One late-night host is smearing pregnancy centers for “dubious information.” But he’s one to talk.
On Sunday, during Last Week Tonight, HBO host John Oliver spent more than 20 minutes bashing crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) or “facilities whose primary purpose is to talk women out of terminating a pregnancy.” (Not, of course, a baby.) For a skit, he created his own “center” where women are told that, after abortion, they’ll have a “ghost baby that’ll haunt your hoo-ha forever.”
According to Oliver, the “tactics” of these centers are “disingenuous and predatory.” Just like his own “center,” Vanned Parenthood, which he created with “wife” Wanda Jo (played by comedian and SNL alum Rachel Dratch).
“We filed paperwork in New York to create a new nonprofit, Our Lady of Choosing Choice, to set up our own crisis pregnancy center,” he joked. “Behold our new mobile crisis pregnancy center.”
He watched as a van offering free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests drove up and Wanda popped out with a, “Howdy there, Pastor John … Praise be and welcome to Vanned Parenthood.”
Besides the play on Planned Parenthood, Wanda likely referenced the forced-birth dystopia, The Handmaid’s Tale. “Praise be” is a familiar phrase for viewers of the show (which the media compare to “Trump’s America”) as it follows “handmaids” who are forced to bear children for the upper class.
Oliver used the phrase generously himself as he stressed that, with their van, they can preach with “whatever dubious information comes into our heads.”
“I tell women if they get an abortion, it’ll make a ghost baby that’ll haunt your hoo-ha forever,” she warned. Also, “getting an abortion turns your breast milk into kombucha” and, afterwards, “your vagina seals shut like an Egyptian tomb.”
But her real surprise came when she discovered that Oliver was pregnant: “You’re pregnant, it’s a miracle!” Wanda exclaimed to Oliver, just like any other crisis pregnancy center representative would (not).
“Yes!” Oliver reacted. “I’m with child.” He had just one question after finding out: “How do you feel about birth control?”
While Wanda offers condoms, they’re “0% effective,” she said. “Because I cut the tips off these suckers. Let’s you blow the Holy Spirit right on through.”
Oliver expressed delight that centers like his are tax exempt and “we could be eligible for government funding.” Wanda agreed, adding, “Praise women being too darn emotional to make decisions about their own bodies!”
Oliver concluded with one other “point.”
“This is all perfectly legal and there is absolutely nothing stopping us from parking outside an abortion clinic tonight and haranguing people first thing in the morning,” he said. “And frankly, there really fucking should be.”
If they do it like he does, sure. But crisis pregnancy centers don’t. And if he visited some of them instead of spewing out abortion industry talking points, he would know that.
For example, Care Net, a network of more than 1,100 affiliated pregnancy centers, has “provided over $112 million in free services in the last two years to people in need of support in making pregnancy and family decisions.” On a more local level, the Northwest Center provides both a maternity home and pregnancy center while the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center offers free supplies, information, childbirth and parenting classes in Washington, D.C.
Although, Oliver claimed to know all that.
“They will say that their fervently held beliefs can justify some of the methods,” he said. “And they might point to the assistance that some centers provide to young mothers like parenting classes and free diapers, which is great, if those women want to be mothers.”
But, he complained, these centers don’t “often make” their purpose “clear,” from creating “friendly-looking ads” to including “choice” in their name. He pick and chose certain examples to try to prove most centers are “catfishing” or “luring” in women because “they’re about controlling women’s sexual behavior.”
Or, you know, maybe they acknowledge a pregnancy consists of a human person growing in the woman’s womb. Maybe they’re about representing the unborn baby’s choice. But never mind that.
Oliver decided that “what is happening with CPCs is that way too often women with unplanned pregnancies are being actively misled while trying to access healthcare.”
Sure, they shouldn't mislead. But he should apply that rule to his friend Planned Parenthood, which advertises pregnancy testing, adoption services, and prenatal services while prioritizing abortion.
Last year, two Live Action interview videos showed former Planned Parenthood employees discussing how women were “treated like cattle” and “herded” through clinics. In another, a former manager admitted Planned Parenthood had “abortion quotas” that, if met, would result in pizza parties.
Other videos have exposed Planned Parenthood’s lack prenatal services and demonstrated that ultrasounds are used almost exclusively for abortion.
According to Planned Parenthood’s most recently published annual report, the organization performed 321,384 abortions and received $543.7 million in “government health services, reimbursements & grants” for the year 2016 – 2017. For every prenatal service given, Planned Parenthood performed 41 abortions, and for every adoption referral, Planned Parenthood committed close to 83 abortions.
Try ranting about that, Oliver.