Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Run for the Right Reasons

Healthy Nacogdoches is the local organization sponsoring the 5K series that I've been taking part in. I'd run the first two races and was looking forward to completing the challenge this month. That was before I realized that the beneficiary of the final 5K is the Heartbeat Pregnancy Center - a crisis pregnancy center with a pro-life and anti-choice agenda whose website is full of misinformation and manipulative efforts to shame women away from abortion. Here's a great example from their website:
After an abortion, women will often go into denial making it difficult for them to identify post-abortion stress in their lives. Systems such as acute sadness, long-term grief, anger, guilt, shame, flashbacks of the abortion, memory repression, increased use of alcohol and drugs, difficulty keeping close relationships, difficulty bonding with children, and a sense of loneliness are all a symptom of post-abortion stress. Abortion is a secret that is buried deep inside and eats away at your heart. (Emphasis mine.)
They also go over all the physical and emotional risks of abortion, without once mentioning the physical and emotional risks of pregnancy, childbirth and/or adoption - all of which are far greater than an abortion, especially in the first trimester (when the majority of abortions occur). Not to say that no one should get pregnant because it's dangerous, but it's imperative to have all the facts before making such a huge and life-changing decision. Basically, crisis pregnancy centers are single-minded and agenda driven centers who put their own interests ahead of the well being of the women they are claiming to help. As a pro-choice woman who strongly believes that every woman deserves the information, support and autonomy to make the decision that is best for her, I will not be supporting this organization or running this 5K.

I love races. I love the community of running together, the excitement of a race, and the purpose that comes from running for a cause. But before I register and fork over my money, I have to make sure the cause is one that I support. Even if the run benefited Planned Parenthood, I would still find it odd and unfair for those with differing views and I'm disappointed that Healthy Nacogdoches chose to make a political organization part of their 5K series. I've tried to contact the organizers to let them know my feelings on this, and will keep y'all updated when and if I hear back.

Luckily, the Barkothon 5K is at the end of April, and the proceeds from that event will go to the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter - one of my favorite local charities and a cause that just about anyone can get behind. I hope Healthy Nacogdoches is taking notes.