I have a huge problem with so-called ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centres’. It’s less what they’re promoting than the fact that they’re terribly deceptive. Young women who are experiencing a ‘crisis’ pregnancy need real counselling regarding their options and that’s what many of them expect from a place that says it deals with ‘Crisis pregnancies’… but in fact these organizations are pro-life and often very manipulative.

So, it also bothers me when an organization like the Ottawa Senator’s wives organization, called Better Halves, raises money from unsuspecting hockey fans and then gives that money to a crisis pregnancy centre. Given the fact that the money donated is being matched by the Ottawa Senator’s foundation as well, I find this even more problematic. Heather Mallick explains on Rabble.ca

The Better Halves are giving a third of the proceeds of this year’s $50,000 Christmas Tree raffle to First Place Pregnancy Centre, an Ottawa anti-abortion group run by Pentecostal Christians.

Planned Parenthood told me it frequently talks to women who went to these apparently welcoming places for counselling on the three options — abortion, adoption and parenting. The group says women report feeling badly treated.

A Crisis Pregnancy Centre just opened up near where I live and everyday that I drive by it I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I hate thinking of the young women who get ambushed there. But it is worse that just that. These organizations are often not just anti-abortion, they are anti-birth control…. as Heather Mallick finds out….

I had an initially cheerful phone interview with Sens Foundation president Dave Ready, who said the Better Halves, when asked to choose three charities, chose:
• First Place.• Kids Help Phone.• Harmony House (a women’s shelter).

First Place was “in line with our mandate,” he said. “We did due diligence and checked that it’s a charity.”

“You went to the website?” I asked.


“Did you check on the links?”


We went through the First Place site links together. There’s a standard disclaimer but First Place hopes we’ll find them “helpful.” I told Ready that some of the news headlines appeared to be libellous, particularly the ones linking corporations that make birth control drugs to the Jewish Holocaust and one drug itself to Nazi death camps. Others were grotesque: “One baby in 30 left alive after medical abortion” turns out to be an absurd, unsubstantiated anonymous “news story” in a British entertainment magazine.

You’re also guided to a donation page for the American Life League, a hardline group based outside Washington. There’s a shop, admittedly very funny, that sells “Abortion is mean” T-shirts for two-year-olds.

They offer booklets explaining that abortion is wrong even in the case of incest. They tell members to scare away raped children outside abortion clinics. They call RU-486 “the anti-human pesticide.” They offer sample letters to the editor to send to outlets that employ, I imagine, columnists like me. One begins: “Planned Parenthood is not ‘a good guy.’”

Ready gets more and more quiet as we track this. Soon he is desperate to get off the phone. He will not let me talk to a Better Half, who might well explain that she hadn’t known that First Place is financed by the Bethel Pentecostal Church in Ottawa and its mission — declared on the Bethel website but nowhere on the First Place site — is not just anti-abortion but anti-birth control.