the article published in July. Certainly helping women who find themselves pregnant with nowhere to turn for help in having a healthy pregnancy and happy child would fall under this umbrella.

Ms. Loen, you ask: “Why the lies?”

I would ask you the same.