CPCs: It’s Time to Expose these Fake Clinics
Photos courtesy of Austin NOW’s CPC protests
A person suddenly facing an unintended pregnancy might find themselves in need of guidance about their available options. Anyone seeking healthcare information deserves medically accurate, unbiased care in order to be able to make the best decision for themselves. However, in the United States, there are anti-abortion, taxpayer-funded facilities that pose as medical providers with the goal of preying upon vulnerable people and pressuring them to carry their pregnancies to term. These organizations attempt to dissuade people from exercising their right to abortion and even interfere with their access to other reproductive healthcare options like birth control and emergency contraception.
These facilities, called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) or pregnancy resource centers, use deceptive tactics to bring people to their facilities, where they then propagate misinformation. They also refuse referral to medical providers that could provide contraception or abortion care. The tactics of CPCs are nothing short of malicious and can include any or all of the following:
- CPCs pose as women’s health clinics, with names that are intentionally similar to nearby, real medical providers, while appearing to promise neutral pregnancy-related information. Personnel dress in white coats or scrubs, though there are rarely any medical professionals volunteering in these facilities. CPCs are unlicensed and thus not bound by medical confidentiality rules or state laws requiring that they provide medically accurate information.
- CPCs are dishonest about what services they actually offer. Their main goal when speaking to someone on the phone is to get them to visit the CPC in person. Volunteers are vague, misleading, and not straightforward about what information and services they will provide. This can lead people who are pregnant to believe that they will be getting neutral, medically accurate information, when in fact they will not.
- CPCs’ “free” services are not truly free, but are given in exchange for watching deceptive presentations or attending religious counseling sessions. Furthermore, the free pregnancy tests are often the same tests that are available over the counter at drug stores, not those that patients would be given at a doctor’s office. If someone has carried their pregnancy to term and is seeking assistance, “free” items like diapers, clothes, and toys also come at the same price of attending so many religious counseling sessions or presentations in order to earn “points” at the organization.
- CPCs do not provide accurate information. Some incorrectly state that condoms are not an effective means of preventing pregnancy or the transmission of STIs. They exaggerate the failure rates of some forms of birth control. CPCs also give inaccurate representations of abortion procedures and risks, using graphic images and false information about the emotional and physical “consequences” of abortion to scare people into continuing their pregnancies.
- CPCs launch initiatives to target minority communities. CPCs harm these communities by withholding information about the full range of reproductive healthcare options available and disrespect them by showing a fundamental misunderstanding of their situations and needs.
It is important to recognize these fake clinics for what they are and share information about their deceptive tactics. SASS believes that all people should have access to medically and scientifically accurate information surrounding all aspects of abortion and contraception and believes women should have agency over their own reproductive choices. For information and support about self-managed abortion, visit us at abortionpillinfo.org.