Where’s the crime here?

Where’s the crime here?

Just what is an “abortion service” and what kinds of activity are permissible under that service idea? That is the crux of a lawsuit brought against a Louisiana man who advertised in the phone book and counseled women who called not to have an abortion. A judge has ruled against him and ordered him to shut off his phone. The newspaper calls what he has done a “sham abortion clinic.”

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against William A. Graham, who was accused of listing the business phone of his Causeway Center for Women under “Abortion Services” and making misleading statements aimed at delaying women until it was too late for them to get legal abortions.

Among other accusations, the lawsuit brought by an abortion rights organization alleges trademark infringement because Graham lists his phone number directly below the listing for the similarly named Causeway Medical Clinic, which has provided abortion services since 1978.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
6 comments
  • It appears to me that Graham is is providing an abortion service in counseling women not to have an abortion.  It is a service both to the women and to their unborn children.

    Spiritual counseling is definitely a service as any priest/minister would insist.

  • The only possible crime I can think of is fraud.  If he told these women that he would arrange abortions for them, and lied about that, that could be considered fraud.

    Crime is a matter of law, not morality.  I’m not sure what exactly is required to be considered fraud.  I know it’s more serious if money changes hands, but there’s such a thing as fraud even if money is not involved.

  • Nothing in the story indicates that fraud was involved. The fact is, pregnancy protection services (in other words, “Saving the Lives of Babies”) have successfully used the “Abortion” listing in the Yellow Pages without committing fraud. “Free Pregnancy Testing” is, or at least was, a good way to draw women in.

    I can list my services as a “copywriter” under the heading “Design.” Does that make me a fraud? No. Were I desperate for copywriting work, I could even call myself something like “A Word About Design” or something equally—okay, call it “tricky.”

    Were I convinced that my copywriting services would prevent an immoral act (they won’t, trust me on this one), I’d do it.

    One plaintiff said Graham told her that if an abortion were “performed too early, it could be harmful to her health,’’ according to the lawsuit.

    Good for Graham. He was correct in his prognosis. All abortions are performed “too early,” and are not only injurious to the mother’s health but are fatal to the baby’s.

  • I don’t like the smell of this one. My wife volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center in New York. She was advised by the director to be deceptive to women who came in if that’s what it took—anything to save the babies. She eventually quit—mostly because she felt that it was wrong to lie, but in part because having seen the anger some women and the men with them felt when they realized they had been deceived, and this wasn’t an abortion clinic, she came to be afraid that she might be attacked violently.

    I think it’s never a good idea to be deceptive. It hurts all CPCs in the long run.

  • I’m not sure I understand, Rod. If your wife volunteered for what she believed to be a crisis pregnancy center, why would clients have believed it was an abortion clinic?

    You say she “eventually quit.” How long did it take her to realize that people believed they were seeking the services of an abortion clinic?

    The reason I ask is that the Crisis Pregnancy Centers I’m familiar with are quite good at training volunteers…and quite exhaustive. One doesn’t become an active counselor until after extensive training—and the emphasis is on compassion, not deception.

    How, I’m wondering, did the director advise your wife to deceive women? And was this advice given during her training period or once she was on the job?

    And also—what sort of volunteer work was required by this particular CPC?

  • So I guess that the only people who can advertise that they provide “pest services” would be those that provide cockroaches, rats, and other vermin for people’s houses.

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