Tax dollars taken from real medical clinics and diverted to fake pregnancy clinics

May 21, 2006 | By | 5 Replies More

I previously posted the results of my personal investigation into the fake medical clinics that call themselves “Pregnancy Resource Centers.”

My earlier investigation revealed that Pregnancy Resource Centers are unwilling to plainly admit their real agenda: to keep people ignorant about birth control, to deny women access to effective birth control methods (including birth control pills) and to pour guilt on people struggling with deep and personal decisions regarding pregnancy.

Alternet now reports that these fake medical clinics are proliferating while clinics offering actual medical care lag behind. S.  How are these “Pregnancy Resource Centers” funding this campaign of guilt and disinformation?  With tax dollars.  In Texas, for example, $25 million was cut from the state budget for family planning services and $5 million of that money was given to fund so-called crisis pregnancy centers. Other states, including Missouri, have considered financing Pregnancy Resource Centers with tax dollars.  According to Planned Parenthood, Pregnancy Resource Centers (also known as “crisis pregnancy centers”) across the nation “have received $60 million of government grants.”   

Planned Parenthood also notes the deceptive ways in which Pregnancy Resource Centers advertise and operate:

CPCs pose as objective health facilities using neutral-sounding names and deceptive advertising practices that lead women facing unintended pregnancies to believe that they will be offered unbiased counseling and a full range of reproductive health services. Unsuspecting women are lured into CPCs with the offer of free pregnancy testing or HIV tests.

When women are making a health decision, they should never be subject to deceit and trickery,” said Maloney, at a press conference on March 30 to announce the bill. “Some of these crisis pregnancy centers should be called ‘counterfeit pregnancy centers.’ They have the right to exist, but they shouldn’t have the right to deceive in order to advance their particular beliefs.

According to Planned Parenthood, “Deception and lies don’t help women make informed choices.”Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) recently introduced the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services (SDAWS) Act, which would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce truth-in-advertising standards for fake “clinics” known as anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs).  Take action here.

Pregnancy Resource Centers are also setting themselves up “as the ‘go-to’ people for sex education in the public schools and are quickly becoming the primary providers of sex education to our children.”  As I discovered by my investigation, the Pregnancy Resource Centers are exerting their political muscle in trying to deny women access to birth control pills and other standard methods of family planning.

These are golden days, indeed, if you believe that the decision of whether to bear children should be haphazard, accidental, inspired by ignorance and fraught with medieval-era guilt.

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Category: Politics, Reproductive Rights, Sex

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (5)

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  1. Jason Rayl says:

    Another example that the war is on Sex. They can go on all they want to about the "sanctity of life" and that it's about unborn babies etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseum, but when you get right down to it, this is a war on Sex–they want to remove it from the list of individual rights. They don't like the idea that people get together and Do It whenever they want just because it's fun or because of affection or whatever. They hate the idea that women can participate in Sex Games the way men do (and have always done). They want a veneer of denial over the whole thing because it's powerful stuff and heaven forbid people actually get over the idea that they can Own Each Other, which is what traditional male-female relationships are based on.

    Ever since Ed Meese and his commision on pornography made it obvious that these folks can't stand neurosis-free sexuality, this has been a war on Sex and our right to use it as we choose. Why should anyone have a wholesome, healthy, interesting, and self-controlled sex life when "they" don't? Why should anyone have the choice when half the "fun" for them is the guilt?

    Besides, if you can control people in their bedrooms, you can control them–period–and you don't need an army to do it.

    (This instance of bombastic overreaction has been brought to you by The League Against Unseemly Group Hypocrisy In Need of Gagging–L.A.U.G.H.I.N.G.)

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    I agree with Jason. There is a deep-seated resentment driving 1) the limited information regarding birth control and 2) limited means of preventing pregnancy. Based on some conversations I've had with people opposing these things I know that they lie awake at night worrying that some woman, somewhere, might be having a pleasurable moment without simultaneously committing herself to twenty years of parenting.

    I know that my personal approach might seem inappropriate to such people, but here it is: I think that information and means for controlling pregnancy should be widely available such that all pregnancies are wanted pregnancies and all children born are wanted children. Here's a corollary: people who don't want to be pregnant should not be forced to give up sex to achieve this goal.

