Let's Talk about Racism at Fake Abortion Clinics

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 blog Share

"Safe abortion doesn't just mean the procedure. It also has to mean the property and the clinic itself."

let's talk race

Fake abortion clinics, also known as crisis pregnancy centers and limited resource pregnancy centers, are anti-choice organizations pretending to be actual medical facilities. Inside these clinics, you can expect to find inaccurate or no information about birth control and abortion, plus shaming about sex, and coercion (lying to you about how far along you are in pregnancy). It might not surprise you that the same folks who support and run fake clinics also perpetuate racist lies about black people, abortion, slavery, police violence, as well as co-opting the language of Black Lives Matter.

On November 9, Reproaction held a webinar entitled "Racism in Anti-Abortion Fake Clinics", in which speakers Brandi Collins-Calhoun, Kimberly Kelly, Ph.D. and Ash Williams, addressed the racist actions of anti choicers, including blaming black women for destroying their communities by choosing abortion, colonizing black neighborhoods, and pushing a revisionist narrative of slavery. This isn't new behavior - the anti choice movement has deep roots in white supremacy, and it's impacting access to safe abortion care for people of color in the form of bans on abortion, abortion restrictions, and harrassment at clinics. "Safe abortion doesn't just mean the procedure," pointed out Collins-Calhoun. "It also has to mean the property and the clinic itself."

Here's what you can do to take racist fake clinics to task:

  • Spread the word about fake clinics.

Many people, even those who identify as pro-choice, aren't aware that fake clinics exist, and if they are, they don't necessarily know about the tactics they use to pull people in. Watch Reproaction's webinar, read our blog posts, and use the knowledge you have to let people know about fake clinics, particularly those in your city or town.

  • Educate yourself and others about how fake clinics are funded.

Fake clinics receive funding from both federal and private sources, many of which are associated with evangelical churches, and others rerouted from vital public funding such as TANF. Knowing and naming these sources, and making them known to others, will help us get fake clinics defunded.

  • If you're a lawyer or a law student, get involved.

Clinics need volunteer legal observers (in addition to escorts) to monitor and document the antics of anti-choicers. Lawyers are also needed to help young people navigate the complexities of judicial bypass, or the process one must go through if they live in a state requiring parental permission to obtain an abortion but don't want to or can't inform their parents.  For more information about getting involved with legal work and reproductive justice, check out If/When/How.