Under everyday circumstances, finding out how to get good health care can be difficult enough, much less if you need a abortion. In that case, it makes sense to use another person's offer to determine your options. Unfortunately, this can lead to a crisis pregnancy center.
Also referred to as CPC, these centers actually do not perform abortions . Instead, CPCs offer advice under a anti-election (and typically religious) point of view to get people to continue their pregnancy. They are often targeted at those who may find it most difficult to get adequate medical care, such as young people, people of skin color, and low-income people.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with considering any option that is available to you if you are pregnant and not sure if you want it or not. The problem is that CPCs are inherently unrestricted and do not provide people with all the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves.
It is particularly confusing to distinguish true abortion clinics from crisis pregnancy centers. Although the exact number of US CPCs is difficult to determine, it is believed that they exceed the number of facilities that actually perform abortions (including hospitals, medical practices, and abortion clinics), the US scientists Das Guttmacher Institute recorded 2014 at 1,671 . Many CPCs have made it smarter and trickier to use the language to look like real medical clinics. And it does not help that the Supreme Court decided in 2018 that crisis pregnancy centers in California do not have to disclose exactly what services they provide and which do not, which many see as throughout the country.
If you or someone you love need an abortion, how can you find out where you can access one? Here are some signs that the "abortion clinic" you might be considering is indeed a crisis pregnancy center.
. 1 You place ads with the question of whether you are pregnant, are afraid and need help.
This type of ad is often a telltale sign of a crisis pregnancy center, Heather Shumaker, JD, senior counsel at the National Women's Law Center. tells SELF.
This is precisely what drew 35-year-old Jasmine Clemons to a crisis pregnancy center at the age of 22. She had already failed twice in search of abortion . and an abortion at the private clinic in town would cost her a month's rent. On her college campus, when she saw a sign saying "Pregnant and need help?" With a phone number, Clemons thought this was her last option. The red flags piled quickly as she visited the center.
"It looked like a small business office, so I was confused," says Clemons SELF. "I sat in this room and [a staffer] asked me about my faith, my family, and my relationship."
The clerk used these details to change Clemons opinion.
"When I said I wanted to be an abortion because I was young and working in retail, she asked me how God and my family would feel," says Clemons. "She threw all the answers I gave her about my personal life to me. I felt even more depressed. I went and cried in my car. I can still feel the anger that I felt that day. "
Clemons eventually got the care she needed after she realized that health insurance would cover an abortion with a manageable surcharge, even though she had to travel hours a network internal clinic. "I do not know what I would have done if I had not considered checking my health insurance," says Clemons.
It's not just a pregnancy – some CPCs are turning off ads to provide services for other topics, such as screening for sexually transmitted infections . 28-year-old Brooke W., who landed in a CPC after seeing her ads for free STI shows on her college campus, knows that very well.
"They were right next to the campus, so a friend and I decided to go together," Brooke tells SELF. But the colleague she met focused a lot on abstinence, Brooke says, which annoyed her
2. They advertise or set up shops where people are most at risk.
Crisis pregnancy centers often advertise or work where people may be looking for an abortion, say Shumaker [apartfromactual abortion clinics .
"I've talked to many people in abortion clinics who said a patient would make an appointment to be late because they went to the clinic [crisis pregnancy center] next door "This may even happen because demonstrators on the sidewalk, outside of facilities performing abortions, pati instructs to go to the crisis-care center instead, says Shumaker.
Opportunity for these centers to appeal to people who are young, scared and lacking options for quality healthcare. CPCs sometimes show ads on public transport or in low-income neighborhoods (where they may operate). Both locations, which are referred to by NARAL Pro-Choice America are more likely to attract poor colored people who are looking to end pregnancies.
. 3 They make abortion really dangerous.
Just knowing that there are crisis pregnancy centers is a good first step in investigating where you can get an abortion, says Shumaker. It can make you more critical if you hear false abortion allegations.
