2 Crisis Pregnancy Centers Found Vandalized in Worcester

The centers damaged by Thursday do not provide abortions — which remain legal in Massachusetts — but instead offer pregnant women counseling and testing

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A pair of crisis pregnancy centers were vandalized in Worcester overnight, police said Thursday.

The vandalism, for which no one has yet been arrested, comes in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning the decades-old Roe v. Wade ruling, and days after another crisis pregnancy center was vandalized in New Hampshire.

One center, on Shrewsbury Street, was found with smashed doors and windows, as well as words spray-painted on the sidewalk outside, according to Worcester police. Hours later, a center about two miles away on Pleasant Street was found with blue and yellow paint splashed on it and more words spray-painted on the street outside.

Paint was splattered on the windows and walls of a clinic in Worcester that is accused of deceptively appearing to provide abortion services.

The centers that were damaged do not provide abortions — which remain legal in Massachusetts — but instead offer pregnant women counseling and testing. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey this week issued a warning advising people that such centers are often funded by abortion opponents and are not licensed medical facilities.

The vandalism, the first in its almost 30 years, won't deter the work at Clearway Clinic, the center on Shrewsbury Street that was vandalized, said Kelly Wilcox, its executive director.

In striking down Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court cited "history and tradition." What exactly does that history look like? To find out, LX News Storyteller Jalyn Henderson talked with Leslie Jean Reagan, who teaches Women and Gender Studies at the University of Illinois - Urbana Champagne and authored "When Abortion Was a Crime."

"The attacks have been cowardly," she said, calling the perpetrators "abortion extremists."

The phrase "Jane's Revenge" was written on the door at Clearway Clinic and on the other Worcester pregnancy center that was targeted. It apparently refers to a pro-abortion right group, with a name that refers to the Jane Roe pseudonym at the heart of the 1973 Roe decision, that has become active across the U.S. in the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark decision.

Healey's office released a statement Thursday noting prosecutors condemn all forms of violence and destruction of property.

On crisis centers, she had on Wednesday urged patients to do research before they make an appointment anywhere, and pointed out that crisis pregnancy centers often have an agenda.

"While crisis pregnancy centers claim to offer reproductive healthcare services, their goal is to prevent people from accessing abortion and contraception," she said in a statement.

Late last month, a crisis pregnancy center in Littleton, New Hampshire, was hit with graffiti, and local police this week said the incident was being investigated as a possible hate crime.

“We just want people to understand that these centers advertise themselves as providing a full spectrum of pregnancy related services but then in fact they exclude abortion and they try to convince the person not to have an abortion,” said Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan.
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