What are crisis pregnancy centers?

Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Crisis pregnancy centers masquerade as medical facilities. Here's one woman's story.

Posted by ProgressNow Colorado on Monday, April 17, 2017

Definition:  Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are fake clinics that use deceptive tactics to try to shame and coerce people away from seeking abortion or in some cases contraception.  They often target people living on the margins placing billboards in low-income neighborhoods or communities of color.   They are often affiliated with organizations aimed at getting rid of all access to abortion.

How are these centers deceiving?

Many people have seen the ads asking people to call a number if they are “pregnant and scared”.  Think about that – these places are targeting people who are in a tough place and preying on them.  It is horrifying and causes real harm to people in need of healthcare.

These fake clinics pose as comprehensive health-care clinics.  They may use a name like “Women’s Healthcare Clinic” and move near a Planned Parenthood or independent abortion provider.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers get people in by offering free pregnancy tests or an ultrasound even though few have any trained medical staff.  Their goal is to dissuade women from seeking abortion.  They not only refuse to give women who are experiencing unintended pregnancy any information or a referral to a center that can provide safe care, but they actually lie to women.  They push medically inaccurate lies about the safety of abortion or perpetuate disproven myths about the increased risk of breast cancer or claims that abortion impacts fertility.  A federal report of 23 CPCs found that 20 provided false or misleading information.

Impact on People of Color/Women of Color

We have made tremendous gains in Colorado in eliminating barriers to health services, but women of color, low-income people and immigrants are still struggling to be able to obtain the care they need.  This makes the targeting of marginalized communities by deceptive so-called clinics that much worse.  They are delaying the ability of people to get the care they need.

For women who are poor, do not have transportation or paid leave from work and people who need to arrange for childcare, making a trip to a provider is already difficult.  Making another trip after they have been lied to by the CPC may delay their access to care or push care completely out of reach.

These centers specifically try to advertise in places where people may not have access to a comprehensive clinic.  They do Spanish language billboards in neighborhoods with a large number of immigrants and focus on areas where people may not have insurance and are trying to figure out how to get care. They present themselves as being a way to meet people’s needs.  It is cruel, callous and unconscionable.

Stats on CPCs

Fake clinics outnumber abortion providers.  It is estimated that nationwide there are about 4,000 CPCs while the Guttmacher Institute estimates there are 1,800 clinics that provide abortion care with more and more closing their doors as a result of legislation designed to push medically unnecessary restrictions and make it impossible to provide or seek abortion.  More than 75% of Colorado counties lack an abortion provider.

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