fb-pixelOver 30 years ago, she read billboard: ‘Pregnant? We can help.’ Then she took the wrong turn. - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

Over 30 years ago, she read billboard: ‘Pregnant? We can help.’ Then she took the wrong turn.

A sign outside Problem Pregnancy, a crisis pregnancy center, on Pleasant Street in Worcester. It is located near a Planned Parenthood center.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Stephanie Ebbert’s article “Crisis pregnancy centers accused of deception” (Page A1, July 7) reminded me — in a flash of shame — of my own trusting response to a billboard that read “Pregnant? In trouble? We can help.” Thirty-three years ago, I knew someone who was sexually assaulted. Her trauma was compounded a few weeks later when she discovered she was pregnant.

She intended to get an abortion but wasn’t sure what her next step should be. I was gullible and gave her the phone number from the billboard, thinking that whoever answered would help her find the right clinic and maybe some financial assistance. I’ll never forget her pain that afternoon when she returned from the visit, or my searing guilt for giving her such terrible advice.


Once she moved past the doubt and guilt thrust on her by the “pregnancy crisis” proselytizers, she went to Planned Parenthood, where she found the support she needed. She was 19. I was 22.

Sometimes the mundane terrors young women survive on a daily basis (often alone and with very little money) take my breath away. The danger and subterfuge they now face, in the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson, lurk behind every corner.

Jennifer Beard


The writer is a clinical associate professor at Boston University School of Public Health.