Letter: Organization Disputes Parade Editorial
To the Editor-
Recently the Stevens Point City Times, an online newspaper, published an editorial about the Stevens Point Christmas parade, and specifically the First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center entry, which seemed to cause quite a stir among some community members. Because the SP City Times states in their core values that they believe in a “well-informed electorate, seek the truth, support the open exchange of views, comfort the afflicted, and are open to correcting their mistakes,” we would like the opportunity to respond to their article. The author of the piece stated that they were confused by our float and also misquoted the First Choice verbiage in their article. We would like to clear up that confusion, and correct the verbiage.
We understand. There are some words in this culture that are heavily charged, and ‘abortion’ is one of those words. First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center is not here to create controversy. We exist to inform and help those facing a crisis pregnancy. Since we make no money from our clients or the choices they make, we are able to inform our clients without bias from the bottom line.
We love our community. We love children – born and pre-born. We were in no way trying to be offensive or make parade goers uncomfortable. If that occurred we apologize. However, we suggest a different take on the whole thing. Children come in contact with adult concepts on a daily basis; television, internet, older siblings, even the playground. We encourage you to use this as a teaching opportunity, and plant the seeds of what your values are on this topic.
In the spirit of information and education we would like to take this opportunity to inform the public about some statistics they may not be aware of which were taken into consideration when designing the float. The largest population of individuals contracting sexually transmitted diseases is 12 year olds. An unmarried woman on birth control is 10 times more likely to contract an STD, and most sexually active young adults are carrying on average 3 STDs – that includes our Jr. High and Sr. High school kids. One-in-four women have had an abortion, and a significant majority of those women have negative effects from it.
We would like to correct the op ed piece as well. Our signage did not say “Post Abortion Health Services,” or “Family Planning Services” they said, “Free Post Abortion Help.” Now knowing the statistics of those who have experienced an abortion, and recognizing the number of teens and adults present at the parade, we were simply reaching out to a very relevant population with our signage by saying, “First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center is a gift to the community” by offering FREE help and healing services. Let’s face it, the Christmas Parade has many levels of reasons to exist, attend, and participate. And, like it or not, most businesses participate with publicity in mind as well as the Christmas spirit of community.
All our services are ENTIRELY FREE, and this past year alone we provided over 400 services! Those services include pregnancy tests, options counseling, community referrals, an in house store stocked with practical items for pregnant women and babies, parenting education that goes through 12 months postpartum, birth control and emergency contraception education (we do not dispense medication), help working through past sexual trauma, and yes, help to those struggling with a past abortion because many post-abortive women are afflicted. We would like to be clear – we do not refer or recommend abortion.
Finally, the comments regarding those children carrying our message of services: Two of the four children wrapped as presents in the parade are here due to the direct result of helping organizations like ours. Our work literally saves lives, both women and their children.
We want to also respond to comments regarding the First Choice float being between the Amherst band and 88.5 radio station vehicle. We believe the best thing about the Amherst marching band was the musicians. They really were fantastic. And, for the record, 88.5 “The Family” Christian radio station is wonderful. We encourage you to give them a listen!
May you have a wonderful Christmas season!
First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center