Coerced and Manipulated: Care Net’s ‘Pro-Life’ Men’s Conference

| Reproaction

By: Tenaja Henson

Care Net is an anti-abortion fake clinic chain with locations across North America. They use religious manipulation and disinformation to coerce and dissuade pregnant people from getting abortions, often training in racist stereotyping to do so. Care Net has positioned themselves as a leading voice in the anti-abortion movement, and recently they held an event at the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, titled; Called and Missioned: A Pro-Life Men’s Conference.

That’s right, just this past March, Care Net hosted an event dedicated to emotionally and morally activating men to believe disinformation about abortion, and to then go out into their communities and tell people what they think they should do with their health. According to Care Net, “This event was the first of its kind, and men from all over the nation gathered together to learn how to turn their pro-life passion into Pro Abundant Life action.” [1]

So what does so-called ‘pro-abundant life action’ mean to Care Net? Let’s start with what it could be, and is not: Advocating for public programs that could actually benefit birthing people, children and families. Additionally helpful would be dissolving their anti-abortion fake clinics, whose purpose is deception, as our friends at The Alliance have reported extensively.

Instead, ‘pro abundant life action’ is just another repackaging of promoting anti-abortion fake clinics and centering men. But what is the most insidious about this repackaging is that it is not only empowering an already socially dominant group, but it is also trying to apply stories from the Bible as universally true and tantamount to law.

The Care Net men’s conference was an exercise in paternalist, sex-negative, conversion-centric grand-standing that did nothing more than ‘call and mission’ more people with power, specifically men, to further restrict and stigmatize abortion and those who have them. There is a callousness with which men’s stereotypical societal gender roles are held up as biblically and universally true, and thus actionable for the conversion mission. This worldview has no room for women to serve any purpose but procreation and sacrifice for husband and family, and no space for LGBTQ+ people to find love, joy, purpose, or realization of their rights.

Care Net is using religious scripture as a cover for their harmful ideology, and cherry-picking what, why, and how to apply it to the reality they want to create. On their website is video of Care Net CEO Roland Warren declaring that “the first thing that should come to our mind when we see a pregnant woman is that she needs to become a disciple of Jesus Christ.” [2] How is it that an organization that claims to provide pregnancy care has as its first goal religious conversion as opposed to health and wellness services?

The ’pro-life’ movement is keen to tout their activism as a core component of the freedom to practice their religion, but disregard the reality that practicing and promoting their beliefs tramples others’ rights. Anti-abortion fake clinics in particular espouse that family is important and we should care about the lives of others, while simultaneously attempting to enforce beliefs they call religious onto pregnant people. It just so happens these beliefs offer no acknowledgement that abortion helps many families thrive, nor that individual autonomy is not included in their worldview. Simply, their ‘vision’ for manipulating  women (indeed, all people with capacity for pregnancy) to be “a disciple of Jesus Christ” will be by luring them to their anti-abortion fake clinics to receive stigmatizing counseling that would manipulate them into carrying a pregnancy.

Care Net claims to have distributed more than $63 million worth of free ‘education’, as well as material, health, and emotional support to bolster this “pro-abundant life” mission. [2] But I can’t help but imagine if that same $63 million was actually going back into communities experiencing systemic oppression to support birthing people without an ulterior motive against abortion, wouldn’t birth outcomes be better?  Imagine that money working to change the circumstances for people who can become pregnant and children to live their lives with health care, stable income, secure housing, paid parental leave, free childcare, and accessible and affordable food, to name a few immediate needs.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Just look at states like Mississippi, which has only one abortion provider left – for now. In Mississippi, where Care Net anti-abortion fake clinics make up almost half of the 31 anti-abortion fake clinics in the state, the maternal and infant mortality rate is the highest in the nation. [3] What in the world is Care Net actually doing to promote ‘abundant life’ when the people they claim to care so much about are losing their lives, doing the very thing they aspire to manipulate and shame pregnant people into to doing?

To be clear, creating community locally or around the world through their religious beliefs and practices is not inherently bad. The problem lies within the fact that Care Net, its anti-abortion fake clinics, and supporters are using their Christian supremacist interpretation of the Bible to influence culture and policy that is actively and continually harming millions of people with capacity for pregnancy, whether they do or don’t hold the same beliefs.

So, back to this conference and the idea of centering men in service of an agenda targeting women (and all people with capacity for pregnancy, whether or not abortion opponents will affirm their true gender). It is true anti-abortion fake clinics deepen patriarchal control, wield manipulative religious rhetoric and empower people, specifically men, to control the information, religious dogma, and rights that pregnant people get about abortion and their pregnancies.


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