How to Distinguish a Crisis Pregnancy Center From a Legal Abortion Clinic

Last week, a vandal, allegedly a right to life activist, spray painted “Baby Killer” on the façade of a women’s clinic. Trick? In a plot twist worthy of the gift of the Magi, it turns out that the clinic was actually a “pregnancy center of the crisis” or an anti-choice operation dedicated to talking a woman out of abortion. The CCP looked so much like a legitimate abortion provider that it managed to deceive even its alleged allies.

This begs the question: How can an unexpectedly pregnant woman who seeks abortion care be sure she has found a legitimate abortion provider and not some dubious surgery that uses intimidation tactics and false information to dissuade women from abortion or delay them? Obviously, CPCs are very similar to abortion clinics, have similar names and may be located near family planning offices or other medical clinics and abortion providers. Google Maps doesn’t necessarily help.

To understand how a person seeking an abortion can avoid being scammed by the CPC, I spoke with Elizabeth Clark, Media Director of Parenting Planning.

Get a recommendation from someone you trust

“Crisis pregnancy centers often deliberately use language in their advertisements or signage to mimic legitimate licensed health care,” says Clarke. “They use names that are similar to real health care providers. It can make it difficult [to know that you are in the right place]. ” But the best way to know that you have an appointment with a legitimate healthcare provider is to get a referral from someone you know – your doctor or other healthcare professional, or a trusted friend or family member. Obviously, not everyone has someone to ask. In this case…

Start searching the internet

“Go to a resource that you know is legal and provides information about active licensed healthcare providers,” Clarke says. Planned Parenthood can help you find a clinic by zip code or call 1-800-230-PLAN.

The National Abortion Federation provides a map of abortion providers by state and a hotline for referrals to abortion specialists and financial assistance. The site will also inform you about “special conditions” in your state, such as a mandatory 24-hour waiting period or parent notification if you are a minor.

Take a good look at the site

“Be suspicious of what you read. Crisis pregnancy centers do not have to be real medical facilities and are not required to provide accurate information about health care. See if you have a licensed healthcare professional. Are there any licensed doctors? What services do they say they provide? Clarke says. On the day of the abortion, a doctor or highly qualified medical practitioner must be present at the clinic.

Use your intuition and look for a language you don’t like. On their websites, “CPC is already trying to advocate a decision,” says Clarke, and they will offer false information, such as claiming that abortion is unsafe, that women who have an abortion are more likely to get cancer, that abortion affects their future fertility, or that abortion is inevitably regrettable. Clarke says that a typical line on the CPC website is something like “Thinking about an abortion? Don’t make a decision until you’ve gathered all the facts. “

Call before entering

“Ask about their services over the phone,” Clarke says. “If they say they don’t provide abortion, contraception, STD tests, condoms, and they don’t refer you to someone to do it, that’s a red flag. If they don’t give you any information over the phone about what services they provide, they are probably not a legitimate health care provider. ” Now this can be tricky because CPCs will outright lie about what they really provide to get you in the door.

To be informed

Your best defense against lying or misinformation is knowing the facts yourself. Abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer . This does not lead to mental health problems or depression . Abortion is unlikely to cause future fertility problems (especially early abortion without surgery). Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures and is safer than childbirth. “Knowing the kinds of incomplete, false, or false information that a fake medical center can give you is your best weapon against deception,” Clarke says. Planned Parenthood ‘s Learn About Abortion page provides direct information on the procedures.

You can also check out this ExposeFakeClinics project to see if their website lists the clinic you intend to go to. If you have experience with CPC, you can list it there (or even give a detailed Yelp review if you can believe it). Bottom line: ask someone you trust and do your research. With luck, the only misguided people would be vandals.

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