This article, written by NARAL Pro-Choice NC Davidson Campus Leader Lily Acton, originally appeared in The Davidsonian.
When Davidson students sign the honor code—a rite of passage that the Class of 2023 participated in just a few weeks ago—they commit to being active members in a community of trust and honor. Unfortunately, just days after the ceremonious honor code signing, the integrity that defines our campus culture was breached by a dishonest organization.
The Community Pregnancy Center of Lake Norman advertised its “services” and volunteer opportunities to students ¬during the Center for Civic Engagement’s Community Involvement Fair a few weeks ago.
This organization is a fake clinic whose purpose is to use inaccurate information to mislead and dissuade a person from accessing their constitutional right to abortion. As a community known for its respectability and integrity, Davidson College should not support this organization and the ways it propagates misinformation.
A quick search on Reproaction’s Fake Clinic Database reveals that the Community Pregnancy Center of Lake Norman is a fake clinic or crisis pregnancy center (CPC).
The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice North Carolina, one of the country’s leading abortion rights organizations, states that CPCs are “storefronts that use false and misleading advertising and the offer of free pregnancy tests or other services to lure women into their offices. Then their goal is to dissuade women from exercising their right to choose.”
Some CPCs, including the Community Pregnancy Center of Lake Norman, may perform certain services for people who are experiencing an unwanted pregnancy, such as a pregnancy test.
However, according to NARAL, regardless of the services this organization purports to offer, its principle mission is to “misinform and mislead women seeking pregnancy-related information” by intentionally omitting or refusing to give information about all available options, including abortion.
A Google search for “abortion services Lake Norman” reveals the Community Pregnancy Center of Lake Norman’s misleading advertising; the search results display this organization as the third sponsored listing and first unsponsored listing.
Despite its advertising, the Community Pregnancy Center does not provide abortions, as indicated by the small disclaimer at the bottom of their website. Their website marketing and search engine advertising mimic that of real abortion clinics such as A Preferred Women’s Health Center in Charlotte.
Not only are CPCs misleading for people facing an unplanned pregnancy—people who may be incredibly vulnerable and scared—but in North Carolina, they are taking taxpayer money away from the Department of Health and Human Services’ essential health promotion and disease prevention programs.
According to Rewire News, as of September 11th, the North Carolina House voted to override a veto from Governor Roy Cooper and approve a budget that allocates millions of dollars to these fake clinics.
Although the budget still needs to be passed through the Senate, it is possible that as much as 2.64 million public taxpayer dollars could be distributed among CPCs across the state. NC Policy Watch reported that this allocation of funds to CPCs is happening even after another North Carolina CPC misspent around $50,000 in state-supplied money over a five-year period.
The Community Pregnancy Center of Lake Norman claims, but purposefully fails, to give its clients “true choice.” The 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade declared that people in this country have the constitutional right to choose abortion as one of many reproductive health options.
Americans should have the ability to access the full spectrum of reproductive health services in order to make informed decisions about their bodies.
However, organizations like the Community Pregnancy Center of Lake Norman make it hard for people to make these informed choices. They spread inaccurate information intentionally designed to deceive people making difficult decisions.
The presence of a CPC on our campus fundamentally violates the oath of honor and contempt for deception that upholds our community.
Going forward, Davidson should carefully review the organizations and individuals allowed on campus. While everyone has the right to ask to be included in campus events, those who oppose or even attack our institutional values should not be given permission to advertise themselves to our honorable students.
If you are experiencing an unwanted pregnancy, reach out to Davidson’s Health Educator, Georgia Ringle (firstname.lastname@example.org), in order to discuss your options.