In 2011, 45% of pregnancies in the U.S. were unintended according to the Guttmacher Institute. That’s right, nearly HALF of all women who got pregnant did not plan the pregnancy. While some women are fortunate enough to be in a position to raise a child even though she did not plan it, many are not. Having a child is possibly the biggest decision a woman will make in her lifetime so it is absolutely vital that she is ready for such a commitment. A woman who realizes that a child is not a responsibility she is ready to accept or able to take on,should be allowed to make a decision which is in the best interest of herself and any future children she might have. Unfortunately, many people do not see it this way and believe women should be condemned for wanting to have an abortion.
The woman who decides that she cannot go through with their pregnancy have a plethora of resources for her to receive proper guidance and help. Many women’s centers and clinics will provide her with information about her options and help her through the process. Amongst the many places offering assistance to these women are facilities known as crisis pregnancy centers (CPC).
CPCs are often run by pro-life organizations and can be very misleading about the services they provide. The centers will advertise guidance and assistance in deciding what to do about a pregnancy. This seems like it would be a great resource for women seeking help or information regarding her options, whether she decides to terminate or continue the pregnancy. Except there’s a catch: the employees and volunteers are extremely judgmental and manipulative, guilting women into feeling ashamed and embarrassed for seeking abortions. They are not objective providers of information. The very reason for the existence of these CPCs is to dissuade a woman from having an abortion.
A visit to one of these offices entails an intense and extremely personal questioning process before a consultation takes place. During this time, the interviewer will ask the woman invasive and unnecessary questions about the strength of her relationships with her parents and the father of the child, her financial situation, the religious beliefs of herself and loved ones, and even about her sexual history. Her answers to these questions are then used against her in an attempt to dissuade her from exercising her right to an abortion. The workers not only ignore but will also counter the patient’s objections with false information. As if the internet doesn’t do a good job of that already. A California study conducted shows that 72% of CPCs in the state claimed that abortions were directly linked to a false “post-abortion depression” while 46% falsely linked breast cancer to abortion.
Another alarming yet very important aspect to note about these centers is that they are not bound by the laws of HIPPA since they are not a medical facility. Reports of harassment at home and work seem to be extreme, but the truth is that these CPC zealots will even reach out to friends and family and expose the woman’s personal information with the hopes that by informing her loved ones, she will feel ashamed or embarrassed and continue her pregnancy.
You must be wondering why any woman would ever, in her right-mind, go to one of these facilities, right? Well it’s because the CPCs are so misleading that anyone who visits their websites or conducts a search for abortion providers can fall victim to their tricks. Their names frequently imply they advocate for choice and the right to privacy regarding reproductive care, using terms like “choice” & “women’s center” etc., when in actuality they just want to force a pro-life agenda on vulnerable and scared women.
What is even more disturbing is they employ one especially disturbing tactic by deceiving women into thinking they do actually perform abortions and thereby delaying the process so long that the women exceed the gestation point where she is no longer allowed to undergo the procedure. The best interest of the woman is never their priority, clearly. “Options counseling” means they provide information to women about all options available to her, including abortion services; but because these places are funded by pro-life organizations, they never want the women to go that route. In hopes of preventing an abortion, the employees will do whatever it takes to extend her waiting time and ultimately prevent an abortion.
Due to the rapid decline in legitimate reproductive health care clinics, crisis pregnancy centers are quickly replacing them. With their presence and deceitful advertising strategies, it is pertinent to raise awareness about them. Being able to detect these “fake clinics” will save countless women from unwanted harassment, medical misinformation, and emotional distress.