PREGNANCY CENTER TRUTH #PCTruth

The Truth about Pregnancy Centers

Abortion advocacy groups have levied many claims against pregnancy help centers in recent years. Here are their most common claims followed by the truth. 

CLAIM: Most fake ‘clinics’ are unlicensed, so they don't fall under medical board requirements.

- ExposeFakeClinics.com

TRUTH: It is important that medical professionals operate with licenses to help protect clients and patients from being harmed. To meet this standard, medical services at pregnancy help medical clinics are overseen by thousands of licensed medical professionals who fall under the same laws and codes that regulate the medical profession within each state.

Pregnancy help centers generally fall into two categories: medical and non-medical. Pregnancy medical centers are supervised and directed by a licensed physician (who is accountable to all applicable medical board requirements and state laws).

There are nearly 2,000 medical pregnancy centers in the U.S. providing ultrasound services, medical exams, and STI/STD testing and treatment. In 2017, five percent of such centers even provided prenatal care.

Since 2003, the three major national pregnancy center networks (Care Net, Heartbeat International, and NIFLA) have trained more than 5,000 professionals in the management of medical centers.

In 2017, registered nurses and medical sonographers poured over 400,000 hours into serving families at pregnancy help centers across the country. About 7,500 medical professionals volunteered their services that same year, providing care at no cost to the client

Currently, there are about 600 non-medical pregnancy centers in the country providing material resources, peer counseling, and education to women in need of support. Non-medical centers are unlicensed because the services they offer are non-medical; no medical license is required to provide families with diapers, clothes, and parenting classes. Requiring non-medical pregnancy centers to be licensed would be like requiring your local soup kitchen to hold a medical license. It just wouldn’t make sense.

Of all the services that medical and non-medical pregnancy provide, none are nearly as invasive as an abortion. Yet abortion clinics themselves regularly struggle to meet state licensing requirements across the country.

In recent years, health and safety requirements for abortion facilities have been substantially weakened, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling which struck down a Texas law that was passed in the aftermath of the trial and conviction of Kermit Gosnell, a Pennsylvania abortionist who ran his abortion facility for decades without licensed or qualified employees.

The Texas law, which aimed to prevent another “House of Horrors” from cropping up, required abortionists to have admitting privileges to a hospital less than 30 miles away and abortion clinics to meet the minimum health and safety standards that are required of ambulatory surgical centers. The Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016) threw these regulations out the window.

Interestingly, while many inspections have revealed health code violations such as rusted and moldy equipment (see here and here), in Alaska—where there are no limits on abortion—the state health department says it “does not have inspection reports for our facilities because we don’t consider them medical clinics.”

Although complications such as uterine perforation, cervical laceration, hemorrhaging and even death have resulted from abortion, nothing so serious has ever been recorded at a pregnancy help center, as the services they offer are largely non-invasive, non-surgical, and revolve around offering emotional and spiritual support to women.

CLAIM: Crisis Pregnancy Centers Rely on Deception

- NARAL, The Truth about Crisis Pregnancy Centers

TRUTH: Women deserve truth and honesty when seeking care and support in an extraordinary time of need, such as an unexpected pregnancy. To ensure that this basic need is met, pregnancy centers adhere to a national code of ethics called, “Our Commitment of Care and Competence” (CCC), which addresses the vital importance of truthfulness in communications.

Although NARAL says that pregnancy centers are deceptive, there is simply no evidence to bear that out. Pregnancy centers are truthful and honest to their clients, as multiple court decisions and investigations have confirmed.

In December 2017, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals  found that “after seven years of litigation and a 1,295-page record before us, the City does not identify a single example of a woman who entered the Greater Baltimore Center’s waiting room under the misimpression that she could obtain an abortion there.”

In January 2017, undercover investigators with the City of Los Angeles came to a similar conclusion. After a month of investigating the city’s seven pregnancy centers at the request of the abortion lobby, they announced their inquiry had found no evidence that anything was amiss.

A few years before either of those findings, the U.S. Second District Court of Appeals largely struck down an ordinance by the City of New York that forced pregnancy centers to refer women seeking help away from their own offices, while mandating that they prominently advertise the services they do not offer, including abortion and abortion referrals, the morning-after abortion pill, or prenatal care. Ultimately, the judge said the measure was “a bureaucrat’s dream.”

These findings aren't entirely surprising since affiliates of eleven networks, including the three largest in the country (Care Net, Heartbeat International, and NIFLA), adhere to a national code of ethics instituted in 2009, “Our Commitment of Care and Competence” (CCC). 

