Crisis pregnancy centers, or CPCs, are notorious for spreading misinformation about women’s health care. Often touted as viable alternatives to nonpartisan health clinics, they actually function as front groups for the anti-abortion agenda, using shame-based messages and sometimes outright lies to dissuade women from choosing to end a pregnancy. Nonetheless, they often receive financial support from conservative lawmakers, and more than half the states in the U.S. funnel money directly to them.
NARAL Pro-Choice America has been working to hold CPCs accountable for years, and occasionally conducts undercover investigations to expose the misinformation that CPC employees are disseminating to their patients. On Monday, the group launched a national week of action to spark more widespread conversation about the underhanded tactics used by CPCs. NARAL partnered with the Feminist Majority Foundation and campus activist groups to launch the week long campaign, which involved petition drives, letter writing campaigns, documentary screenings, and a Tumblr devoted to collecting women’s stories about their own experiences at these right-wing “clinics.”
Five days later, NARAL has collected quite a few of those stories. Here are just a few examples of the type of information that women encounter at CPCs, even though they walked into the clinic assuming that they would obtain unbiased medical advice:
“Women who seek information about their health-care options deserve honest information — not lies and scare tactics,” Ilyse Hogue, NARAL’s president, noted in a statement upon the launch of the campaign.
Indeed, when women decide they want to have an abortion, these type of emotionally manipulative tactics don’t actually succeed at convincing them otherwise. Ninety percent of women have made up their minds about having an abortion before visiting a doctor or a clinic. These shame-based messages do, however, contribute to the pervasive stigma surrounding abortion — which ultimately communicates that women can’t be open about their decision to have an abortion because they ought to regret it. Research has found that abortion stigma does increase women’s negative emotions about the experience, but not because they necessarily regret their choice.