Picture this: You think that you might be pregnant. You see an ad for a free pregnancy test and counseling. You call the number and make an appointment. You’re told that birth control is the same as abortion and that if you have an abortion, you will probably get breast cancer. You have walked into a fake women’s health center, also called “crisis pregnancy center” (CPC), and you have been lied to and manipulated. You deserve the truth: comprehensive, unbiased, factual, and medically accurate information. You likely won’t get these things at a fake women’s health center.
These fake centers are moving into our neighborhoods right here in Connecticut, where they outnumber licensed family planning clinics. We want to make sure that their intimidation does not prevent women in our state accessing medically accurate health information.
Anti-choice groups created fake women’s health centers to look like comprehensive health clinics, but many are generally unregulated and unlicensed. For instance, they don’t have to follow privacy-protection laws like your doctor or real clinics do. They use tactics that mislead women about pregnancy-related information.
Some false claims many use:
- Abortion causes breast cancer
- Abortion is psychologically damaging
- Abortion can lead to sterility
- Birth-control pills cause abortion
Fake women’s health centers lure women in by appearing to be full-service medical clinics in their ads, sometimes linking their digital ads to search terms linked to abortion. On their websites they often make it seem like they provide unbiased information to help individuals seeking abortion care or seeking unbiased help to make a decision about an unexpected pregnancy.
Prenatal care, abortion, and emergency contraception are all time-sensitive services. Delayed access poses a threat to public health and may eliminate a woman’s ability to obtain these services altogether.
We can all agree that women never should be lied to when they need information about pregnancy. That’s true no matter where you stand on the issue of abortion. It’s time to hold fake women’s health centers accountable for misleading women.
We are proud to have worked in partnership with communities in Hartford, and members of the City Council, to pass a city ordinance limiting the deceptive practices of crisis pregnancy centers here in the State Capitol.
The ordinance, which will go into effect on July 1, 2018, does the following things to address this issue:
- Requires fake women’s health centers to post a sign stating whether or not there is a licensed medical provider on the premises and available to provide medical services.
- Prohibits fake women’s health centers from disseminating false, misleading, or deceptive information about the services they provide and from deceiving women into thinking that they provide specific services, like abortion, when they don’t.