A liberal New Jersey lawmaker is labeling pro-life pregnancy centers as “brainwashing cult clinics” and attempting to shut them down.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., issued a press release claiming the pro-life centers engage in deceptive practices. He says they promote dangerous medical information, fail to provide prenatal care and aim to “brainwash” women.
“Women go to these healthcare hoax clinics thinking they will get real medical help, but instead they are greeted by people with no medical background whose goal is to brainwash women with their own ideological agenda,” Gottheimer said in the press release. “We need to do everything we can to shut down these brainwashing cult clinics. We need to stop the fake programming they’re pushing.”
Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center, alongside the New Jersey Consortium of Pregnancy Centers, said they are “outraged by the inflammatory, false comments made against them.”
Eileen S. Den Bleyker, Esq., an attorney representing the Consortium, said the lawmaker showed up unannounced in front of Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center and “mischaracterized” them.
“For four decades, Lighthouse has provided free, confidential services in Northern New Jersey to women and couples facing unexpected pregnancies, and essential support to underserved parents caring for newborns,” Debbie Provencher, executive director of Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center in Hackensack, Paterson, Wayne and Hawthorne, NJ, told Fox News Digital.
The executive director said the centers have “steered clear of politics” and focus on helping families overcome generational poverty and grow their medical staff.
“As I observed the press conference held by U.S. Rep. Gottheimer, it was evident that he was supplied with inaccurate and misleading information,” Provencher said. “We are saddened that the beautiful generosity and sacrificial service of Lighthouse supporters – constituents of the congressman’s district who donate time and money to assist parents they will never meet – were so mischaracterized.”
The executive director pointed to the center’s reviews which show the “value (they) bring to (the) community.”
“I am very happy to visit Lighthouse,” one mother wrote. “Everybody is so nice and treated me with sensitivity, especially during my ultrasound. I definitely will refer more people.”
A second reviewer said she felt “blessed” her mother directed her to the center and that Lighthouse made her feel “comfortable” about her decision.
“The service at Lighthouse Pregnancy Center is a great experience,” another parent wrote. “You go there feeling overwhelmed and I guarantee you will leave feeling heard and helped.”
The state’s attorney general issued an alert against the crisis pregnancy centers last year. Provencher said Den Bleyker attempted to have a dialogue with the state, but officials refused. The Consortium requested records justifying the state’s claims against them through OPRA, but requests for specific records were denied.
“The State revealed it had received no complaints against pregnancy centers, but refused to release other requested documents,” the press release explained.
In July 2023, a judge ruled the state wrongfully denied access to the public records and ordered them to be turned over.
“No documentation of any problem has been revealed to date, but the State has been given additional time to comply and the lawsuit remains pending,” the statement read.
“When you have something that is put out in this fashion, allegations like this, there is no way to defend against it. It is totally unfair,” Den Bleyker told Fox News Digital in a previous report. “If you were being charged with a crime, by the state or a law enforcement agency, the law requires that they come and set out the allegations so you can defend it and then they have to prove it. They can’t just say something without proof behind it.”
The NJ Consortium of Pregnancy Centers offers women facing unexpected pregnancies free consultations, medical confirmation of pregnancy, services by licensed medical professionals and parenting preparation with material aid.
Provencher said she would “welcome” the opportunity to meet with Gottheimer and answer any questions he has about the centers.
Fox News Digital reached out to Gottheimer’s team, but did not hear back on requests for comment.
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