  3. Planned Parenthood's campaign against CPC's might well be based on lies.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    My post was not in any way based upon the story mentioned by "The Raving Atheist." I have no information upon which to judge whether that single anecdotal incident is true. I do have have acquaintances who are personally familiar with some of the tactics of fake abortion clinics, however. Their stories and my own investigation demonstrated to me that the fake clinics have little regard for the truth.

    This fake clinics' disinformation campaign can also be seen in the website claims of numerous CPC (to see these, simply Google "pregnancy resource center"). For instance, many CPC's still claim that there is a link between having an abortion and having breast cancer. The argument is set forth at http://www.plannedparenthood.org/pp2/portal/files… . You don't have to trust PP, however. Just go to the National Cancer Institute's own website to see that there is no such link: http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/ere-workshop-rep….

    Here's another example: CPC's commonly offer only "Natural Family Planning" (rhythm) as a way to have sex without getting pregnant (again, see the CPC websites to verify this). This is an absurd "method," however. As I calculated in my original post the expected failure rate for a woman using only "natural family planning" would result in at least FIVE accidental pregnancies during her lifetime. I don't consider that to constitute a form of "family planning." It, therefore, shouldn't be advertised as such by the fake clinics.

    The greatest deceit of all perpetrated by these clinics is that they claim to exist to offer something of medical value to women who walk in. They don't. They have taken strong stands against the availability of birth control pills, birth control devices and legal abortions. I've reviewed the websites of more than thirty CPC's. None of them even mention condoms or diagrams as a birth control methods except for a handful of CPC's that only criticize their use. Instead, CPC's strongly support ineffective abstinence-only programs. "Instructors of these programs are forbidden to inform students about contraception except to stress failure rates. The curricula contain false information and are riddled with religious dogma and gender stereotypes." http://www.plannedparenthood.org/pp2/portal/files

    This is obviously a heated battle. Many people in this country want to require other people to 1) give up sex or 2) have lots of accidental pregnancies. I am strongly in the other camp. I believe that people should have access to the best available pills and devices such that they can have sex without fear of pregnancy, if they so choose.

    Doubtless, questionable information, such as anecdote mentioned by "The Raving Atheist" will be passed around. Even if that anecdote were untrue (it might be true, however), it would still concern only one incident. To contrast, the ongoing campaigns of the CPC's consist of the systematic and widespread use of deceit and misinformation to affect the lives of many thousands of people.

    I have no problem with an organization trying to persuade women to not have abortions. To do this, though, they ought to display their true colors at the front door and on their home pages. They should post the following: “We will do everything possible to make you give birth to a baby, even if you’ve been raped. We are politically active trying to deny you the use of birth control devices and pills such that you will be more likely to have future accidental pregnancies."

    To take action against fake clinics, go to http://www.ppaction.org/campaign/fake_clinics1_hp

  5. grumpypilgrim says:

    The national debate over birth control was the first thing that made me take a really hard look at American values. I just could not understand why ANY American could possibly think that it was their business to try to manipulate another American's access to birth control. I mean, WHY? What on earth makes ANYONE think it should be their decision for everyone else in America? To me, it's like trying to decide everyone else's choice of toothpaste or toilet paper. Gimme a break. What my neighbors (or, indeed, Americans living 1.000 miles away from me) use to clean their teeth, wipe their bottoms, and prevent pregnancy are their business and no one else's. It most certainly isn't mine, nor should it be some self-appointed "moral leader" like a Jerry Falwell or a Pat Robertson.

    This realization was what first made me wonder if America's Bible-thumping extremists really have anywhere near the moral authority they claim to have, or if they are just mindlessly ranting about such things because that is what have been told to rant about. Indeed, just look at how much their campaigns against things such as evolution and reproductive rights rely on misinformation and even outright lies.

    Then I began to wonder to what extent American "moral values" today are merely a residue leftover from Puritan values of the 1600s; i.e., a set of social norms that have been handed down for centuries without anyone really bothering to think about where they came from, or whether they even make any sense anymore. America in the 17th century was overwhelmingly more homogeneous with respect to religion, values, etc., than it is today, so how could there possibly be any *valid* basis for trying to apply the same social norms? To this day, I haven't found one — nor, significantly, have any religious zealots provided one. Instead, what we have are things like CPCs: organizations that owe their existence to lies and misinformation. Hardly an America "moral value" that would have appealed to the Puritans.

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