October 18, 2023 742 PM
A quick Google search will show you there are over 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the U.S. Some would say, it was only a matter of time before our area received one. We will be receiving two. Disguised as medical resource centers, these organizations are pro-life and often faith based. These organizations target low-income individuals and youth on a free or low-cost basis.
I was raised by a single, low-income teen mom who sought services at one of these clinics. She went to seek an abortion and was scared out of it. She did not know she was walking into a religious pro-life center because it was not advertised as such. It was a crisis pregnancy center and she was vulnerable and in crisis.
I watched my mother struggle my entire life to provide me and herself with basic needs with no help. I remember her telling me about how the women in that crisis center treated her when she asked for an abortion. How scared and alone she was.
I had an abortion a few months prior to Roe v. Wade being overturned in 2022. Abortion after six weeks was/is illegal in the state of Texas. I was at six weeks and sought care in New Mexico. I was scared. Finding the information I needed to access care was challenging. After many calls were made and sifting through crisis center websites (I was lucky to know to read between the lines), I found care. I was also lucky to live so close to a state with abortion access.
I was in a similar position to my mother: pregnant, working multiple jobs, below the poverty line, in a pandemic, and these were my circumstances even with a master’s degree. I also had to consider my own personal health at this time. The thing is, I had a choice, I found a choice, I knew what to avoid, and luckily I had the means.
I remember in middle school I had several friends who were pregnant (starting at 11-years-old) and the circumstances of those pregnancies would bring you to tears. These crisis centers target low-income and youth. These centers do not educate on contraception, consent, abuse, or options for making healthy choices.
I am writing this because truth and understanding come from sharing our experiences. Understanding the different circumstances we live in creates possibility between one another. Not everyone has help, knows how to ask for help, and may struggle their entire lives to have the tools for basic needs.
In the summer of 2022, Big Bend Reproductive Coalition was established in our area. They are able to share accurate information with our community.
Thank you to Samantha Karas and The Big Bend Sentinel for reporting on the Presidio crisis pregnancy center. We must all consider the true agenda behind the crisis center and how and who their presence will affect.
Last week, the proposed Presidio Pregnancy Center presented plans to operate in Presidio and Alpine. The interagency meeting included the Children’s Advocacy Center Of The Big Bend and the Office of Border Public Health. The center is part of Care Net, a national network of evangelical, anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs).
There are a few things to know about CPCs. First, they are not medical facilities and do not provide legitimate medical advice or services. They are not bound by legal protections of confidentiality for patients, including what’s discussed during appointments and the results of pregnancy tests. The spokesperson for the Presidio Pregnancy Center claimed that they would share patient information with authorities, including whether a person decides not to carry a pregnancy, when asked during the Q&A.
This is a terrifying and dangerous situation for West Texans looking for legitimate medical care and information about pregnancy and what options are available to them.
CPCs, including those that are part of the Care Net network, have a long history of providing misinformation, disinformation, incorrect due date information, and restricted access to information about abortion and miscarriage management options. CPC databases are unregulated and therefore cannot be guaranteed to be kept confidential.
According to The Center for Countering Digital Hate, CPCs use digital marketing tactics to target people seeking information about abortion care. According to their data, “71% of CPCs use deceptive means such as spreading thoroughly debunked misinformation and 38% do not clearly state on their website homepage that they do not provide abortion care.”
According to research by Andrea Swartzendruber, an associate professor at the University of Georgia College of Public Health, 77% of Crisis Pregnancy Centers offer non-diagnostic ultrasounds, which do not provide any information about the health of an embryo.
Big Bend Reproductive Coalition has serious concerns about the safety, privacy, and access to accurate medical information and confidentiality for West Texans. West Texans seeking support at CPCs may receive inaccurate, unreliable information about pregnancy, birth control, emergency contraception, abortion, and miscarriage which could put their health at risk and make them susceptible to penalties under Texas law.
CPCs lie. West Texans deserve informed consent, autonomy, privacy, and ethical care from legitimate health care professionals. CPCs have historically undercut these expectations.
We implore city and county government, medical professionals, regional nonprofits and others not to support Care Net and the Presidio Pregnancy Center, and instead support medical professionals, medical clinics and organizations that provide accurate medical information and options.
