The centre’s staff and volunteers have a faith-based anti-abortion program and their goal is to convince women to bring their pregnancies to term and either bring up the child themselves or place them for adoption. But Harden said the center is not looking to pressure or coerce women.
“Women only consider abortion because, most of the time, they are alone,” said Harden. “They don’t have the support they need. And so they’re looking to make a decision they wouldn’t want to make otherwise.”
Facilities do not offer access to emergency contraception and do not refer patients who wish to have an abortion to a clinic that provides this service, said Debora McDell-Hernandez, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, which claims centers like CompassCare obscure their true mission and mislead many women who turn to them.
About 3,200 abortions were performed in Erie County in 2017, according to state health department records. It is the second highest number outside New York, behind the 3,600 interpreted in Suffolk County on Long Island.
Erie County Health Commissioner Dr Gale Burstein said she shared the goal of reducing abortions in the county. But she said long-term, easily reversible methods of contraception, such as IUDs and implants, are the best ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies and, therefore, abortions.