The Dangers of Crisis Pregnancy Centers

You’re just found out you’re pregnant and you’re freaking out. Maybe you don’t want kids right now. Maybe you’re concerned about how it even happened.

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Maybe you just don’t know what to do. You need a reliable source to help you figure out what decision is best for you and how to get the care you need.

Just be careful about where you go– and make sure it isn’t a Crisis Pregnancy Center.

What is a Crisis Pregnancy Center?

Currently, in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries, there’s a plague of Crisis Pregnancy Centers cropping up. They lure in young women, disguise themselves as women’s health organizations, medical clinics, OB/GYN offices, and even Planned Parenthoods.

But these places aren’t real medical clinics, and they aren’t even staffing professional counselors. They’re religious organizations and their goal is to scare as many young women as possible into keeping their pregnancies.

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And by scare, I don’t mean have a logical, fact-filled discussion. Often times, they will buy rental space in the same office park or building as Planned Parenthood, Marie Stopes, or other legitimate women’s health centers, make their logos look alike, and then hold women who mistake the clinic by accident there for so long watching videos about abortions or filling out forms, they’ll miss their appointment at the actual clinic they meant to go to. And that’s not the end of their manipulation.

Regardless of your religious affiliation or your feelings on abortion, you don’t want people supposedly in charge of your medical care to be lying to you. This is a terrifying moment in your life, for good or for bad, and you need the facts, not someone elses’ opinions.

Signs of a Crisis Pregnancy Center:

  • Free pregnancy tests!

But don’t get too excited. If you are close to passing up the legal restriction date to get an abortion, some clinics will tell you the results are negative so that you won’t know about your pregnancy until after you’re past the date. They have also been known to fudge the dates of conception so that you think you have longer than you actually do to consider an abortion or not.

  • A lack of medical care and potential privacy issues.

They do not have medical staff. You are letting someone who is not a doctor know about your personal medical history and potentially even give you an ‘exam.’ Furthermore, because they aren’t a medical clinic, they do not have to comply with HIPAA– the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which restricts who can see your medical information. There is a precedent for some of these people calling their ‘patient’s’ family, friends, and even coworkers and sharing supposedly confidential health information.

  • Uncertified counselors.

That’s right. Their counselors aren’t certified to be working in the mental health field. They aren’t actually counselors. It’d be the same if you went to your local WalMart and asked any stranger what they thought you should do with your unborn child. Dealing with abortion, an unwanted pregnancy, or otherwise can be a very serious issue and you may need to speak with someone who’s qualified to listen. These are not those people.

  • Incorrect and harmful sex education.

Does having an abortion make you more likely to sexually abuse children in the future? One crisis pregnancy center in England was caught telling their patients that (even though it’s absurd to even think that there could be some correlation). Other popular crisis pregnancy center myths? Abortion makes you sterile and cause breast cancer (no and absolutely not), condoms 100% do not work (they do when you’re using them correctly), Plan B is an abortificant (can’t we lay this myth to rest once and for all?), abortions cost more than carrying a baby to term (compare ~$400 to the reported average of $8000 for a birth, plus a eighteen years of caring for a child). You can read more myths and the supported evidence against them at NARAL.

Remember, You Always Have a Choice

Deciding to not have an abortion is a legitimate choice. But it is not the only legitimate choice and people who wish to promote it should not be using shame, lies, and manipulation. That hurts the hundreds of women every day who make the decision to keep their babies.

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Research your chosen clinic before you make an appointment– and make sure it’s actually a clinic, not a center. Check out Yelp reviews and ask your friends what they know about it. Another good option is to check out your local county health departments– they are called the Health Department of ____ County and they are not only a safe place, they can help you find other safe places nearby to get you the help you need. Your OB/GYN should also be able to help, as well as Planned Parenthood– you may not feel like they’ll be impartial, but they won’t lie to your face about a serious medical condition.

Read one woman’s undercover expose of her visits to Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

Also, check out the amazing Tumblr, Exposing Fake Clinics, to find out what women all over the country are going through simply for trying to explore alternative, legal options.

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