Students and faculty at UGA’s College of Public Health are on edge after Republican Reps. Jody Hice and Andrew Clyde, who each represent a portion of Athens, sent a letter to UGA President Jere Morehead questioning whether university resources were used to create a map of “crisis pregnancy centers” that pose as women’s health clinics but exist mainly to steer pregnant women away from abortions.
The map at crisispregnancycentermap.com is maintained by epidemiology and biostatistics professors Andrea Swartzendruber and Danielle Lambert. Athens has one crisis pregnancy center that describes itself as a “faith-based nonprofit organization.”
Hice and Clyde claimed that the map makes such crisis pregnancy centers targets for terrorists. “The unhinged Left will stop at nothing to eradicate anything—or anyone—who opposes their radical pro-abortion agenda,” Hice said in a news release touting a July 8 article from the right-wing website Breitbart. “And unfortunately, the University of Georgia’s resources are being used by radical organizations to identify their next targets. The professors’ project is reckless and irresponsible. The University must take swift action to cut all ties with it.”
Hice and Clyde referenced protesters’ harassment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at a Washington, D.C. steakhouse, as well the vandalizing of a crisis pregnancy center in Seattle attributed to a fringe group called Jane’s Revenge and an online threat against a Denver crisis pregnancy center. However, such incidents have been rare and limited to graffiti, according to Slate. Mainstream abortion-rights groups like Planned Parenthood have disavowed violence.
“The Crisis Pregnancy Center Map was created in 2018 by two College of Public Health professors with academic expertise in reproductive health. Its purpose is to promote academic research and increase public awareness about crisis pregnancy centers,” said a statement issued by UGA. “The site compiles publicly available information about the locations of such centers, and some centers contact the authors to update their location information. The authors of the site condemn all threats or acts of vandalism or violence against crisis pregnancy centers.”
Meanwhile, at the Health Sciences Campus, Dean Marsha Davis warned students to lock doors and be cautious because some community members have received threatening calls and emails, according to The Red & Black student newspaper.
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