From the CCC:

“The code addresses truthfulness in all communications; client information confidentiality; and compliance with all legal requirements regarding employment, fundraising, financial management, taxation, public reporting, and financial disclosure. The code also provides that all medical services be under the supervision and direction of a licensed physician in accordance with applicable medical standards.”

Together, Care Net, Heartbeat International, and NIFLA have conducted over 2,000 legal and organizational reviews to assist centers with areas of legal uncertainty. Across the board, they work to ensure that women receive truth and honesty when seeking care and support in an extraordinary time of need.

Unfortunately, the strategies of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood make that task difficult. By deceiving women about basic human embryology and biology, lying about providing mammograms and prenatal care, and falsely claiming that abortion is only 3 percent of what they do, Planned Parenthood has consistently obscured the facts and misled women about abortion and the work of their organization.

They have even fought informed consent laws that require abortion providers to notify women of certain facts before proceeding with an abortion.

Everyone deserves truth and honesty, especially a woman considering so invasive and life-altering a decision as an abortion.

CLAIM: “[T]hese crisis centers are intentionally positioning themselves in or around Black neighborhoods.”

- Essence Magazine, 7/28/18

TRUTH: Minority women deserve full access to pregnancy and parenting support. Some pregnancy help centers are located in or near black neighborhoods because sadly, abortion disproportionately impacts the black community.

The truth is, black women are not receiving adequate pregnancy and parenting support. Indeed, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 28 percent of abortions take place on black women—a stunningly high number since African Americans make up 13 percent of the population. Pregnancy help centers are located where they are most needed.

One reason the statistics reflect such an extraordinary disparity is because abortion facilities have located themselves in minority neighborhoods. In fact, “Planned Parenthood, the organization with the greatest market share of abortions in the U.S., located 100 percent of its surgical abortion facilities in 2014 in urban areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.” (A Half Century of Hope, A Legacy of Life and Love: Pregnancy Center Service Report, Third Edition, Charlotte Lozier Institute, 2018)

Not only that, but Planned Parenthood facilities are also located in predominantly black neighborhoods.

Using 2010 census data, Protecting Black Life, an outreach of Life Issues Institute, Inc., mapped out Planned Parenthood surgical abortion centers and found that 79 percent are located in mere walking distance from African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods.

Pregnancy help centers seek to reach and serve women, so that no woman, of any skin color, ever feels so alone or helpless that she thinks abortion is her only option. All women deserve to be loved and supported during their pregnancies, and pregnancy help centers try to choose locations where they can fill that need.

CLAIM: “Women who visit pregnancy help centers sign forms that resemble those that protect patients under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA [sic].”

- Journal Inquirer, August 9, 2018

TRUTH: All women deserve confidentiality when discussing their sensitive information. Pregnancy help centers provide that protection to their clients, even when the law does not explicitly require them to do so.

HIPAA only applies to certain medical centers who are performing services or activities subject to HIPAA. Since HIPAA does not apply to non-medical centers, these pregnancy centers use intake forms as a type of confidentiality agreement, which grants the woman confidentiality protections like she would receive under HIPAA. In other words, they “resemble” HIPAA forms because they act like HIPAA forms. They give women HIPAA-like protections where the law does not.

Confidentiality is of the utmost importance to pregnancy help centers, and the forms women sign before receiving services provide them legal protection of their confidential information.

While pregnancy centers take great care to provide protection to their clients—even when they are not required to do so by law—dozens of privacy breaches at Planned Parenthood locations across the country have exposed the confidential information of thousands of patients.

Further, in 2016, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Select Investigative Panel discovered the abortion provider to be violating HIPAA in its working relationship with Stem Express, the California tissue procurement company to which Planned Parenthood sold organs for years.

Pregnancy, abortion, STDs/STIs, and other circumstances that might bring a woman to a pregnancy help center or abortion facility should be handled with the greatest confidentiality. As pregnancy help centers believe, clients are real people who deserve to be treated with dignity.

CLAIM: “CPCs offer free ultrasounds and then give people inaccurate results.”

- Teen Vogue, June 21, 2017

TRUTH: Women deserve access to quality, affordable health care services that comply with the highest standards of care. Free ultrasound services at pregnancy centers are provided under applicable national guidelines set forth by the American Institute in Ultrasound Medicine, the American College of Radiology, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The protocols that regulate the use of ultrasound technology in pregnancy help centers are the same ones that regulate its use all across the country.

