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The Careful, Calculated Ways Crisis Pregnancy Centers Hurt Women

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by Kate Brunotts

In May of this year, Alabama passed a bill gravely restricting reproductive rights coined The Human Life Protection Act. Under this law, any doctor who performs an abortion in cases outside of rape or incest is subject to Class A felony charges, equating to a prison sentence of no less than 10 years.

It seems that those opposing a woman’s right to choose are making impressive legal headway and becoming increasingly vocal under the current administration. However, for the past decade, pro-life affiliated organizations have been quietly creating “crisis clinics” which often use misleading tactics to target women seeking out information regarding abortion. 

In an age where news is defined by clickbait titles, it’s important to pay close attention to these lesser-known tactics targeting women on a day-to-day basis. 

What is a Crisis Clinic (CPC)?

Crisis Pregnancy Centers or CPCs are also known under the monikers “pregnancy care centers” or “pregnancy resource centers.” The main goal of these organizations is to seek out women who might be considering abortion due to an unplanned pregnancy. 

CPCs do not offer abortion services or referrals despite advertising abortion “counseling” or “information.” The centers usually point to adoption or parenting as options and offer prenatal support, as well as baby clothes, and other items for newborns. 

Although these resources are vital to mothers set on having a child amidst financial hardship, for the vulnerable woman unsure of her options, CPCs can be largely shaming under the guise of a healthcare provider.

Through their affiliations with large, usually religiously-oriented care networks, CPCs are able to offer ultrasounds and other services, giving their facilities a facade of a medical institution. Although they are protected under the 1st amendment, these clinics intentionally misinform women by often offering up information that is not medically backed. 

Common Harmful Practices 

While CPCs do offer a number of legitimate care options for women seeking post-pregnancy care, their day-to-day practices regarding undecided women are deceitful as they are harmful. 

Lack of Resources – CPCs are focused around abstinence-only education, meaning that they do not offer any contraception, including condoms and birth control, to their visitors, despite claiming to cater to all women. 

False Advertising- CPCs often name their clinics under obvious misleading titles, for example, “AAA Women for Choice” and “A Woman’s Choice” in Virginia. The CPC extends this practice to search engine optimization, where they will target searches such as “abortion near me”, “where can I get an abortion” etc.

CPCs try to emulate doctor’s offices by offering services such as free pregnancy tests and STD testing in order to appear neutral. 

False Fear-Based Medical Advice- A number of undercover visitors to CPCs have reported “counselors” (who most of the time have little to no medical background) serving false claims to women, even to go so far as saying that “abortion could lead to breast cancer”

Funding CPCs

Crisis Clinics receive funding through donations, related religious and anti-choice organizations, and the federal government. Federal funds are often intertwined with government programs such as Title V, which is solely focused on abstinence education (which they recently rebranded to “avoiding sexual risk” education) and receives up to 50 million dollars per year in grants. 

Crisis Pregnancy Centers also receive funds from the “choose life” license plate options available in over 30 states. The pro-choice option, “Trust women. Respect choice.” plates, is only available in 5 states — Not to mention, funding from these plates no longer goes directly to Planned Parenthood… An unprecedented amendment to these license plates switched affiliated funds from the reproductive care facility to a general “pregnancy support” fund. 

Of course, all proceeds from the anti-choice option go directly to CPCS, maternity homes, and adoption centers. 

As a country supposedly founded on a separation of church and state, Crisis Pregnancy Centers are an extreme perversion. 

Manipulating vulnerable women to promote a religious agenda is never okay, and while CPCs do offer some legitimate support to women seeking post-pregnancy services, their nefarious marketing tactics and misinformation often cause more harm than good. Especially considering that the number of CPCs is much greater than the number of clinics offering abortion. 

For a conservative majority that praises minimal government involvement, interfering with a woman’s highly personal reproductive health seems like it should be at the top of the list. 

But then again, when your country’s leader touted his tendency to “Grab her by the pussy” as a full-fledged adult, it’s unfortunately not hard to believe that we have a difficult time trusting women and their choices in the United States. 

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