The Northfield Women’s Center is not what it appears to be. Located in the Medical Arts Building on Division Street, a location leased to them by Carleton College, the Women’s Center claims to provide “Confidential, caring, and non-judgmental support.” Instead, they knowingly provide misleading information in hopes of dissuading women from choosing an abortion. The negative impact of this organization on the Northfield community has encouraged a group of Carleton students to take action, advocating for their college to remove the Women’s Center from school owned property.
The Northfield Women’s Center is a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC). It is one of thousands of organizations across the United States that presents themselves as a medical clinic despite their lack of trained personnel and their peddling of false information. CPCs lure in women with unexpected or unwanted pregnancies and pressure them not to seek abortion care using fake medical warnings and manipulative emotional tactics.
St. Olaf student Sydney Wipperfurth ’17 went to the Women’s Center to investigate how they responded to young women in need of pregnancy care and experienced first hand the deceptive tactics used by their staff to discourage abortion.
“The CPC feels like this super friendly, welcoming space that could be helpful. The staff is kind and warm, which is incredibly deceiving,” Wipperfurth said. “The director Liz came to speak with me about the ‘negative risks and consequences’ of getting an abortion. She said that the risks included bleeding to death. Essentially, she was trying to use scare tactics to steer me towards adoption or parenting. The scariest part was that she wasn’t aggressive or abrasive when giving false information, but instead appeared to be caring and supportive.”
Carleton’s Students Advocating for Reproductive Choice (SARC) has created a petition demanding that Carleton terminate its lease agreement with the Women’s Center. To sign the petition, Google “Carleton: don’t renew the lease for the anti-choice Northfield women’s center” and join the hundreds of voices asking Carleton to act ethically in regards to their investments and profits.
Edison Benidt ’18 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Prior Lake, Minn. She majors in nursing.
Nikki Lewis ’18 (email@example.com) is from St. Paul, Minn. She majors in sociology and anthropology and women’s and gender studies.
Sydney Spreck ’18 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from St. Paul, Minn. She majors in American studies, political science and women’s and gender studies.