Student Newsroom

Community members protest pregnancy center’s banquet


Protesters gather across the street from the pregnancy center’s banquet chanting in their direction. The group accused the Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center of being anti-abortion. Madison Holcomb

About 30 abortion-rights advocates gathered outside the I-Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign Oct. 4 to protest a local pregnancy center they say pressures people to not get abortions. 

The Champaign-based group, Party for Socialism and Liberation, hosted the rally while members from the Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center held a fundraising banquet inside the hotel. 

Hrant Kebantsi, a member of the socialist group, said the center’s pregnancy options are misleading.  

“We believe that they’re not only preying on pregnant people and attempting to prevent them from exercising their right to choose what to do with their pregnancy,” Kebantsi said, “but they’re threatening this community.

“Their goal is to promote false information to dissuade women and pregnant people from having abortions.” 

No one from the Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center was available to comment during the protest.

However, on its website, the center promotes itself as an organization committed to making sure women understand their options when it comes to pregnancy.

The website states that the pregnancy center does not perform abortions or refer clients for abortions.

Instead, the site states, Living Alternatives counselors try to ensure clients understand the serious physical and emotional ramifications of abortion.

But protester Abbie Simpson, another member of the Party for Socialism and LIberation, said the pregnancy center should be more transparent about the services it offers.

“I think that they are extremely deceptive in their messaging,” she said.

Alexandra Schneeberger, a protester at the rally, agreed. 

“Centers such as these mislead young women and push back the date to which they might be able to receive a safe and healthy abortion to prevent them from receiving an abortion,” she said. “It's a pro-life foundation.”

She said Champaign officials should take action against the center.

“Just because Roe v. Wade has been overturned on the federal level doesn’t mean that small change and things like this can’t continue to happen,” Schneeberger said.

Emily Kubik, another protester, said community members should also take action.

“I think it’s very important for people to use their voices and come out when they can to help people who really need support,” Kubik said. 

The Living Alternatives organization has more than a dozen centers in Illinois and Indiana, according to the website. Those include centers in Champaign and Rantoul.