We deserve the facts.
Across the country, “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) pretend they want to help women facing an unexpected pregnancy. But that’s not the truth. Their real goal is to convince women not to have an abortion. Some honest CPCs explain to women that this is their goal. But many others don’t. Instead, they trick women to get them in the center. They often appear to offer abortion and contraception services. They may copy the names of local clinics to appear trustworthy. They might refuse to answer questions on the phone. They may wear white coats and make women fill out official-looking forms. They will often offer free pregnancy tests and even ultrasounds.
But they are not clinics staffed by medical personnel that offer abortion and contraception. Instead, once a woman is in the door, CPCs typically try to shame, confuse, frighten, and coerce her not to have an abortion. These CPCs hand out anti-abortion material. They refuse to tell women about abortion providers. They may force women to watch upsetting anti-abortion videos or slide shows. They even provide false ‘facts’ about the safety, availability, and consequences of abortion and birth control.
When you ask questions about your health or seek services, you should receive complete, unbiased, and medically accurate answers. Whether you’re looking for care, counseling, options or referrals, you deserve the truth. CPCs prevent women from making informed health care decisions and threaten their health. When you are making a decision related to a pregnancy or your reproductive health, time is valuable. Lies and inaccurate facts waste time that you cannot afford.
Did a so-called “crisis pregnancy center” lie or mislead you about the services it offered, or give you inaccurate information about your options? Did you go to a CPC and feel that something was just not quite right? As you may have experienced, CPCs have been known to try to shame, confuse, frighten, and coerce women — who are already facing a difficult decision — not to have an abortion. CPCs hand out anti-abortion material and refuse to tell women about their options. They may force women to watch upsetting videos or slide shows. They even provide false “facts” about the safety, availability, and consequences of abortion and birth control.
Is it a violation of someone’s First Amendment rights if they’re forced to tell the truth? That’s the question that will be brought to the United States Supreme Court in National Institute of Family & Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra beginning March 20 when oral arguments will be heard.
NIFLA’s lawsuit centers around California’s Reproductive FACT (Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency) Act. Approved in October 2015, the Reproductive FACT Act requires a licensed medical facility that focuses on family planning or other pregnancy-related services to post or distribute the following notice:
“California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].”
The Reproductive FACT Act also requires “unlicensed covered facilities” to post/distribute the following notice and to include it in any advertising and on any facility websites in a “clear and conspicuous” manner:
“This facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services.”
On the surface, this type of transparency seems logical. However, if you run a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC), which are typically unlicensed medical centers that pose as real clinics and often provide false or misleading information about abortion, birth control and other reproductive health services, this stands in the way of your entire modus operandi.
Exercising your First Amendment rights is one of the most important threads that make up the fabric of our nation, but it should not be used in order to deceive women when they’re exercising their reproductive rights.
Follow this case on the SCOTUS blog
This website was created by artist and activist, Jex Blackmore to share information about Crisis Pregnancy Centers and provide access to accurate information and resources to women in need. Visit the pages below for more information, and consider getting involved!