I had a patient in the clinic who really did not want an abortion but who had no resources to cover the costs of prenatal care or childbirth. She was single and without insurance coverage but made just enough money to be ineligible for state assistance. She already had outstanding bills at the hospital and with the local ob-gyn practice. No doctor would see her without payment up front.

We were willing to do the abortion for a reduced rate or for free if necessary. But she really didn’t want an abortion. Once I understood her situation, I went to the phone and called the local ‘crisis pregnancy center.’

"Hello, this is Dr. Wicklund."

Dead silence. I might as well have said I was Satan.

"Hello?" I said again. "This is Dr. Wicklund."

"Hello," very tentatively, followed by another long silence.

"I need help with a patient," I said. She came to me for an abortion, but really doesn’t want one. What she really needs is someone to do her prenatal care and birth for free."

"What do you expect us to do?"

I let that hang for a minute.

— 

This Common Secret, Susan Wicklund

Crisis Pregnancy Centers often disguise themselves as medical facilities, with advertisements offering “help” with an unplanned pregnancy. Their main goal is to keep the pregnant person from having an abortion at all costs. Usually, all they’ll give you is a free pregnancy test, some baby clothes, and maybe a box of diapers.

The patient referred to in the quote was given free prenatal care and did not have to pay the financial cost of childbirth by a local anti-choice doctor. She would often stop by Dr. Wicklund’s office to let her know how she was doing:

"He always moans and groans about being tricked into [doing this]," she says. "Then he goes off on these tirades against abortion."

This was about ten years ago but I still think about it to this day. A close friend of mine tried to hide her pregnancy for a long time, as if it would just go away. I finally convinced her to see someone. She went to a place called CareNet, a place we had seen advertisements for in a local paper. It promised a free pregnancy test, sonograms, and reproductive option counseling. She was wooden by the time she went and was most likely completely separated from her pregnancy. So despite the propaganda videos, the pamphlets, and pressure from the center’s staff, she decided she wanted to have an abortion. They told her that there was a week-long waiting period that she had to go through to be sure she really wanted it. She went back a week later still set on having the procedure. The receptionist said, “I’m sorry, I seem to have lost record of your appointment. Come back in four days when the doctor will be here next.” When she went back in four days, they told her the doctor was sick. I told her it seemed sketchy and that she should go to a Planned Parenthood clinic. The nearest one was 45 miles away. Because of her work schedule, she was only able to go five days after that. When she arrived at the clinic they told her she was 17 weeks along. In our state you can only have an abortion up to 16 weeks unless it’s an emergency … She was forced to carry to term and give the baby up for adoption.
— 

Susam Bedford, IN (http://cpcwatch.org/Testimonials.php) (via expose-cpcs)

This is what Crisis Pregnancy Centers do.  Their agenda is to prevent as many people as possible from having abortions by any means necessary.  They do not care about your health, wishes, or well-being.  All they care about is taking away your reproductive choices.  They are usually religiously affiliated, deeply misogynistic, and they will lie to you.  They do not want to help you.  They want to control you.

Um. WHAT.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s wife is on the board of a crisis pregnancy center, a name for organizations that use lies, manipulation, and delay tactics to prevent people from getting an abortion. Their page on the risks of abortion is full of junk science, decades-old studies, and logical leaps, and their resources for pregnant women are virtually all deceptive crisis pregnancy centers.

No wonder Scalia defends anti-abortion harassment masking itself as “sidewalk counseling.” The Supreme Court is currently hearing a case on buffer zones outside abortion clinics, which would keep protestors a respectful (and safe) distance from patients and staff. Justice Scalia is clearly biased and should recuse himself from the case. This is ridiculous.

How can I tell crisis pregnancy centers and real reproductive health centers apart?

image

Someone asked us:

I heard about crisis pregnancy centers and how it gives incorrect and biased information about abortion, and in my area, an Open Arms Pregnancy Center opened near my school and how would I be able to tell if it’s similar/bad?

Oh man, crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) really grate my cheese.  It can sometimes be tough to tell whether a clinic is a CPC because they’re specifically designed to be deceptive.  They use the ol’ bait-n-switch to trick vulnerable people dealing with unwanted pregnancies into thinking they’ll get legit health care and counseling. Instead, visitors are treated to an alarmist, medically-inaccurate, liar-liar-pants-on-fire speech intended to scare them out of having an abortion or even just using birth control. EW!