Big Bend Reproductive Coalition (BBRC) provides information for West Texans about reproductive rights, how to get funding and support accessing health care, trustworthy clinics, and more. We also give away free emergency contraception (Plan B) and free pregnancy tests which can be requested online confidentially. BBRC never shares your private information with anyone. Resources are updated as we learn new information. You can find this information and more here: www.bigbendrc.org.
Big Bend Reproductive Coalition
As to the proposed entryway to the new “enhanced” El Cosmico in Marfa, I am totally opposed to sacrificing any Presidio County land for an easement/new road for El Cosmico. I am totally opposed to sacrificing any part of Vizcaino Park. I am totally opposed to sacrificing any part of the Marfa Municipal Golf Course or the rodeo grounds/roping arena or the area around the Ag Barn.
I attended the Presidio County Commissioners Court on Wednesday the 11th in Marfa and at that meeting it came to light that it’s not only Vizcaino Park that’s in the crosshairs. Any portion of what is termed “North Park” is up for consideration as an entrance to the new El Cosmico. According to some of the residents of the Antelope Hills subdivision, they want the county to locate the entrance anywhere else but off of the Antelope Hills county road –– and giving up county land is fine with them.
There have been lengthy discussions about the condition of Antelope Hills Road and why it shouldn’t be used for the entrance to El Cosmico: It’s in such terrible shape, it’s so hard to maintain, it’s only a class two road, people get too many flats on it, it floods, one lady only goes into town once a day because it’s such a bad bad road, etc. etc. etc. It was so sad that I was almost in tears. So I drove the Antelope Hills Road to see for myself. And surprise, surprise, it must have been worked on recently because I found it to be in very good shape. In fact, it is in much better condition than many of our residential streets in Marfa. (Try driving down North Russell or North Gonzales or Idas or many others, for that matter!)
I don’t recall there ever being a homeowners association in the Antelope Hills subdivision. Has there ever been one? Maybe this is why the original restrictions, covenants and conditions have not been followed:
“The property shall be used for residential purposes only. No commercial activity of any kind shall be conducted on or from any of said lots.”
Currently there are two art galleries, a horse farm where trail rides are sometimes available, some AirBnBs, Marfa Maid Goat Cheese
“Buildings and structures shall be architecturally in harmony with the primary buildings. No tent, lodge, house trailer, single-wide mobile home or other temporary structure of any kind may be placed, constructed or maintained on any of said Real Property except as temporary ancillary to a construction project on said Real Property…”
Really??? Take a drive out there and have a look!
“No trash, garbage, construction debris or other refuse may be dumped or disposed of or allowed to remain upon any part of the Real Property, vacant or otherwise.”
Have you seen the lot that has very large chunks of broken-up concrete on it?
“No sign or other advertising device may be displayed except in the event of a sale.”
There are quite a few signs out there and most of them are not “For Sale” signs.
So now there’s a big hurry-up push to form a homeowners association in order to keep Liz Lambert from using her recently purchased Antelope Hills lot as an entryway/driveway into the new El Cosmico. Now they’re claiming the subdivision is a single-family residential neighborhood only! Seems to me like it’s been just fine for Antelope Hills folks to ignore the original restrictions, covenants, and conditions of their subdivision for all these years but now they want to have some rules and regulations. I’m not sure but it looks to me like the horse is already out of the barn.
They expect the county to sacrifice its public land for their appeasement –– sacrifice public land for a road that would be labeled a public county road but in reality would be a private road dead-ending into a private business.
One concern of the county commissioners and the judge is money. So I wonder: why build a new road when a county road already exists? Because no matter what, Antelope Hills Road will always need maintenance and upkeep and will always cost the county money. Why hasn’t the county asked TxDOT for assistance? TxDOT won’t do the work but they can provide some of the road materials; wouldn’t this be beneficial? Ask!
And since El Cosmico apparently has the money for construction and maintenance of a brand new road, why not have them redirect their funds toward the improvement and maintenance of the existing Antelope Hills Road? Not only would that help Antelope Hills Road, but it should also help with Presidio County’s continuing budget crisis.
A big thank you to Charlie Simpson and Al Davis for attending the meeting and speaking in opposition to the use of Vizcaino Park as the entryway.
And for everyone, please contact Brenda Silva Bentley and David Beebe and advocate for saving Vizcaino Park and the rest of the county’s public lands.