First Choice, Planned Parenthood are not the same (Letter to the Editor)
Those of us who, with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, find ourselves filled anew with gratitude to live in a firmly pro-choice city and state may be surprised to learn that there is a pro-life crisis pregnancy center, First Choice Women's Resource Centers, located right on Bloomfield Avenue (with other locations in Newark, Jersey City, Morristown and New Brunswick).
One of the primary missions of crisis pregnancy centers is typically to persuade pregnant people not to get abortions. In the words of First Choice's Volunteer Handbook, "life begins at conception" and "we believe that our expression of love and service to God requires that we work to protect and honor life in all stages of creation. We are therefore committed to providing clients with accurate and complete information about both prenatal development and abortion."
However, you won't see this statement on their website for clients, 1stchoice.org (which is also the main website that comes up for them on Google Maps). Nor will you find any mention of their affiliation with Care Net, an organization that "empowers women and men considering abortion to choose life for their unborn children and find abundant life in Christ." Such info is found only on a separate website, 1stchoicefriends.org, intended for employees, volunteers and donors.
Meanwhile, visitors to 1stchoice.org could be forgiven for believing that First Choice is little different from Planned Parenthood. At the top of the home page, "compassionate care when you need it the most" is prominently advertised, next to a photo of a woman in scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck. Services like pregnancy testing and STD screening are offered (along with "pre-abortion evaluations"). References to "choosing life," religion and the like are predictably nonexistent in any form.
If any of this disturbs you, consider contacting your state legislator and urging them to support the passage of Bill A2145, sponsored by Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, which would make it unlawful in New Jersey for crisis pregnancy centers to make deceptive or misleading statements or representations with regard to pregnancy-related services. Thanks for everything you do to support reproductive rights!