Lies I Was Told at a Fake Clinic

By Clarie Randall
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Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), also known as fake clinics, are a threat to all vulnerable individuals who can become pregnant, and especially young and low-income people. CPCs use racist rhetoric directed at Black and Latinx populations, in which they tell patients abortion is genocide and are meant to limit the browning of America, and other vile tactics to redirect patients from seeking abortion care and curtail access to abortion. Fake clinics should be a concern to anyone who cares about reproductive freedom: they lie to patients, maiming an individual’s choice. The staff at my local fake clinic gave me an “abortion information” pamphlet (along with verbal lies) that was not only inaccurate, but traumatic to anyone looking for abortion care. Some of the lies I was told at the fake clinic:

Lie #1: Life begins at conception.

Truth: Fetal age is not measured at conception, but from one’s last menstrual period. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 65.4% of abortions occur at eight weeks or earlier and 88% of abortions occur in the first trimester of pregnancy. A fetus cannot live outside the uterus until at least 22 weeks and it cannot feel pain until 29 weeks. Abortions are generally performed until 24 weeks in the U.S. and only after due to fetal anomaly or medical risk to the pregnant person.

Lie #2: Emergency contraception is medicated abortion.

Truth: Sperm can live inside the body for up to six days. Because pregnancy does not happen immediately after sex, emergency contraception (EC) can be used to stop fertilization. EC simply stops the ovaries from releasing an egg for a sperm to fertilize.

“Abortion information” pamphlet the author received at a MD fake clinic. (click to enlarge)
“Abortion information” pamphlet the author received at a MD fake clinic.

Lie #3: In the first week of development, a baby grows arms.

Truth: At the start of week six of a pregnancy, an embryo, which is less than 1/5 of an inch, forms and buds for future arms develop. The embryo doesn’t even develop into a fetus until after ten weeks.

Lie #4: Medicated abortion is just like giving birth.

Truth: A medicated abortion (the abortion pill) can be taken up to ten weeks after the first day of one’s last period, and results in heavy bleeding and cramping like a period–not birth. Thanks to the abortion pill, people can have an abortion in the comfort of their own homes and don’t have to worry about distance to and from the clinic or additional costs.

Lie #5: Abortion leads to high health risks.

Truth: Pain varies based on how far along the pregnancy is, the medications one takes, and how much cramping one has when accessing an in-clinic abortion. However, most people are able to go back to their daily schedules the day after the procedure. Abortion does not cause breast cancer, infertility, or mental illness, and only leads to serious complications in very rare cases. In fact, most people are relieved after they’ve gotten an abortion and say it was the right decision for them.

By Clarie Randall

Clarie is Senior National Organizer at the Feminist Majority Foundation, where she runs operations and programming for Feminist Campus on the East Coast. Shortly after graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2017, she joined the Feminist Campus team to organize in Southeastern states. Now a D.C. resident, Clarie is passionate about digital and grassroots organizing and enjoys exploring the city with her partner, dreaming about getting a dog one day.

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