Beware the deceptions at Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Women with unwanted pregnancies must be able to have all of their options on the table.

Abby Bar-Lev

Crisis Pregnancy Centers feign reproductive health care for women facing unwanted pregnancies and, in reality, are deceptive institutions of the anti-choice movement determined to deter women from being informed of all their options.

According to NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, “there are approximately 130 Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Minnesota,” which commonly include Birthright, New Life, Total LifeCare Centers, and Seton Services/Catholic Charities. If any of these names sound familiar to you, that is probably because you have seen them on campus. There is a slew of CPC’s that have invaded the University. From St. Paul to Dinkytown to Stadium Village, Crisis Pregnancy Centers have been sprouting up, luring women into making misinformed decisions. In fact, the Total LifeCare Centers’ Web site boasts 12 Centers in the Twin Cities metropolitan area alone.

What, exactly, is so bad about these CPCs? They put substantial pressure on women to carry a pregnancy to term rather than providing them with all of the options at their disposal. As the Total LifeCare Center says on its Web site, “If, through service and example, we can extend God’s love to them, our clients will be better prepared to make a loving decision to choose LIFE” (emphasis not added). In their informational video, one LifeCare staff chose to put it in these words: “We talk to them (clients) about the risks, physical, emotional, and spiritual risks of abortion. We also talk to them about their other options, their life-affirming options: parenting and adoption.” Something to be aware of, however, is even when these Crisis Pregnancy Centers claim to “inform” women of their legal right to abortion, the “information” they offer is going to be skewed.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are infamous for their propaganda. They often employ fear tactics, such as gruesome and violent images in pamphlets to dissuade women from choosing abortion. They also spread misinformation, such as telling women that abortion may lead to breast cancer and may lower the chances of getting pregnant later on, as well as other falsified severe physical and psychological side effects and repercussions. Crisis Pregnancy Centers even go as far as to, as NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota states, “choose a name and location similar to an actual abortion clinic to confuse women seeking abortions into entering their clinics.” And even though they may have a clinical and professional veneer, very few Crisis Pregnancy Centers actually have any trained medical professionals on board. More so, Crisis Pregnancy Centers refuse to offer referrals to actual medical care facilities. Crisis Pregnancy Centers, in fact, are so sewn into the pockets of the right-wing that the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life’s Web site offers a link praising such centers, providing contact information for all the Centers in Minnesota. By the way, the largest number of CPCs in Minnesota, according to this listing from the Citizens Concerned for Life, resides in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Is it surprising that such propaganda centers are located most densely in the most densely student-populated cities? It is beyond fishy; beyond surprising. It is abhorrent.

As for services that, without pressure from either direction, provide a woman with all her options – birth, adoption and abortion – there is not one Planned Parenthood on campus. The nearest one is in Uptown (1200 Lagoon Ave. S., to be exact), with a clinic in Saint Paul (1965 Ford Parkway). In addition to providing informed and unbiased advice to women regarding unwanted pregnancies, Planned Parenthood also offers a host of other health care services for women, including counseling and family planning to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.

With such a plethora of misinformation advertising as truth from the CPCs on a college campus, it is becoming increasingly difficult for women to seek unbiased and credible professional advice and information on their options with an unwanted pregnancy. The hypocrisy of Crisis Pregnancy Centers is raw and stinging. They claim to care about the lives of the women who enter their doors, but instead do everything within their power to shove women through one narrow point of view, littered with deceit and depriving them of the full breadth of legal options.

Women with unwanted pregnancies must be able to have all of their options on the table, free of scare tactics and prejudices. They deserve to be – and for their own health must be – advised by professionals who respect any choice she may make. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are no more than sham clinics created by the anti-choice movement to con women into believing abortion is an unsafe, unethical and spiritually damaging option (if they even mention it as an option at all), as opposed to the safe and legal choice that it is.

Abby Bar-Lev welcomes comments at [email protected]