Fake abortion clinics aim to shame women into having children

Fake abortion clinics aim to shame women into having children

CultureNovember 03, 2017 By Lindsey Kline

Years ago, Erica Bronner, 28, discovered she had an unplanned pregnancy, and decided to have an abortion.

She Googled “abortion clinic” and chose one of the top results. She didn’t have the money to travel very far, so she chose the clinic that was closest to her home.

“I just called and said, you know, I was pregnant, and that I wanted to talk to someone about my options,” she says. It was extremely uncomfortable to tell a stranger over the phone she needed an abortion. “But they were like, ‘Great, come on in. We’re happy to talk to you about that.’”

When Bronner got to the clinic, rather than being given the abortion she’d asked for, she was given an ultrasound. They printed out a picture and handed it to her.

She was confused — even a little angry. She asked the woman who handed her the printout, “Why would I want this?” and the woman responded, “It’s just standard procedure.”

Bronner was agitated. From a healthcare perspective, it didn’t seem to make any sense why an ultrasound would be standard procedure.

Turns out, Bronner wasn’t at an abortion clinic. She’d gone to a Crisis Pregnancy Center, a pro-life operation that attempts to dissuade women from following through on getting their abortion.

It’s a simple mistake to make. These CPCs deceptively present themselves as abortion clinics, claiming to offer free pregnancy tests, sonograms and abortions to attract women facing unwanted pregnancies. They exploit search engine optimization tricks that ensure they’re the top results when searching for “abortion clinic.”

Women will walk into these offices seeking guidance, but instead, find themselves bombarded with guilt trips, emotional abuse and false medical information.

They’re told abortion increases risks of breast cancer, infertility and psychological trauma that leads to substance abuse, depression and/or suicide. Of course, medical research finds no link between abortion and any of these health hazards.

Most people aren’t aware of the existence of CPCs — and that's by design. These fake clinics deliberately fly under the radar in order to continue luring in unsuspecting women.

Vulnerable young ladies who mistakenly step inside a CPC are lied to by people who dress up like medical professionals (but aren’t) and work in places that look like medical clinics (but aren’t). Women leave the clinics feeling scared and ashamed, sometimes delaying their procedure until it’s too late to get a legal abortion procedure at all.

What’s worse, Crisis Pregnancy Centers actually outnumber abortion clinics three to one. And they did so with taxpayer dollars, of course.

Over the last decade, CPCs have received tens of millions of dollars in tax money through state and federal funds. Taxpayers can also choose to support CPCs in their state by purchasing Choose Life license plates.

Just this year, legislators in Texas allotted an additional $20 million in state taxes to fund anti-abortion CPCs. Legislators in other states pass countless bills imposing restrictions on real abortion clinics, causing many of them to shut down.

Now, women are finally fighting back. The Expose Fake Clinics campaign, for example, encourages women to call out the clinics that are deceiving women and disseminating false medical information. Google is making an effort to remove CPCs’ deceptive advertisements from search results.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are a deliberate effort to take away a woman’s right to choose. Choose to avoid them at all costs.