PBS Faces Backlash for Coverage of Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers

PBS News Weekend anchor John Yang introduced a news story on Saturday that scrutinized crisis pregnancy centers assisting women opting against abortion. The introduction, sprinkled with contemporary language, raised eyebrows among viewers critical of the report’s tone.

“Crisis pregnancy centers provide counseling and other prenatal services from an anti-abortion perspective,” Yang stated. “Their supporters say they help ensure that pregnant people know the risks of abortion. Advocates of abortion rights say the information they provide can be misleading or have no scientific basis.”

Reporter Ali Rogin delved into the topic with Carter Sherman, a former journalist from Vice, known for its often radical left-leaning stance. Rogin’s questions directed suspicion toward pregnancy centers, using language that implied a sharp bias.

“In the United States, so-called crisis pregnancy centers are nothing new,” Rogin began. “But after the Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to an abortion, these largely unregulated centers have seen renewed support and attention. According to analysis by the group Reproductive Health and Freedom Watch, which supports abortion rights, anti-abortion pregnancy centers brought in at least $1.4 billion in revenue in the 2022 fiscal year. That includes at least $344 million in government grants. Carter Sherman is reproductive health and justice reporter for The Guardian.”

Sherman, known for her liberal opinions and views, offered insights into the operations of crisis pregnancy centers, which she labeled as anti-abortion centers.

“The point of a crisis pregnancy center… is to convince people to continue their pregnancies,” Sherman explained. “And they offer services like pregnancy tests, they sometimes do medical services like ultrasounds, they will also give out goods like car seats or strollers. Now the thing is that even when they do provide these medical services, many of these facilities are not actually medically licensed.”

Rogin’s inquiry about the interactions within these centers highlighted Sherman’s disappointment in women choosing to continue their pregnancies.

“Something that has come up again and again, from people who go into these centers, is that they walk in not necessarily knowing that they are not in an abortion clinic,” Sherman noted. “And in reality, again, these are centers that are trying to convince you to continue a pregnancy.”

Further discussing the centers’ clientele, Sherman touched upon the appeal of free services to low-income individuals, linking the availability of abortions to economic factors.

“Aside from the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the anti-abortion movement has framed crisis pregnancy centers as the place to go for women who might otherwise have wanted an abortion but are now in a situation where they have little choice but to give birth,” Sherman added.

The report prompted comparisons with Planned Parenthood’s funding, highlighting perceived biases in coverage.