Reporting on Lebanon’s Pregnancy Alternatives Center

There’s a story in the LE this week about the rebuilt Pregnancy Alternative Center reopening:

The Lebanon Pregnancy Alternatives Center has been rebuilt from the ground up after a fire last December destroyed the building.

I blogged a bit about this when it was first burned down:

Something like the Lebanon Pregnancy Alternatives Center doesn’t seem to provide birth control or even mention abortion, much less abortion referrals, as an option on their website (which I will not link to).

What I noticed this time about the story in the LE was this:

The center is described on the group’s website as a “nonprofit, volunteer-based, Christian organization dedicated to helping women through unplanned pregnancies.”

Tracy described the center as a “medical clinic to serve women who want to find out if they are pregnant.”

Actually, it’s more accurate to say that I noticed what was not in the story:  An accurate description of the services the center provides – or fails to provide.  I think this is a problem.  Why?

Put yourself in the shoes of a teenager or legal adult who finds herself in need of reproductive health services, be they access to birth control, an abortion, or counseling on an unplanned pregnancy.  She happens to see the Express story and remembers the PAC – but doesn’t know what kind of services they provide.  She goes there, and finds out that they can’t (or won’t) do what she asks, which turns out to be refer her to an abortion provider – something that is not mentioned on their website as a service, and in fact is only mentioned in a negative context at all.  So the person visiting the PAC is not given a full range of reproductive health options, and is in fact almost certainly steered in one or two specific directions.  That’s not cool, and neither is the Express omitting that information from their story.  They owe it to their readers to provide a more complete picture of what the PAC does, and what kind of agenda it has.

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3 Comments on “Reporting on Lebanon’s Pregnancy Alternatives Center”

  1. Eric deBear Says:

    Dennis… As a modern “civilian” journalist, why not do the investigative journalism LE did not provide on PAC?

    Is this not one of the major “touts” of semi-journalist bloggers?

  2. Dennis Says:

    Eric – that’s a fair point. However, I don’t consider myself a practicing journalist. I don’t have the time, and I’ve not put in the work, so it would be more than a little disingenuous for me to claim that title. Were I to claim that label, yeah, I think it would be incumbent upon me to do the legwork.

    Besides, my hope is that this kind of commentary has an effect on the LE’s coverage going forward. In part, it’s not about PAC, but about the journalism being practiced. I don’t want to undercut the LE; if anything, I want to make it better.

  3. i have concluded that i will use their free pregnancy test services should i ever have the need. just to stick it to them…those suckers are expensive. 🙂

    i wish it were common knowledge that their options and information is not comprehensive.

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