5 telltale signs of a pregnancy center in crisis

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It’s not just about pregnancy: some CPCs run advertisements about providing services for other issues, such as testing for sexually transmitted infections. Brooke W., 28, who ended up in a CPC after seeing their ads for free STI screenings on her college campus, knows this very well.

“They were right next to campus, so a friend and I decided to go together,” Brooke told SELF. But the staff member she met focused much of the conversation on abstinence, Brooke says, which upset her.

2. They advertise or set up where people are most vulnerable.

As Shumaker notes, crisis pregnancy centers often run advertisements or operate where people might seek an abortion. Think: next to real abortion clinics, for example.

“I have spoken to many people in abortion clinics who say that a patient will only make an appointment to be delayed because she has been to the hospital. [crisis pregnancy center] next door, ”says Shumaker. It may even happen because protesters on the sidewalks outside abortion centers will tell patients to go to the emergency pregnancy center instead, Shumaker says.

College campuses, like the one where Clemons saw the sign leading her to a CPC, offer these centers a chance to target people who might be young, scared and without a ton of options for quality health care. CPCs sometimes run advertisements on public transport or in low-income neighborhoods (where they may also operate), both of which NARAL Pro-Choice America highlights may be more likely to attract poor people of color who are looking to terminate a pregnancy.

3. They make abortion really dangerous.

Just knowing that there are emergency pregnancy centers is a good first step when figuring out where to get an abortion, says Shumaker. This can make you more critical of any misrepresentation about abortion you might hear.

“It helps to be aware of some of the myths surrounding abortion,” says Shumaker. She uses the example of the lie that abortion can cause breast cancer, that National Cancer Institute has studied rigorously and determined that this is not true. “You will often see myths like this on [CPC] websites, ”says Shumaker.

The Guttmacher Institute describes some other common but completely false myths about safe and legal abortion: that it can cause infertility or pregnancy problems later in life, that it is likely to have long-term negative effects on mental health, that abortion is often or always a dangerous method and even a potentially fatal procedure. Again, none of this is true, but this is the kind of information you might hear from a crisis pregnancy center.

What makes this even more ridiculous is that while some CPCs are accredited medical centers, most are not, according to an article in the American Medical Association Ethics Journal. While some have licensed healthcare professionals on staff, most do not. These are therefore usually unlicensed people who are not health professionals but who give false information. Sometimes they even wear white medical coats to really complete the picture (again, wrong), as the authors of the paper Explain.

If you find yourself in what you thought was an abortion clinic but feel suspicious, you can directly ask if the person seeing you is a doctor or a nurse, Nourbese Flint, Director of Policy and Head of Programs for Abortion. reproductive justice to Black women for well-being, a California-based health equity organization that works to educate black women and women of color about their health, SELF said. “I wouldn’t normally ask my doctor’s office that,” Flint said. But this is one of the main reasons why the staff at these clinics can influence people, she explains: “Most people assume that they are healthcare professionals. “

4. They will not be clear about whether or not they perform abortions.

You can call a clinic you find online, ask if they offer abortions, and hear that you need to come before they answer. It’s a red flag, says Shumaker. These types of responses are usually meant to get you in and have a conversation that could then influence your decision to have an abortion.

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