"It is helpful to be aware of some of the myths related to abortion," says Shumaker. She uses the example of the lie that abortion can cause breast cancer, which was thoroughly investigated by the National Cancer Institute and found to be incorrect. "You'll often see such myths on [CPC] sites," says Shumaker.
The Guttmacher Institute outlines some other common but completely false myths regarding safe, legal abortions: they can cause infertility or pregnancy problems later in life that it is likely to have long-term negative mental health effects Abortion is often or always a dangerous and even life-threatening procedure. Again, none of this is true, but it is the kind of information you could hear from a crisis pregnancy center.
What makes this even more ridiculous is that some CPCs are licensed medical centers, most according to an article in the Journal of Ethics of the American Medical Association . While some of them have licensed medical personnel, most do not. So these are usually unlicensed people who are not medical professionals, but who reveal false information. Sometimes they even wear white doctor's coats to really complete the (again wrong) picture, as the authors of the paper explain.
If you end up in an abortion clinic that you consider to be an abortion clinic but feel distressed If you are suspicious, you can inquire directly whether the person you see is a doctor or a nurse, Nourbese Flint, Policy Director and Manager of Reproductive Justice Programs at Black Women for Wellness a California-based health authority organization that works tells SELF to enlighten black and colored women about their health. "Normally I would not ask for that in my doctor's office," says Flint. But that's a big reason why staff at these clinics can influence people, she explains. "Most people assume they're medical professionals."
. 4 They will not say clearly whether they are aborting or not.
You could call a clinic that you found online, ask if they provide for abortions and hear that you'll have to drop by in advance. That's a red flag, says Shumaker. These types of responses are usually meant to get you talking, which may affect your decision to abort.
If you're actually getting into a CPC, you'll often feel pretty fast that this is the case. You do not think abortion is your best option. "If your conversation is going in one direction, then we say they're fishing," says Flint.
Shumaker says she even heard of employees in crisis care centers who lied to people about how far they are in their pregnancy. Tell them they have more time to decide before they get an abortion (if they do not legally), or tell them that they are too far (if they really do not). This can be a tactic to prevent someone from having an abortion until they are no longer legal.
Remember that a true medical health center, whether it has or does provide for abortions, should not try to scare you off a particular choice. "It's so cruel to violate a patient's autonomy," says Hasstedt. They use words like "choice" and "hope," but still do not say if they are aborting.
Crisis pregnancy centers often have the word "choice" in their names, giving the impression that they offer a wide range of care, says Kinsey Hasstedt, MPH, Senior Policy Manager at the Guttmacher Institute, says SELF.
"[This language] is one of the most ironic things about crisis pregnancy centers," says Hasstedt. "It is particularly deceptive."
This definitely does not mean that every single health clinic with the word "choice" in the name will be a crisis pregnancy center. The election is obviously an extremely important one in discussing Abortion . In that case, it is most likely reassuring to see something that appears as freedom of choice. However, seeing it in conjunction with one (or more) of the other characters in this list is a signal that the facility deserves extra scrutiny. The same goes for "hope," another word that many CCPs have adopted, and for "women who perform abortions," a phrase used by various CCP and anti-electoral organizations.
All these nuances can make things quite confusing when you search online for abusive centers in your area. Keep in mind that when you search for local abortion services online, you can find both abortion clinics and crisis care centers. A little more digging can make the difference.
To avoid CPCs, try to get a recommendation.
If you're looking for an abortion provider, it's best to get a referral from someone you trust. This could be someone you know who has already had an abortion or who has received excellent reproductive or sexual health care from an abortion center. If you do not know anyone who can recommend you, contact resources specifically designed for the situation.
Shumaker recommends that you enter your zip code on the Planned Parenthood website to find the nearest health clinics to you (or you can call their helpline at 1-800-230-7526). The National Abortion Federation also has a list of abortion providers across the country on their website (or you can call their hotline at 1-877-257-0012 ) Be especially sure that you review each center you encounter Expose Fake Clinics which contains a map of various crisis-based pregnancy centers in the United States.
"If something does not feel right, you're probably right," says Shumaker. "Trust Your Belly",