SAN FRANCISCO, July 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NARAL Pro-Choice California Foundation today announced the results of a two-year-long undercover investigation of more than 200 so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) in California. The report reveals a disturbing pattern of how these unregulated centers mislead women about their reproductive health-care options, thus posing a serious threat to women's health.
CPCs are the "clinic arm" of the anti-choice movement. In many cases, as the report confirms, CPCs use deceptive and intimidating practices to mislead women who are facing an unintended pregnancy about abortion, contraception, and other medical care.
- "No matter how a person feels about the question of legal abortion, everyone can agree that women should never be misled when seeking information about pregnancy, birth control, abortion, or sexually transmitted diseases — yet it is happening in communities across California," said Amy Everitt, state director at NARAL Pro-Choice California.
- Everitt said the report, titled "Unmasking Fake Clinics, the Truth about Crisis Pregnancy Centers in California," shows the prevalence of CPCs in the Golden State.
Consider these numbers: Only 59 percent of California counties have an abortion provider, while 91 percent of California counties have at least one CPC.
"It is wrong to conclude that CPCs are relegated to politically conservative communities," Everitt said. "CPCs are operating in Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, in addition to more conservative areas, covering the state of California."
Legislators, health-care advocates, and faith leaders joined NARAL Pro-Choice California Foundation to urge the end of deceptive advertising practices. First, this broad-based community coalition is working to ensure that women who walk into one of these centers understand that they won't receive referrals for all health services. Second, in most cases, the CPCs are not licensed, regulated medical facilities, and thus women should be informed that these CPCs don't have to comply with federal laws protecting patient privacy in the same way that doctors do.
In addition to the report's findings, Everitt said the California-based report comes as NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation has collected more than 66,608 signatures on a petition targeting two major online information sites, YellowPages.com and SuperPages.com. The letter calls on the sites to enforce their policies against misleading advertising practices. CPCs, including those in California, are using the sites to advertise under "abortion services," even though they don't offer this medical care and are not honest about their opposition to legal abortion.
Quotes from Community Leaders
"As a physician, I know that becoming a parent is one of the most important decisions my patients make," said Jennifer Kerns, MD, MPH, an obstetrician/gynecologist and fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. "Every pregnant woman needs reliable, medically accurate information about parenting, adoption, and abortion. The last thing she needs is to be misled and manipulated by a crisis pregnancy center posing as a legitimate medical facility."
"As a lawyer who supports Choice, I believe wholeheartedly in the work that NARAL Pro-Choice California undertakes and believe that CPCs should be required to fully disclose their scope of services and accurately represent themselves to women," said Ericka Hailstocke-Johnson, attorney at law.
"CPCs are not only misleading, they also dispense false and medically inaccurate information to women. It is imperative that the medical community speak out on the deceptive practices of CPCs and help NARAL Pro-Choice California to keep women safe," said Dr. Michelle Sandberg, Pediatrician.
Summary of Report's Key Findings
The NARAL Pro-Choice California Foundation's investigation was conducted by unpaid trained staff and volunteers, with intensive field work between February and August 2009. The process included visiting 14 clinics in six counties and making phone calls to an additional 200 centers. The following includes the key findings:
- The report outlines how CPCs are funded, the audiences they target, and the deceptive advertising techniques they use. Umbrella organization, including Care Net, Heartbeat International, and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, operate 90 percent of CPCs.
- CPCs tell women, incorrectly, that abortion leads to serious immediate and long-term complications including mental disorders, breast cancer, and future infertility.
- Over half of the CPCs investigated highlighted mortality as a claimed complication from abortion.
For a full copy of the report, methodology, additional stats and personal stories, please visit: www.ProChoiceCA.org.
About NARAL Pro-Choice California Foundation
Purpose: to support and protect, as a fundamental right and value, a woman's freedom to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices through education, training, organizing, legal action, and public policy.
SOURCE NARAL Pro-Choice California Foundation