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"Crisis Pregnancy Centers"
Imagine this: You're scared that you might be pregnant. You see an ad for a free pregnancy test and ultrasound so you call the number and make an appointment. But when you get there, 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're vulnerable, scared, and confused. You have walked into a so-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 Virginia CPC.
What is a "Crisis Pregnancy Center"?
So-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) are anti-choice facilities that regularly pose as comprehensive reproductive health centers and yet use coercion and misinformation to dissuade women from considering their full range of reproductive options - including abortion. CPCs advertise free services to women facing unintended pregnancies, including free pregnancy testing, onsite ultrasound or ultrasound referrals, counseling, and short-term material or healthcare assistance. To get women in the door, CPCs are also often vague or even deceptive in their advertisements about their mission and the services and medical referrals they actually offer.They're known to list themselves under "abortion" in online directories and search results, and may use misleading names (including "AAA Women for Choice" "A Woman's Choice" and "First Choice") in hopes that women will confuse them for a legitimate healthcare provider. There are currently 58 CPCs in Virginia - more than double the number of comprehensive reproductive health centers.
Government Endorsement of Virginia CPCs
Women facing unintended pregnancy or trying to make personal decisions about their reproductive options deserve
honest, medically-accurate information and real support for making whatever choices are right for them. Yet with the passage of Virginia's 2012 mandatory ultrasound law and 24-hour waiting period, the Virginia government is directly working to support, legitimize, and endorse the Commonwealth’s CPCs. In fact, the Virginia Department of Health is actually directing Virginia women to CPCs through its list of "No Cost Ultrasound Providers" on the VDH website.
Yes - you read that right: The Virginia Department of Health (a government agency designed to promote and protect public health) is actually referring low-income Virginians to manipulative, non-comprehensive and medically-inaccurate CPCs. Even worse, our 12-month investigation revealed that several CPCs on the Department of Health list have indicated they will refuse to provide women with copies of their ultrasound picture, if needed for abortion. Read more about the connection between Virginia's mandatory ultrasound law and CPCs -- and help us fight back.