Fake Clinics Lie to Women

Abortion opponents claim that fake clinics provide accurate information about all pregnancy options. The truth is they mislead, shame and pressure women. We’re calling them out.

This spring, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, a challenge by abortion opponents to a California law that requires unlicensed centers in the state to tell the truth about their licensure. The law also requires clinics that offer pregnancy-related care to provide women with factual information about the availability of free and low-cost government health care services, including contraception, prenatal care and abortion care.

The centers at issue in NIFLA v. Becerra — often called “crisis pregnancy centers” — are anti-abortion organizations posing as comprehensive health care clinics.

As the Court prepares to hear this important case, we’re calling out four key ways these fake clinics harm women.

Fake clinics deceive women. Many of these clinics use online advertisements in which they imply that they offer comprehensive reproductive health services. They are often camouflaged as health care facilities and located near abortion clinics in an effort to lure women away from facilities that can actually meet their needs. Additionally, some states provide free advertising for fake clinics by including them in materials that doctors are required to give to women.

Fake clinics mislead women. When a woman enters a fake clinic for any type of service, she may be forced to undergo biased counseling or religious seminars. She may hear false claims about fetal development and the health effects and safety of abortion care (which is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States). Personnel at fake clinics regularly peddle lies that have been repeatedly discredited by extensive scientific research and the country’s most prominent medical associations.

Fake clinics shame women. Some personnel at fake clinics use cruel strategies to try to emotionally manipulate women. They may pray for the woman and fetus or ask for an invitation to the baby shower while administering an ultrasound.

Fake clinics delay abortion care. The (often untrained) people administering ultrasounds at these centers may misrepresent gestational age, either leading women to believe they have more time to obtain abortion care than they do or falsely suggesting they are too far along to access care. Convincing women who are considering abortion to wait to access care often means the cost of the care increases while the ability to access care decreases.

Deceiving, misleading, shaming or delaying care for pregnant women is just plain wrong.

Women have the right to transparent, truthful information from organizations claiming to provide health care services. It’s time to stop the lies.