Photo Credits: Jezebel
When you go to the Obria Medical Clinics website it looks like a standard women's health clinic chain presentation. It is a client-facing website with an image of medical neutrality and it offers a variety of services including a range of prenatal care options, pregnancy testing and abortion counseling or "pregnancy decision consultations" as they label it. The organization is trying to position itself as a warmer and more personable alternative to cold, clinical medical settings and as a national alternative to Planned Parenthood, trying to obtain Title X funding and to open 200 clinics across the United States within the next three years.
But underneath this surface Obria is an anti-abortion religious medical chain which was formed in 1980s as a crisis pregnancy center, Birthright of Mission Viejo. In 2014, though, the brand evolved into the more innocuous-sounding Obria, a name that bears no trace of its conservative, anti-choice past. Even its founder, Kathleen Eaton Bravo, is openly against abortion and she speaks about her own past abortion experience and the adverse consequences she believes it caused. According to Patheos, she believes Obria is “saving babies” and “impacting the culture” by offering a less overtly religious option that functions a lot like your grandmother’s crisis pregnancy center, but with better branding: I’m a business woman and I brought a business model to this. The pregnancy center movement came out of my mother’s generation and it’s all compassion and love and heart, with lots of volunteers. But when you create a full medical model you have a plan, and you hire people. Our nurses are young, strong Christians, who are pro-life and love what they do.
The Trump administration influenced Obria's development and prospering when it decided to give as much as $5.1 million in family planning funds to this medical chain. This grant came from the Department of Health and Human Services and it represents a fraction of the total amount of family planning money awarded by the department. The program name is Title X and it subsidizes birth control, cancer screenings and other medical care for four million low-income patients. This looks like an important move to try to defund medical clinics that provide abortions and it gave Obria possibility to siphon money away from those clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood.
With funding they receive and with their slightly illusive website, Obria is attracting many women in need who are not completely aware that they are putting their health in the hands of religiously-motivated nurses more committed to an anti-abortion ideology.