What are some of the tactics employed by CPCs to deceive patients?
1. CPCs Use Misleading Advertising and Language
Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) use advertising designed to mimic those of legitimate health care providers. In an attempt to attract women considering abortion, many CPCs have neutral names for their centers, like ‘Center for Pregnancy Care’ or ‘Pregnancy Help Center.’ Other CPCs use intentionally misleading names like “A Woman’s Choice,” “Women for Choice,” or “Women’s Center,” leading people to believe that they will be offered information on all options when facing an unintended pregnancy.
CPC advertisements use intentionally misleading language. Whether listed in the Yellow Pages under ‘abortion’ or ‘abortion services,’ plastered on highway billboards, or covering the walls of buses and other means of public transportation, these CPC advertisements ask readers, “Scared? Pregnant? “Need Help?” Often times, CPCs also target college-aged women, low-income women, immigrant women, and women of color – any communities who may have traditionally had less access to quality health care due to our inequitable health systems.
CPC advertisements tend to focus on free pregnancy tests, counseling, and confidentiality without mentioning their limited or non-existent medical staff and anti-choice messaging. Likewise, CPCs are often located in close proximity to an actual medical clinic, with the hopes of intentionally misleading women who are seeking reproductive health care services.
Additionally, CPCs use biased language when speaking with women about their potential pregnancies. Most CPC counselors refer to the embryo and fetus, regardless of gestational period, as a ‘baby’ or ‘child.’ This language is not medically accurate and is full of unsolicited judgment that women who are already facing a difficult decision don’t need to encounter.
2. CPCs Answer Questions with Evasion
Some CPCs believe their anti-choice message will have more influence if they meet with patients in person. As a result, phone operators may actively discourage providing information as a mechanism to get people to come into their centers. Once inside the facility, women are most often given a pregnancy test–sometimes an ultrasound–and then given misinformation about abortion, contraception, and fetal development.
Often times, women visiting CPCs feel pressured to consider carrying a pregnancy to term as their only viable option.
3. CPCs Give Out False and Medically Inaccurate Information
CPCs routinely use false and misleading information to prevent women from considering a full range of reproductive health options. Despite a wealth of reputable research that proves otherwise, CPCs continue to claim that abortion causes an increased risk for breast cancer, affects future fertility, and causes long-term psychological effects. The majority of CPCs are also against the use of hormonal birth control, strongly encourage abstinence until heterosexual marriage, and, in some cases, provide misinformation about the safety and reliability of birth control.
All people deserve access to accurate information on a full range of reproductive health care options. CPCs should be upfront about the limitations of their services and their anti-choice stance. A woman facing an unintended pregnancy should not be subjected to manipulation when seeking services to assist in her decision-making process.
4. What’s the situation with CPCs and “Choose Life” license plates in North Carolina? Are CPCs receiving state funds?
On June 30, 2011, then-Governor Perdue signed a bill that created “Choose Life” specialty license plates in North Carolina. This legislation also allows funds from these “Choose Life” license plates sales to be funneled to the more than 100 crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina.