Prevent CompassCare from coming to MCC and remove CompassCare from the list of women's health resources on MCC’s Student Health Services webpage.
This petition made change with 234 supporters!
CompassCare, a “pregnancy resource center,” has been coming to Monroe Community College (MCC), specifically its Damon City Campus, and offering free pregnancy tests and STI screenings. It is also listed as a resource for Women’s Health on MCC’s Student Health Services webpage. However, CompassCare must not be allowed be allowed to have a presence at MCC because it engages in deceptive practices. It does not openly advertise that it is a conservative Christian organization, and it provides biased, misleading information on reproductive health care.
I. One Student’s Experience
On February 28, 2015, a female student went to CompassCare’s table at the Damon City Campus. She saw that they were giving away free pregnancy tests and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) screenings, although she noted that they were not giving away free condoms. She assumed that CompassCare was an organization like Planned Parenthood or Highland Family Planning, and so she made an appointment for STI testing with the nurse running the table.
On March 3, 2015, the student went to her appointment at CompassCare, located on White Spruce Boulevard in Henrietta. She was seen by the nurse who was at CompassCare’s table at Damon. The appointment began with typical questions regarding the student’s sexual health; she was asked what forms of sexual activity she was engaging in and how many sexual partners she had. When the student told the nurse the number of sexual partners she’d had, the nurse stared at her in shock, which was completely inappropriate.
The nurse did not ask the student if she was using any form of contraception but did ask the student if she was pregnant. The student responded that she had an IUD. Again, the nurse reacted negatively to the student; the nurse scowled at her and said that IUDs “had risks.” The nurse did not explain what these risks were. The nurse also did not ask about condom usage, so the student brought it up, asking about the effectiveness of condoms. The nurse simply responded with “not 100%” and did not talk to the student about how to use condoms correctly.
The nurse told the student that she should get full-panel STI testing, including testing for HIV and syphilis. HIV and syphilis testing is usually done yearly, specifically for people who engage in high-risk behaviors; however, the student was last tested three months ago and consistently uses condoms, and is therefore not high-risk.
The student was given a pelvic exam. After the exam, the student was told that she had yeast infection, but the nurse did not recommend any form of treatment or provide any additional information about the infection. The student saw a brochure on yeast infections in the office and picked it up on her own after the appointment.
The student was then tested for STIs. The standard practice for STI testing is to take a cheek swab, a finger prick, or a urine sample. The nurse instead attempted a much more invasive form of testing in trying to draw the student’s blood. The nurse was unable to find a vein; after several attempts, the student vomited, and the nurse gave up.
While the student was not given information relevant to her yeast infection, the nurse did give her some other literature and went over it with her. The student was handed a pamphlet titled "How at Risk Are You?" which was created by an abstinence-only education organization, Why kNOw Abstinence Education Programs. The brochure was eleven years old and featured a chart warning against “sexual exposure” based on how many sexual partners one has. According to the pamphlet’s erroneous premises, the student was informed that she had been exposed to more than 4,095 sexual partners, a number so high it was actually off the chart. The back of the pamphlet states, “The only safe sex is no sex until faithful married sex!”
She also was given a pamphlet entitled “Steps to Peace with God.” The nurse went through each page of this pamphlet with the student. One of the last pages of the pamphlet had a prayer:
“Dear Lord Jesus,
I Know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your Forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior.”
The nurse asked the student to sign the prayer, but the student refused. Again, the nurse stared disapprovingly at the student.
After the nurse gave the student the religious literature, she handed to the student a “personal resource list.” On the personal resource list, the nurse recommended that the student see a doctor and suggested additional STD testing at another clinic. She also referred the student to a church, Bethel Christian Fellowship, giving to the student its address and phone number.
Before leaving, the student asked if she could receive her results over the phone or by mail, both standard industry practices. The nurse told her that the only way to get her test result was to make a second appointment one week later at CompassCare.
Throughout this appointment, the nurse deviated from standard industry practices: the nurse did not ask the student about what contraceptives she used, the nurse did not explain the risks of IUDs, the nurse did not provide condoms or information on condoms, the nurse used an unnecessarily invasive form of STI testing, the student was required to come back to the center one week later for her results, and the nurse did not provide information or treatment for the student’s yeast infection. Perhaps most alarmingly, the nurse pushed conservative Christian views on the student, even though CompassCare does not advertise that it is a conservative Christian -- or even religious -- organization. The nurse repeatedly expressed disapproval of the student’s sexual health choices because the student was unmarried and sexually active, even though the student practices safe sex by having an IUD and consistently using condoms. In addition, the student was asked to sign a prayer and was referred to a church. The student was effectively shamed for being sexually active.
II. Later Investigations
On Wednesday, March 23, students called CompassCare for more information. The students first asked if CompassCare offers free condoms, which is the industry standard for reproductive health centers. The receptionist told the students that CompassCare does not offer condoms and, when asked where condoms are available, said she did not know.
The students then called again and asked for services for a boyfriend, and they were told that CompassCare is primarily a pregnancy services center but will screen men for STIs. However, the receptionist said that the results would take as long as a week to come in, so she recommended that the boyfriend go to the STD Clinic at the Monroe County Department of Health for faster results. When a female student called the next day asking for STI testing for herself, the receptionist did not make this same recommendation, instead making an appointment for STI testing at CompassCare. Clearly, CompassCare is targeting women.
III. CompassCare’s Deceptive Practices
CompassCare does not openly advertise that it is a conservative Christian organization. Neither their table at Damon City Campus nor their website (http://www.compasscare.info/) mentions anything about the religious nature of the organization. Instead, CompassCare appears to be just like any other reproductive health organization; thus, unsuspecting students who are expecting nonjudgmental, unbiased reproductive health care may make an appointment with CompassCare, only to have these religious views pushed on them.
In addition, CompassCare uses very misleading information. On its website, under the section “Your Questions Answered,” it makes medically-unsupported statements such as, “Add Brain Cancer to List of Risks Associated with ‘The Pill’” and “Nearsighted? Birth Control May Escalate Vision Problems.” However, the medical consensus is that the birth control pill is very safe.
IV. CompassCare’s Presence at MCC
CompassCare has been regularly coming to MCC’s Damon City Campus, and it is currently listed as the first “excellent resource” for women’s health on MCC’s Student Health Services’s website. MCC’s Student Health Services’s website provides its address and phone number, but does not provide the address for Highland Family Planning or any of the Planned Parenthood locations in Rochester and surrounding areas.
MCC’s explicit support of CompassCare as an “excellent resource” for its students’ reproductive health simply cannot be permitted to continue. CompassCare is a deceptive organization that insidiously pushes its pro-life agenda onto unsuspecting patients.
The problem is not that it is a religious organization; the problem is that it is not transparent. There is simply no way for students to know that it is a conservative Christian organization because that information is deeply hidden. Furthermore, CompassCare allows its religious biases to affect the information that it gives patients: it does not give honest, objective information on contraception or abortion but instead twists facts to make sexual activity, contraceptives, and abortion seem more dangerous than they are. Finally, CompassCare targets women to prevent them from getting abortions and shames women for being sexually active, effectively perpetuating outdated, sexist standards of purity.
MCC students have the right to unbiased, nonjudgmental reproductive health care. As long as CompassCare is coming to MCC’s campus and deceiving our students, this right is being violated.
We, the undersigned MCC students and alumni, ask that you remove CompassCare from the list of women’s health resources on MCC’s Student Health ServicesWebsite and prevent CompassCare from returning to our campus.
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