As of 2017, more than 7 in 10 (or 1,944) of the estimated 2,752 pro-life pregnancy center sites nationwide offer limited ultrasound to accurately diagnose a viable pregnancy, establish that the pregnancy is intrauterine, and determine the baby’s gestational age.

According to a report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, Heartbeat International and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) have provided training in the provision of limited obstetrical ultrasound to about 3,500 medical personnel, including RNs, registered diagnostic medical sonographers (RDMSs), physician assistants, nurse practitioners, MDs, and DOs. NIFLA has trained an additional 796 management professionals in the medical pregnancy center or clinic setting. As of 2017, about 7,500 of pregnancy center volunteers were estimated to be medical professionals

The impact of these volunteer medical services is considerable. In 2017, pregnancy centers in the U.S. delivered approximately 400,100 ultrasounds, an estimated community cost savings of more than $100 million.

While a vast majority of pregnancy center services are donor-funded, Planned Parenthood—which received $544 million in taxpayer funding in 2017 alone—charges its clients $150 for an intake visit that comprises an ultrasound, lab work and “options counseling” prior to an abortion. Many women report that Planned Parenthood did not allow them to view their ultrasound images, despite the fact that the woman paid for the ultrasound.

One woman, Donna from Indiana, says, "I have had two abortions, one in a Planned Parenthood clinic, one in a hospital where I was referred by Planned Parenthood.  Neither time did I receive any counseling. I had an ultrasound at Planned Parenthood and they were very careful to turn the monitor away from me so that I could not see my baby on the screen. I was told it was just a small mass of tissue at such an early stage of pregnancy. I would have made different decisions if I had been given complete information."

Medical accuracy is critical for any woman considering a life-changing procedure, and medical personnel at pregnancy centers are trained to provide just that. "A small mass of tissue" simply doesn't describe the extraordinarily intricate development that occurs in the earliest stages of pregnancy. Any organization that says they uphold women's health care should not obscure or hide the facts of basic human development.

CLAIM: “CPCs get government support and funding.”

- Teen Vogue, June 21, 2017

TRUTH: Limited government funding that grants women wider access to pregnancy and parenting support services is a positive, not only for the women and children it serves, but for the broader community that benefits from strong and healthy families. That being said, 90 percent of funding for pro-life pregnancy centers comes via donations from local communities.

The remaining 10 percent of public funding comes primarily through two sources.  Eleven states allocate a portion of their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to help pregnancy centers offset material costs of diapers, wipes, and pregnancy tests.

Additionally, 33 states currently sell specialty “Choose Life” license plates, with the proceeds going to pregnancy help organizations. Since 1996, the program has raised over $26 million in voluntary donations for local pregnancy centers. 

No federal dollars are sent directly to pregnancy help centers.

The money that pregnancy help centers receive from states is more than offset by the work they do. In 2017, pregnancy help centers served nearly 2 million people, with estimated community cost savings of at least $161 million annually. 

Far exceeding the extremely limited government funding that pregnancy help centers receive, Planned Parenthood received $544 million in taxpayer funding in fiscal year 2016-2017—37 percent of their overall revenue—even though 94 percent of their pregnancy-related services were abortions.

While most Americans would probably agree that taxpayer funding for pregnancy and parenting support is non-controversial and even a good thing, nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion.

CLAIM: “CPCs put women’s safety at risk and jeopardize wanted pregnancies.”

- Teen Vogue, June 21, 2017

TRUTH: Every mother and every pregnancy—planned or unplanned—should receive the best care and support we are capable of offering them. This is the very reason pregnancy centers exist! And tellingly, clients have overwhelmingly reported positive experiences there.

Heartbeat Internationala pregnancy help center network with over 2,600 affiliates around the worldcollected data from more than 200 pregnancy centers in 2014 and 2015 and found that 91 percent of clients reported the highest level of satisfaction regarding services they received. Care Net, with over 1,100 affiliated pregnancy centers nationally, has reported client satisfaction rates of 98.7 percent in 2013 and 97 percent in both 2014 and 2015, noting the “satisfaction rating is higher than that of Netflix, Chipotle, and the iPhone.”

Clients aren’t alone in their positive views of pregnancy help centers.

Despite the smear campaign the abortion lobby has used against pregnancy centers, a stunning 80 percent of Americans maintain a favorable view of them and overwhelmingly prefer them to abortion facilities, according to a 2014 national poll commissioned by the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

And it’s no wonder why.

