NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia

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Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Imagine this: You think you might be pregnant. You’re worried, confused, and not sure what to do next. You see an ad that says "Pregnant? Scared?” and offers free pregnancy tests, so you call the number and make an appointment. You arrive at what looks like a medical office, are given a pregnancy test, and it comes back positive. You expect to talk through your options and get accurate medical information… but instead, you get shamed for your choices and given misinformation about abortion, including claims that abortion will cause cancer or make you infertile later (both false).

You’ve just walked into a "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC), an anti-choice "fake clinic” that uses lies, manipulation, and deception to keep women like you from considering your full range of reproductive health options, including abortion.

The Problem:

There are 58 "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) in Virginia, more than three times the number of comprehensive women’s health centers. In 2013, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia concluded an extensive, year-long investigation into Virginia CPCs, and caught over 70% of the Commonwealth’s "crisis pregnancy centers” lying to Virginia women!

Because these facilities are not real medical offices, most of Virginia’s CPCs are not licensed by the Virginia Department of Health and are staffed by volunteers who are not trained medical professionals. Virginia CPCs also use tricky tactics – like misleading names and the promise of free pregnancy tests or ultrasounds – to lure women through their doors. Learn about some of the most common medically-inaccurate information that crisis pregnancy centers spread.

In addition to uncovering CPCs’ widespread lies and deception, our investigation also found that Virginia’s government has legitimized and supported these crisis pregnancy centers! In fact, the Virginia Department of Health is even referring women to CPCs through a list of "no cost ultrasound providers” on the VDH website! Read our full "Virginia Crisis Pregnancy Centers Revealed” report here.

The Solution:

Women facing unintended pregnancy or trying to make personal decisions about their reproductive options deserve honest, medically-accurate information and real support to make whichever choice is right for them.

Here’s how we can stop CPCs’ dangerous tactics:

  • The Virginia Department of Health must stop referring women to crisis pregnancy centers in the Commonwealth. They should require all organizations on their referral lists to meet a set of commonsense eligibility requirements, including that all staff members who advise women on pregnancy-related care are licensed by the appropriate medical board and, accordingly, are required by law and medical ethics to dispense only medically-accurate information.

  • Facilities that provide pregnancy-related services should have to disclose if they are not licensed medical providers. Additionally, licensed reproductive health clinics should notify their patients that Virginia has programs to help them access affordable family planning services and prenatal care.

  • NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia works to educate Virginians so they can know an anti-choice CPC when they see it and instead know where to go for quality, affordable, comprehensive reproductive health care. We also work to hold CPCs accountable for their deceptive tactics and expose their connections to the anti-choice political movement.

Additional Information:
Read about our year-long undercover investigation of CPCs.
Read some of the common lies that CPCs tell women, as well as factually-cited responses to such erroneous claims.
View a map of many of the CPCs in our state!
Find websites of organizations that can offer judgment-free, medically accurate information as you make a decision about an unintended pregnancy.
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