I have been protesting Agape Pregnancy Resource Center in Round Rock since last March, and it has been staggering to learn not only all the ugly things they do, but how enmeshed they are into the community. They have been at their location for 14 years and are regarded as a legitimate charity by community leaders. They have cultivated an image as “do-gooder church ladies” who just want to help impoverished women through unplanned pregnancies with Christian counseling and gifts of baby items.
But you don’t have to look too close to learn what it is they’re really up to.
Of course, I already knew about “fake clinics” (crisis pregnancy centers, as they call themselves) and wasn’t surprised to learn they presented themselves as a “medical facility” or that they pressure women into keeping their pregnancy by lying about the risks of abortion (Cancer! Infertility! Drug addiction! Suicide! Eternal damnation!). I was surprised that they don’t just give away baby items; women have to “pay” for them by attending their classes.
Want a can of formula that will feed your baby for 5 days? Awesome, just take this Bible class first. They even print “Mommy Money” and “Daddy Dollars” the women have to give back when they “buy” these donated items! Even more galling is that legitimate charities like the Austin Diaper Bank donate items to them as though they are just a distribution center. They don’t help women struggling through poverty in the way that the Capitol Food Bank does, they degrade and infantilize them first.
The most shocking thing to me is how they get away with luring in unaccompanied minors without parents’ permission. How is that okay? Agape is just a few blocks from CD Fulkes Middle School, and I often encounter students walking around downtown during my regular 4:30 protest time. This is not a coincidence.
The majority of students at CD are black and Hispanic and it is a Title I school, meaning most students qualify for free or reduced cost meals at school. These students are vulnerable to CPCs’ lies, already primed with reproductive health misinformation by Round Rock ISD’s adoption of the abstinence-only sex ed curriculum entitled “Worth the Wait,” which was developed by (hello, Baptists!) Baylor, Scott & White. The majority of the curriculum is “gross-out stuff” and plain old fear tactics. They even have to take a test on all the different symptoms of each kind of STD.
One student walking by our protest asked me about my sign that says: “Greg Abbott is not my Ob/Gyn!” I told him, “it’s short for Obstetrician and Gynecologist.” He replied, “I still don’t know what that means.” …Wow. (I explained it to him in detail since apparently no adult had yet, even though this kid already had hair on his lip.)
Agape is also one of the organizations invited to the Round Rock ISD Teen-Parent Expo each year! They table at an event inside Success High School handing out candy and lies about reproductive healthcare to our most vulnerable, at-risk students. Success High School is a wonderful program that works with students who need a nontraditional high school credit program in order to graduate due to the need to work, care for family members or their own children. They have social workers on staff at the school to support these kids. But unfortunately, they don’t protect them from Agape’s lies.
I welcome anyone to join this protest site with me every Thursday 4:30-5:30 pm!
– Stephanie, WilCo NOW member & site lead for Agape CPC protests