CPCs often:

  • Are not staffed by doctors, nurses, ultrasound techs, or any other real health care professionals.
  •  Say that abortion causes breast cancer, sterility, and long-term psychological damage (lies, lies, and more lies).
  • Provide misleading information about the side effects and failure rates of birth control and condoms.
  • Use manipulative tactics to get pregnant women to delay real counseling or medical care until it’s too late for a legal abortion.
  • Subject people to religious and ideological propaganda against abortion, birth control, condoms, and/or sexual activity, instead of giving non-biased, factual information about their sexual health.
  • Set up shop very close to legitimate reproductive health centers, hoping to confuse patients.

Probably the easiest way to determine if a clinic is a CPC is to call and inquire about their services. If they say they don’t provide abortion, birth control, STD testing, or condoms, or they won’t refer you to places that do, it’s a pretty clear indication that something’s fishy. Often they won’t give you any information about their services at all over the phone, demanding that you visit the CPC in person. A health center that is not up front about their services is probably up to no good. Sad face.

Everyone deserves quality, factual, non-judgmental medical care, which is the last thing you’ll get at a CPC. So good for you for keeping an eye out and being smart and proactive about your health care! You can always rely on your local Planned Parenthood health center for unbiased information about all of your reproductive health options.

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood

Common Lies Told By Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Crisis pregnancy centers are sometimes called fake abortion clinics because of their tendency to locate themselves near real clinics and use deceptive names and advertising. Their real goal is to prevent clients from having an abortion, even if this means lying. These myths are perpetuated on CPC websites, advertisements, materials in the center, and in person.

1) Lie: Abortion causes breast cancer

Truth: Every reputable cancer institute and OB/GYN organization has said this is false and based on poor research. [source] [source]

2) Lie: Abortion causes infertility

Truth: While complications with abortion, just as with any other reproductive procedure, can have an effect on future fertility, abortion does not have a unique negative effect on fertility. [source] [source]

3) Lie: Abortion causes mental health problems

Truth: Sometimes referred to by anti-abortion activists as “Post-Abortion Syndrome” or “Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome,” these effects aren’t supported by the American Psychological Association or the American Psychiatric Association. [source] [source] [source]

4) Lie: Abortion is dangerous

Truth: Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, with a risk of less than 0.05% of major complications that may need hospital care. The risk of death associated with abortion is 1/1,000,000 before 8 weeks and 1/29,000 at 16-20 weeks. [source]

5) Lie: Birth control and condoms don’t work

Truth: The effectiveness of birth control depends on how well it’s used. Condoms have a 98% effectiveness rate when used perfectly, but that goes down to 82% with “typical” use. Long-term methods, such as the IUD and implant, are over 99% effective.

Birth control works best when multiple methods are used together, such as consistently taking the birth control pill and using condoms, or having an IUD and using the pull-out method. [source] [source] [source]

6) Lie: Emergency contraception is abortion

Truth: Emergency contraception, also known as the “morning after pill” or by one brand’s name, Plan B, works primarily to stop the ovary from releasing an egg that can be fertilized by incoming sperm. This prevents a pregnancy from occurring in the first place, and EC will not work if a fertilized egg has already implanted in the uterus. There is no evidence to suggest that EC prevents a fertilized egg from implanting. [source] [source] [source] [source]

7) Lie: The abortion pill doesn’t work on ectopic pregnancies

Truth: This is a half-truth. The medication typically used in medication abortions, mifepristone, has no effect on an ectopic pregnancy. However, methotrexate is also sometimes used in medication abortions, either in pill or injection form, and it can treat an ectopic pregnancy. [source]

8) Lie: Embryos and fetuses can feel pain during an abortion

Truth: The current research finds that fetuses likely cannot perceive pain or distinguish it from touch until the third trimester of pregnancy. Nearly 99% of abortions happen before this point. [source] [source] [source]

ok so i went to the cpc in harrisonburg today and HOLY SHIT what the fuck is up with these places

