Crisis Pregnancy Centers Lie to Women, Conflating Faith with Science

Albuquerque is home to several Crisis Pregnancy Centers, also called CPCs. Care Net, formerly known as the Christian Action Council, has four locations in Albuquerque as well as a “mobile unit”. Two of these centers are set up near an existing abortion provider to make it confusing for patients seeking abortion care. CPCs hope that women seeking abortion accidentally come into their facility and they are able to discourage them from having an abortion. The founder of the Christian Action Council, Robert Pearson created a manual on “How to Start and Operate Your Own Pro-Life Outreach Crisis Pregnancy Center” which explicitly encourages CPC employees to deceive women about the nature of their organization as well as their medical information. This is done by using extremely vague language, not fully answering someone’s direct question, or answering with their own question.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are often Christian affiliated organizations that attempt to dissuade people from accessing abortion care. They do this by using misinformation, guilt, and trickery. Over the years, CPCs have become increasingly more strategic. They set up offices next door to existing abortion clinics, use similar logos and vague language to make it confusing to people who are trying to find an abortion clinic.  They also pay internet search engines to display their site at the top of abortion related searches. They offer “limited medical ultrasounds” which do nothing more than show someone their pregnancy without any medical analysis.

Several exposé articles have come out about the harmful tactics of CPCs. One case study is the Hartford GYN Center in Connecticut and a CPC called Hartford Women’s Center (intentionally to confuse people). The CPC offers anti-abortion propaganda as medical “fact” such as the already debunked myth that abortion causes breast cancer, or that taking birth control pills constitute an abortion every month.

The tactic of CPCs offering ultrasounds confuses people and often delays their ability to access care. They say they provide “limited medical ultrasound”, which is “not a term used in the medical community, according to Croucher of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut. It also doesn’t seem to appear in any reputable, legitimate sources, save for one: In 2005, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine released a statement condemning the practice of performing ultrasounds for “bonding and reassurance purposes.” Scans should only be performed by licensed medical professionals who have been trained to recognize medically important conditions, the organization warned: “Any other use of ‘limited medical ultrasound’ may constitute practice of medicine without a license.'”source

These centers are extremely harmful to our community. They do not provide medically sound advice, and shame women. The “help” they offer is often contingent on their faith and have been known to “drop” women after they have exceeded the legal gestational limit for abortion in that state. Women and families deserve better! The reproductive justice framework advocates for all families to decide whether or not they want to have children, in the context of struggling against economic, environmental, racial, or other oppressions. Families deserve to have help thinking through their options, they deserve assistance parenting if that is what they decide to do, but they also deserve full and correct information from a non-judgmental medical staff. CPCs are a dangerous threat to the bodily autonomy and community well-being.

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