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Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Denying Women Accurate Information About Pregnancy Options

Anti-choice groups have set up facilities all over the country with names like "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs), "pregnancy resource centers," or "pregnancy help centers." These facilities do not offer abortions, abortion referrals, or unbiased options counseling. Instead they offer free "counseling," pregnancy tests, or ultrasounds in order to use a variety of means to convince women not to have abortions.

For example, many CPCs give women misleading information about abortion, falsely claiming that abortion causes infertility, breast cancer, suicide, and other harmful psychological effects. Some CPCs also use other coercive strategies, such as showing women graphic images and videos about fetal development while they wait for the results of their pregnancy tests, in an attempt to scare them out of considering abortion.

CPCs often try to confuse women about the services they really offer by advertising under keywords like "abortion" or "clinics," by choosing names similar to the names of actual abortion clinics, or by operating in locations close to abortion clinics. The Center successfully sued to shut down a CPC in Louisiana that operated under a name almost identical to the name of an actual abortion clinic. That CPC would pretend to make abortion appointments for women, and string them along until it was too late for them to obtain abortions. To learn more about that case, click here.

Despite the misleading and coercive tactics of CPCs, many of them receive government funding. Between 2001 and 2005, CPC’s received over $30 million of federal funds through abstinence-only programs. During that time, Congress also provided an additional $1.3 million specifically for CPCs. In addition, some state legislatures have authorized funding for CPCs; and others have provided them with tax breaks. Moreover, some states raise money for CPCs by issuing "Choose Life" license plates, which generate fees provided to CPCs.

Baltimore CPC

Case Spotlight: O'Brien v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore

In June 2010, the Center announced its partnership with the City of Baltimore to defend a first-in-the-nation ordinance that demands truth in advertising from limited-service pregnancy centers, a.k.a., crisis pregnancy centers. Baltimore's ordinance requires pregnancy centers to post signs in their waiting rooms indicating that they do not provide or make referrals for abortion or comprehensive birth control services. The ordinance protects women from deceptive advertising and ensures that women seeking birth control or abortion services have prompt access to those services.  Read more >

If you have been to a CPC and were coerced, misled, or subjected to any other scare tactics, we want to hear your story, and we may be able to help. Please click here to contact us.

Read a report on CPCs by the National Abortion Federation>