  • they tried to dictate my sex life: “well, if you aren’t pregnant, you should talk to your boyfriend about maybe remaining abstinent until marriage?”
  • when i said nah, that’s something we feel comfortable doing and what if we don’t get married, anyway?: “you really should stay abstinent if you don’t want to get pregnant. think about your career!”
  • when i said, well there’s always birth control; i could talk to my gyno about that: “BIRTH CONTROL IS ONLY ABOUT 60-80% EFFECTIVE and doesn’t prevent stds”
  • when i said, i’m in a committed relationship, i have no risk of stds b/c we’re faithful to each other: “you’re in a long-distance relationship; you don’t know what your boyfriend is doing right now” (actually, bitch, i knew for a fact that he was writing a paper that’s due tomorrow and he knew i’d dump his ass if i knew he was cheating and how fucking DARE you imply that my boyfriend was cheating on me)
  • they tried to tell me how far along i was in my pregnancy BEFORE WE GOT THE RESULTS OF THE TEST BACK
  • i gave them a range of two-three days of when my “last-possible start of period” day was and they chose the earliest day so i would be farther along in “my pregnancy”
  • even though they were non-compliant with HIPPA, they still had signage saying that the use of phones in the building was prohibited (fuck that, i had my cell phone recording EVERYTHING)
  • I GOT PAMPHLETS ABOUT ABSTINENCE. THREE OF THEM. there’s one pamphlet that they stressed for me to read to sam about not co-habiting before marriage and i was like haaaaaah fuck that b/c it’s cheaper to live together
  • they offered me binkies for “my baby” and also had binkies/bottles out in the lobby
  • they told me that they “really wish that i could choose abstinence” and that since i was “strong enough to come into the harrisonburg pregnancy center, that i was strong enough to hold off from sex so i wouldn’t have a pregnancy scare again”
  • the little white lady that was my “counselor” was using EBONICS; she literally told me that if sam was pressuring me to have sex, that i could tell him, “man don’t be a hata” oh my god i wanted to punch her so bad
  • they told me condoms barely helped to protect against hiv/aids and that they were only about 75% effective against pregnancy
  • told me that i should really consider keeping the baby and not to adopt it out 
  • after we found out that i wasn’t pregnant (ok i knew b/c i haven’t had sex since august, but they didn’t know that; i told them it was october for the purposes of this visit), they told me that i should get another pregnancy test AT THE HOSPITAL like fuck that
  • THEY HAD BIBLE VERSES EVERYWHERE
  • god i want to upload the pictures i took because the forms they had me fill out were awful
  • they had forms that implied that there was a proven link b/t suicide and abortion but the anti-abortion literature they had cited studies that were 20+ years old
  • there was a lady who was about six months along who just found out she was pregnant and THEY TOOK ME IN BEFORE THEY TOOK HER IN EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS THERE BEFORE ME
  • they took my god damn picture at reception i guess to fb stalk me (i gave them a fake name, fake e-mail, fake address, fake phone number)

god fuck everything about crisis pregnancy centers they’re the fucking worst

“Crisis Pregnancy Centers” (CPCs) or Pregnancy Resource Centers advertise on your campus and in your community. They pose as comprehensive women’s health clinics and advertise under “abortion” and “family planning” services, but do not offer abortion services, contraception, or referrals.

CPCs often provide false information about abortion, birth control, and the effectiveness of condoms for the prevention of STIs and HIV. Ultimately, their tactics delay or intimidate women from receiving comprehensive medical care.

Fake clinics target college students by locating near campuses and advertising “free” pregnancy tests. According to a 2008 survey by the Feminist Majority Foundation, 48% of responding Campus Health Centers include CPCs on their referral lists for students facing unintended pregnancies.

This website has some basic tips for combating fake clinics on campus and in your town. Their printable toolkit has flyers you can post to let others know about these centers.

So I’ve started up a petition to ban and shut down Crisis Pregnancy Center’s in the USA. Many of these centers claim to help people, but in reality they have a long history of lying, spreading dangerous misinformation (like claiming condoms don’t work) and even blackmail.

The masquerade as real clinics, but they often do not have anyone with medical training on staff. These clinics hurt tens thousands of people every year, and they need to be stopped. Please take a moment to sign this petition!

A client and companion came up to me and asked to get an ultrasound at the (abortion) clinic. They had been to the CPC (crisis pregnancy center) to get an ultrasound, but no one there was medically able to interpret it.
— 

This happened to a fellow escort this morning.