While pregnancy help centers empower women with knowledge and support, the activities of America’s abortion clinics remain suspect, rife with legal controversies, unsafe facilities, and the ever-wrong and controversial act of killing an unborn child itself.

From Kermit Gosnell to Robert Rhotwo abortionists who have been convicted of killing patients in recent yearsthe American public has been given several brutal glimpses into the practices of America’s abortion industry and its harm to women.

The compassionate care that is provided by America’s pregnancy help centers simply doesn’t compare to what goes on inside of abortion facilities.

CLAIM: “CPCs frighten patients with myths about abortion.”

- Teen Vogue, June 21, 2017

TRUTH: Women should have access to medical information regarding all risks associated with a procedure, no matter what that procedure might be. It is absolutely crucial to ensuring informed consent. Pregnancy centers rely on scientific studies about the short and long-term effects of abortion in order to ensure that clients are empowered with facts before making a life-altering decision.

Abortion has been linked to a number of adverse side effects, such as mental health issues, breast cancer, and preterm birth.

One 2011 study published by the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that women who have an abortion have an increased risk of mental health issues, including substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.

Regarding the link between breast cancer and abortion, 79 studies have found an increased risk of developing breast cancer after having an induced abortion. This represents nearly 3 in 4 of the 108 worldwide studies on the subject. One award-winning pro-choice feminist filmmaker, Punam Kumar Gill, even made a documentary about the research.

Finally, along with the mother and her aborted child, abortion can even impact the lives and well-being of future children. Over 100 peer-reviewed studies, involving mothers and newborns from 34 countries, show that abortion is a risk factor for preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies.

“The odds of a preterm birth increase with just one abortion, and increase even more for women who have had multiple abortions,” says PreventPreterm.org.

First trimester abortion has also been linked to higher chances of vaginal bleeding, low birth weight, and placenta complications in future pregnancies.

While pregnancy help centers openly present such information to women, abortion advocacy groups obscure the facts, dismissing research-backed information as “myths.”

In fact, NARAL’s website, EndtheLies.com says, “As the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has repeatedly stated, there is no evidence whatsoever to support these medically inaccurate and deliberately misleading claims.”

But clearly, there is evidence backing all of these claims. If you were considering a non-essential procedure for which 3 in 4 studies demonstrated an increased risk of breast cancer, wouldn’t you like to at least know?

CLAIM: CPCs choose names similar to those of legitimate reproductive-health clinics that provide abortion services and locate themselves near those clinics to confuse women and lure them into their center.

- NARAL, The Truth about Crisis Pregnancy Centers

TRUTH: Pregnancy help centers' names reflect the real, life-giving choices they support—such as parenting and adoption—and the free medical and non-medical services they provide, such as ultrasound services, parenting classes, and material resources. Women should never feel forced to have an abortion, especially because it’s the only pregnancy option in their community. Pregnancy help centers locate themselves near abortion facilities because they are trying to reach clients, granting them access to more choices than just abortion.

 Names

All of the U.S. pregnancy centers listed in the Worldwide Directory have names that appropriately reflect whether they offer medical services. Every center whose name includes the word “clinic” offers medical services.

However, if abortion supporters were to insist on literal names for every abortion-oriented organization in the country, they would fail their own test. In fact, there is only one abortion facility in America with “abortion” in its name: The Abortion Surgery Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

That’s one out of 1,800 abortion facilities in the U.S., including 730 stand-alone centers.

Words like “choice,” “options,” “health,” and “clinic” are not exclusive to abortion facilities and should not be withheld from pregnancy help centers just because they support choices such as parenting and adoption.

Location

In the marketplace, similar businesses, such as Walgreens and CVS, often locate next to one another in order to reach the same audience.

The right to set up shop near your customers is a hallmark of economic freedom—a value that virtually everyone agrees upon.  So it seems odd that some cities, such as South Bend, Indiana and Hartford, Connecticut, have attempted to block pregnancy help centers from operating near abortion facilities when they both serve the same potential clients.  Wouldn't pro-choice Americans want all choices readily available to women? 

Perhaps the abortion lobby’s real issue is that women increasingly just don’t want their product.  Indeed, as the number of pregnancy help centers has increased, the number of abortions in America has decreased. 

That's because pregnancy help centers are empowering women to realize their dreams in a way that abortion businesses simply are not equipped to do.  They help women to pursue their education, their career goals, and their dream of having a family. If abortion businesses want more customers, perhaps they should consider changing their products and services to look more like those offered by pregnancy help centers—and provide them for free.