Obria, the anti-abortion group that’s tapping into “wellness” culture, explained
Head to the clinic’s website and you’ll find a slideshow of images meant to make you feel welcome — a smiling woman in scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck, a diverse group of young people perhaps planning for their future, a college-aged patient in a flannel shirt looking anxious but hopeful.
In a linked video, a young woman with a tear-stained face gazes at the camera as a warm female voice reassures her: “Sex, fertility, pregnancy, questions about your body? Those are the things we’re here to help you with.”
“We’re here to listen to you,” the voice goes on. “To take every breath with you. Because your health matters to us.”
The young woman takes a deep breath. She smiles in relief.
This is the public face of Obria, a network of facilities in California and other states that purport to offer reproductive health care. Earlier this year, Obria received a $1.7 million federal grant through Title X, a program aimed at providing family planning services to underserved Americans. The program was designed, in part, to help people get affordable contraception like birth control pills and IUDs.
The group positions itself as “holistic and anti-hormones,” Alice Huling, counsel for the Campaign for Accountability, an anti-corruption watchdog group that has produced a report on Obria, told Vox. “That is obviously something that has general appeal well beyond folks who have the same narrow view of reproductive rights and birth control access.”
The center that would grow into Obria went by a variety of names, including Birthright of Mission Viejo, according to the Campaign for Accountability. Obria’s CEO, Kathleen Eaton Bravo, says she became an anti-abortion advocate after having an abortion. Afterwards, she told the website Aleteia in 2016, “I ended up telling God, ‘Just bring me one woman that I can share what I’ve been through and tell her she doesn’t have to do this — that she has options, then maybe I can start to forgive myself.’”
But Obria CEO Kathleen Eaton Bravo said in an email to supporters earlier this year that the group would “never provide hormonal contraception,” according to the Campaign for Accountability report. To the Campaign for Accountability’s knowledge, the group’s facilities also do not provide condoms, Huling said. Obria has not yet responded to Vox’s request for comment.