The New Front Line of the Anti-Abortion Movement
As rural health care flounders, crisis pregnancy centers are gaining ground.
By Eliza Griswold
Nov 11, 2019
On the door of a white R.V. that serves as the Wabash Valley Crisis Pregnancy Center’s mobile unit are the stencilled words “No Cash, No Narcotics.” The center, in Terre Haute, Indiana, is one of more than twenty-five hundred such C.P.C.s in the U.S.—Christian organizations that provide services including free pregnancy testing, low-cost S.T.D. testing, parenting classes, and ultrasounds. Sharon Carey, the executive director of the Wabash Valley center, acquired the van in January, 2018, for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, after finding a company that retrofits secondhand vehicles with medical equipment. That May, Carey began to dispatch the van to rural towns whose residents often cannot afford the gas needed to drive to the C.P.C. or to a hospital. Carey has selected parking spots in areas with high foot traffic, so that prospective clients can drop in to learn about the C.P.C.’s services. In Montezuma, she chose the lot outside a Dollar General. In Rockville, she discovered an I.G.A. supermarket frequented by the local Amish community; the van parks next to the hitching post where Amish shoppers tether their buggy horses. Driving straight up to the Amish farms would have been the wrong approach, Carey felt. The community is insular, and was unlikely to welcome outsiders offering their teen-agers free pregnancy tests or screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea.