The executive director of an anti-choice ministry called “ICU Mobile” touted his organization’s effort to deploy recreational vehicles outfitted with ultrasound machines to sway “abortion-minded women” away from undergoing the procedures at the headquarters of the Family Research Council on Wednesday.
Michael Homula, an admitted former member of the radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, claimed that ICU Mobile has a fleet of 41 vehicles around the country (far more than the 12 ICU lays claim to on its website). He described the process of ICU Mobile founder Sylvia Slyfco’s efforts of retrofitting an RV into a “mobile ministry” that administers ultrasounds and offers “counseling” in the same style as anti-choice Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which have come under fire for providing a litany of inaccurate medical information to the often-unsuspecting women who enter the facilities under the assumption that they’re health care centers.
He claimed the RVs go through a process that’s slightly different from a straightforward retrofitting because “that’s just a little creepy.” He went on to explain that, “this vehicle technically never was an RV even though it looks like one” and that the staff members all go through a 20-week ministry training because “they must put on the full armor of God.”
Homula said they deploy the vehicles to where he claimed “15-28 year old women typically go,” a list that included shopping malls, college campuses, parks, beaches, drug stores, bar districts, sporting events, concerts and, in his words, “housing projects.”
The vehicles work morning, afternoon and evening shifts, but he said his mobile fleet isn’t as busy in the mornings. “Most of our clients aren’t out of bed in the morning,” he said.
He also mentioned that ICU Mobile had its lowest “return on investment” when it parked outside of abortion clinics. “A woman who’s at an abortion mill has already made up her mind,” he said.
Homula then projected a list of competing corporations, and asked what they had in common. “They’re competing for the same customers,” he said, just like the Crisis Pregnancy Centers and abortion clinics were competing for the same “customers.”
“It may seem uncouth to refer to a woman seeking an abortion as a customer, but that’s how we have to think about it to win,” he said. “But we have God on our side, so we already have a competitive advantage.”
Homula, who says he was adopted and claimed that a pro-life woman knew his biological woman was a rape victim persuaded out of having an abortion, said he opposes the “pervasive” idea that abortions are acceptable in the case of rape or incest.
“It’s hard to believe that me in the womb and me now is much different,” Homula said. “The only difference is that now I’m breathing air.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 21 states mandate some type of ultrasound counseling for women seeking an abortion.
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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