What Are “Fake Clinics?”
“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 their centers 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.
It is estimated that 3,500 CPCs exist nationwide, outnumbering comprehensive women’s health clinics. Most are affiliated with national anti-choice organizations.
Have you seen these popular CPC advertisements?
“Pregnant? Need Help? You Have Options!”
“Pregnant? Scared? We Can Help! Call 1-800-XXX-XXXX”
“Free Pregnancy Tests!”
Many of these CPCs lie to women in need. A Congressional investigation of CPCs revealed that 87% provided false or misleading information about the health effects of abortion.1 The Congressional report found many of these federally funded centers grossly misrepresent the medical risks of abortion by telling women that having an abortion could increase the risk of breast cancer, result in sterility and lead to suicide and “post-abortion syndrome.”2
A survey by the Feminist Majority Foundation also found that 32.7% of comprehensive clinics located near a CPC experienced one or more incidents of severe violence, compared to only 11% of clinics that are not near a CPC.
At least 8 states enacted 10 measures supporting crisis pregnancy centers either financially or with referrals in 2013. And there are 29 states with “Choose Life” license plates that provide funding for so-called crisis pregnancy centers.
Ending the Deception
In 2009, Congress and the Obama administration eliminated most – but not all – sources of federal funding for abstinence-only education and CPCs by requiring evidence-based, medically accurate prevention models. However, opponents inserted a clause into the Affordable Care of Act of 2010 that created a $50 million per year, five-year funding stream for Title V abstinence-only education programs, some of which are run by CPCs.
In May 2013 Senators Robert Menendez, Frank R. Lautenberg, Richard Blumenthal. and Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduced the “Stop Deceptive Advertising For Women’s Services Act” (SDAWS) into Congress. The legislation would hold accountable facilities that deceptively advertise abortion and family planning services that they do not provide. Maloney has led the effort to pass legislation to regulate misleading advertising by CPCs for many years.