By Brie Winnega, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 14, 2014
A film crew from a national media organization joined members and supporters of Students for Choice Thursday to document a discussion on crisis pregnancy centers.
Students for Choice is an organization that promotes abortion education and making contraception easily accessible for University students.
Katie Stack, founder and director of the Crisis Project, a movement to investigate and expose threats posed by CPCs, led the discussion in place of Public Policy junior Carly Manes, a Students for Choice activist. Manes, who spoke at a fundraiser in New York City this week, was prevented from returning to campus in time due to a delayed flight. Earlier this week, Manes was selected as forUM’s Central Student Government presidential nominee.
“I was really very sad about it, but I knew that there was an incredible group of students on campus who care about this, who are passionate, who would show up and who would really ensure that it was a great segment,” Manes said.
She said she met Stack at a conference last year, which is how she got interested in CPCs.
“She kind of mentored me in how to get exposure, how to let people know the truth about what a CPC is, and from there it just kind of took off,” Manes said.
Manes said the media organization contacted Stack to work on a story about CPCs, and Stack then directed the crew to Manes.
“I think it’s great that it’s going to get into mainstream media,” Manes said. “I think it’s really, really important that these stories are told as many times as possible and that these stories are widespread.”
During the discussion, Stack took time to explain CPCs and what she sees as their dangers.
“Crisis pregnancy centers are really the grassroots army of the anti-abortion business,” she said. “They’re small organizations that their goal is to be a step in between a woman finding out she is pregnant and actually interacting with an abortion clinic.”
Stack also discussed her experience in undercover operations, during which she uses an audio recorder, a video camera hidden in a purse and a sample of urine to falsify a positive pregnancy test administered by the CPC.
Manes said she has been undercover five times and plans to use audio and video evidence from these operations to expose the nature of CPCs to University students. She added that she hopes students will learn what these organizations really do and that CPCs will begin to advertise themselves truthfully.
“They call themselves judgment-free, which they‘re not,” Manes said. “They call themselves a place where they can give you a wide range of options, which they’re not.”
Manes said she grew up with accessible sexual education — something she was surprised and upset to learn is not the case for everyone.
“The problem is that CPCs are furthering this,” Manes said. “‘Young people don’t deserve to know about their own lives, their own bodies and we’re going to tell them how to make their decisions.’ That’s what CPCs do.”
Manes said her work is focused in Ann Arbor, especially at the nearby CPC called Arbor Vitae, but hopes to expand in the future.
Editor's Note: The name of the media organization has been removed to protect an ongoing journalistic investigation.