Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Crisis Project Investigates Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) have generated ample controversy over their attempts to dissuade women from terminating unwanted pregnancies*. As discussed in a prior post, many CPCs misrepresent their services, disseminate inaccurate information about pregnancy options, and promote a fundamentalist anti-abortion agenda (more here). Some CPCs deliberately set up shop near abortion clinics in an attempt to mislead women and dissuade them from seeking abortion services. One organization, the Crisis Project, is taking on unscrupulous CPCs.

The Crisis Project defines itself as "a youth led movement that is committed to advancing social justice by exposing threats to human rights." The organization shines light on misinformation and right-wing religious messages propagated by many U.S. CPCs.
"Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are anti-family planning non-profit organizations that operate within most communities in the United States, and often with state and/or federal funding. While their stated mission – to aid women facing an unplanned pregnancy – may seem harmless, their actual intent is much more sinister. As our investigations document, CPCs notoriously use medical misinformation, emotional manipulation and religious doctrine to coerce and bully women and men out of considering all of their reproductive health options."
The group has investigated CPCs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Fairmont, Minnesota, Louisville, Kentucky, and Cleveland, Ohio. Katie Stack, founder of the Crisis Project, secretly recorded her conversation with a counselor at the Cleveland Womankind CPC. As reported in Salon, the CPC counselor gave Stack inaccurate information about emergency contraception, incorrectly likening it to abortion and claiming it could induce hemorrhaging. The counselor also lectured Stack on why sex belonged in marriage.

Kudos to the Crisis Project for investigating unethical CPC practices. Women deserve accurate information about pregnancy options, including abortion and emergency contraception, and need to understand how some CPCs might mislead them. Hopefully, such public scrutiny will motivate CPCs to serve women in a more scrupulous manner.

* This is not to say that all crisis pregnancy centers are destructive. Some CPCs provide useful services and supplies to pregnant woman, but many others misinform women and promote an anti-choice agenda.

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