You would think abortion advocates in New York would be satisfied: The Reproductive Health Act decriminalizes abortion for all nine months, and even removes protection for born-alive infants who survive an abortion attempt.
But there is never enough abortion for the zealots, nor enough money for Big Abortion and Big Pharma, as is evident in the latest target of the New York-based Abortion Access Front.
Abortion AF, which has a national campaign to bully and harass pregnancy centers, is now attacking a fertility app, FEMM (Fertility Education and Medical Management). For those who might not be aware, fertility apps are a thing. There are currently over a hundred, and they help women track their periods and signs of fertility, as an aid to family planning.
Abortion AF is attacking FEMM because of what it does not do: It does not provide information about other forms of birth control or abortion. Worse: as was “revealed” in an article in The Guardian in May, “some of FEMM’s educators and researchers have publicly expressed anti-abortion or anti-hormonal birth control views.”
Abortion AF is also attacking FEMM because of its success: It has over 400,000 users worldwide. Their smear attempt involves a social media campaign instructing followers to pose as users and leave fake negative reviews on the app to bring down its ratings. Last week there was also a live protest — about 15 women holding signs and chanting — in Manhattan, outside of the townhouse where the FEMM organization has offices. Some of them handed out flyers and free Plan B emergency contraception pills to passers-by.
At the protest, I saw founder of Abortion AF Lizz Winstead read remarks saying that because FEMM doesn’t provide information about hormonal birth control it is dangerous. She also said it is backed by Very Big Money, hedge fund money, millions of dollars, and that FEMM collects users’ personal data.
Let’s examine these claims. Dangerous? The FEMM app offers women around the world scientifically and medically sound information about fertility signs and cycles and offers alternatives to powerful hormonal drugs. Obviously there are women who choose and desire to use such natural family planning, like this woman, writing in The New York Times. Would Abortion AF have us believe that a woman who can use an app on her smartphone is so ignorant about the world that that she doesn’t know about condoms and the Pill?
Backed by Big Money? FEMM is a non-profit, relying on contributions and grants to run its program. It accepts no advertising. The 1.7 million dollars The Guardian reports it was awarded in grants was contributed over three years, and provided the bulk of its funds, hardly huge for such a project.
Sharing personal information? From their website: “FEMM never shares or sells data with third parties. FEMM is not funded by drug or big pharma companies, ensuring that we are free from commercial bias in our science and information, as well as from pressures to monetize data and information provided to us by our users.”
Guess what? The other fertility apps, the ones that do provide information about other methods of birth control? They are big business, and share personal information like crazy. As reported in a Bloomberg Businessweek article most of these apps “are widening their use of the data they collect to make money, betting they’ll be able to build business models off this extremely sensitive data.”
To recap: FEMM is free, non-profit, doesn’t share data and is not connected to commercial interests. So what is the real reason it poses a threat?
FEMM embraces and promotes healthy, natural fertility, and an openness to life. That alone is a threat to organizations like Abortion AF, which exist to push more abortions, more hormonal birth control, and more profit for abortion and birth control providers.
Maria McFadden Maffucci is the editor of the Human Life Review, www.humanlifereview.com, a quarterly journal devoted to the defense of human life, founded in 1974 by her father, James P. McFadden, Associate Publisher of National Review. She is President of the Human Life Foundation, based in midtown Manhattan, which publishes the Review and supports pregnancy resource centers. Mrs. Maffucci’s articles and editorials have appeared in the Human Life Review, First Things, National Review Online, National Review, Verily, and Crux. A Holy Cross graduate with a BA in Philosophy, she is married to Robert E. Maffucci, and the mother of three children. Her interests include exploring opportunities for individuals with special needs. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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