NJ Congressman Calls Pregnancy Centers “Brainwashing Cult Clinics”

New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer recently launched a brazen attack on pregnancy centers at the state level and is a proponent of legislation designed to handcuff the organizations on a national level.

On October 6, Rep. held a press conference. Gottheimer in front of the Lighthouse Pregnancy Center in Hackensack, NJ.

“The Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center looks harmless. But this is actually one of the many fraudulent brainwashing cult clinics in our state and country, known as crisis pregnancy centers,” he said. “We have to do everything we can to shut those down. cult brainwashing clinic.”

Gottheimer’s accusations were immediately challenged and met with harsh criticism from pro-life and ministry leaders, who called his comments discriminatory and offensive. In the House of Representatives, Gottheimer helped lead the Stop Anti-abortion Disinformation Act, which accused pregnancy centers of engaging in false advertising.

“Women often go to healthcare hoax clinics thinking they will receive real medical help, but instead they are greeted by people with no medical background whose goal is to brainwash women using their own ideological agenda,” he said.

Debbie Provencher, executive director of the Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center, refuted that claim and Gottheimer’s others. At the press conference, Provencher approached the congressman and informed him that Lighthouse had nurses and sonographers on site.

Gottheimer, who represents New Jersey’s 5thth District, replied, “According to my research they don’t.”

“It makes me sad because I think about it [his comments] comes from misinformation and false first-hand knowledge,” Provencher said. “As far as we know, he doesn’t really talk to our staff or the parents we serve to understand what we do and the positive impact we have on thousands of lives in his district.”

Lighthouse, with four locations in North Jersey, is among 1,200 pregnancy centers in the Care Net network; Collectively, these pregnancy centers have saved the lives of more than 1 million unborn babies since 2008. Roland Warren, president, and CEO of Care Net, Gottheimer said the claims against the pregnancy center has been repeatedly refuted.

“In fact, his desperation is just an indication that he understands the threat of pregnancy centers in the chokehold the abortion industry wants on women facing unplanned pregnancies,” said Roland Warren. “But pregnancy centers, despite attempts to discredit them, will continue to do lifesaving, community-changing work across the country, including in New Jersey.”

Gottheimer isn’t the only high-ranking government official to oppose New Jersey’s pregnancy centers. In December of 2022, New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin issued a consumer alert, saying pregnancy centers are misleading and misrepresenting how they operate. A consortium of New Jersey pregnancy centers responded by filing a lawsuit, saying the consumer alert unfairly damages their reputation and ignores the important services the centers offer free of charge to thousands of women and their families every year.

Eileen S. Den Bleyker, Esq., an attorney representing the consortium, requested copies of documents supporting Consumer Alert’s claims under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act and common law. There is no documentation for the statements coming out of the State, insisting that the request was invalid.

Den Bleyker called the recent remarks of Rep. Gottheimer.

“In his efforts to ‘shut down’ pregnancy centers and take away free help from women in need, Rep. Gottheimer showed up unannounced in front of one of our member centers and defrauded all the centers of pregnancy resources in New Jersey,” explained Den Bleyker.

Provencher said the attack on Lighthouse and other New Jersey pregnancy centers is hurting — rather than helping — New Jersey women.

“Rep. Gottheimer directly harms women who benefit from a safe place to reflect on their pregnancy decisions and obtain medical confirmation of pregnancy… The centers also provide women with social support, education parenting, and basic needs to care for their newborn children. Caring for women and their families is at the heart of what we do as pregnancy centers. Attacks against us are attacks against those we serve.”

More Resources: the Truth about Pregnancy Centers

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