Proof that CPC’s use expensive medical equipment as a diversion/manipulation tactic. Proof that CPC’s are in no way shape or form medical clinics with medical professionals. Proof that CPC’s are not concerned with your health, only attempting to convince and guilt you into not having an abortion

When Jordan called Bethany’s statewide headquarters one night, her shepherding mother answered, responding coldly to Jordan’s lament. “You’re the one who spread your legs and got pregnant out of wedlock,” she told Jordan. “You have no right to grieve for this baby.”
— 

Shotgun Adoption: Christian agencies lavish support services on pregnant women - if they give up their babies.

This is a really disturbing article about how crisis pregnancy centers pressure pregnant people into adoption. It mainly focuses on Bethany Christian Services, but Care Net, the largest CPC organization in the country, has also been exposed as practicing coercive adoption.

"A Letter To A Sidewalk 'Counselor'" Sent from Anon

To the sidewalk “counselor” at Planned Parenthood,

Hi there, sir. You probably don’t remember me, but I sure as hell remember you. It was December 21st, 2013, at the PP in St. Louis, MO. I was there for my first abortion consultation. 

Imagine this. Shitty, freezing rain day. Eighteen year old girl. Senior in HS planning on college next year. Scared as shit. Barely five weeks pregnant. Sleep deprived. Having such terrible implantation cramping she curls up in a ball every night holding her breath. Nervous and equally scared (but just as supportive) boyfriend and her pull into the parking lot, right in front of the fence. 

See, I was relieved because at first glance, there weren’t any protestors out front like there usually were. But then I see you walk up to us, sneakily, behind the fence, in the corner of my eye. You’re older, 65 or so. You say “Good morning guys, Merry Christmas”. I immediately know where this is going, and my anxiety kicks in.

Despite the fact I want to tell you to fuck off at this point, I keep my cool. My boyfriend and I smile, say “Merry Christmas” back. Before we can turn around, you let the bomb drop “Are you parents to an unborn child?” We don’t respond, and I’m sure your soul fills with delight because you get to be the hero of the day. Out of the blue, two PP volunteers come up to us with umbrellas, apologizing they couldn’t be there sooner. We walk away.

You don’t like that.

Your voice gets louder. “We have a free medical bus in the parking lot” (I don’t even turn around, I’m not stupid and know what a Crisis Pregnancy Center is). This annoys you, and as we get closer to the building, you start yelling. “It’s not too late! Do you know your baby has a heartbeat at eighteen days? It has all its fingers and toes?? Did you know….” Your voice is finally drowned out inside. 

I always think, what if I was some poor girl on my own, who didn’t quite know what CPPs were? If your free medical bus had enticed me? I know. I might have gone in there. Got a free ultrasound by a lady in a coat pretending to be a doctor. Listen to you feed me lies about abortion. Maybe I would have even kept the baby! You’d promise me free clothes and diapers if I came to parenting/bible classes. 

But let me ask you this, where the hell would you be after that? 

You’re so worried about me keeping this baby, so I’m guessing you’d help me raise it right? You’d help me pay for childcare and clothes and toys. Help me find my own place and pay rent? Support food stamp legislature so I’ll be able to feed myself? Probably not. You’re not concerned about me. You’re not even real concerned about the five week “child” that’s currently the size of a blueberry. 

You want to be able to go around and tell people you saved some poor eighteen year old girl and her boyfriend from killing her child because you told them the “truth”.  I’d be one of your success stories. You’d probably tell people and they’d respond with how much of a miracle it was. You’d be happy for me one day and a year from now you wouldn’t remember my name. 

Well you didn’t win. You didn’t get what you wanted, and I’m going to guess if you approach other scared women in the way you approached me, you’re not very successful. I terminated the pregnancy a week later and while it was hard, it’s probably the best decision I ever made. In some ways, you reaffirmed my choice.

And for the record, if women want “counseling” about pregnancy, THEY’LL SEEK IT OUT THEMSELVES. And they DEFINITELY won’t go to a 65 y.o. man who has NO clue what its like to be in their situation. 

Thanks a bunch for reaffirming my decision, 

A Girl Who Didn’t Fall for Your Shit.