The presence of pregnancy crisis vans on Fairfield Way at the University of Connecticut have attracted protests against the organization Caring Families Pregnancy Services, Inc.
On Oct. 26, Caring Families Pregnancy Services held a fundraiser in UConn’s Rome Ballroom. During the fundraiser, members of Youth for Socialist Action, Socialist Resurgence CT and International Women’s Strike CT protested outside the doors of the Rome Ballroom.
Ellie Lott, a fifth-semester psychology major, is part of Socialist Resurgence CT on campus, and helped organize the protest.
“There are stories about how sometimes they’ll delay appointments and force women past the pregnancy cutoff so they’ll be too far along to get an abortion anywhere,” Lott said. “They were having a fundraiser at UConn in the Rome Commons Ballroom, so we were outside the entrance of the ballroom chanting and showing that there is a lot of support for the pro-choice movement still and that we are not going to sit idly by and let this happen on our campus.”
This is not the first time these groups have protested the organization.
“One Friday each month they are on campus in front of the library for several hours at a time,” Lott said. “Seeing their vans on campus is very deceiving. So members of Youth for Socialist Action and International Women’s Strike along with Young Democratic Socialists of America have been protesting outside of their van as well to inform students that they don’t have to only go there, and that they’re not going to help you.”
These clubs want students to make an informed decision before using the services that these vans offer.
“The pregnancy crisis vans are an anti-choice group that functions by raising money and putting that money towards crisis pregnancy centers which pose to look like abortion offices, and all they offer are ultrasounds and sometimes STI testing but that is only used as a way to get pregnant people into the building to try to convince them not to have an abortion,” Lott said.
Jeremy Bradley, executive director at Caring Families, does not think the protestors are properly informed about the organization.
“We were surprised to find out that a group would want to protest our banquet. We saw some of the things this group was saying about us and were concerned that they were sharing false information about us,” Bradley said.
Caring Families released a letter on Facebook to the protestors, to dispel what they said are misconceptions.
“All the funding that supports our organization comes from private donors. We do not receive any state or federal funds. We have never received any Title X funding, nor do we have any plans to ever receive it,” the Caring Families Pregnancy Services Facebook page said.
If clients want to discuss their thoughts or seek information about abortion procedures, Caring Families’ licensed medical professionals are trained to do that, Bradley said.
“If they request information on parenting education or adoption, we do that as well,” Bradley said.
Members of the clubs involved plan to continue protesting anytime the van is on campus.
“As of right now what we’re going to do is just always be in the same area as the van, last week I saw some of my peers out there with signs and just verbally saying to people walking by, what the vans are,” Lott said.
Lott said she doesn’t discourage students from using the vans.
“We just want to make sure students know how they treat people so they can make an informed choice,” she said. “If I was in the circumstance where I was dealing with a pregnancy and I went into a van like that and was suddenly confronted about why I can’t get an abortion that would make me feel so humiliated and objectified, so we don’t want people to experience that, especially when you’re already going through something, you don’t need people questioning your decisions.”
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story stated that Bradley did not address negative experiences users may have had at Caring Families’ pregnancy crisis vans. Bradley was not asked about potential negative experiences, so he was not given the chance to comment on them.
Naiela Suleiman is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.