Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), as you may know, are pro-life organizations that look a lot like abortion clinics, but espouse a decidedly anti-choice message. The resemblance is deliberate; CPCs list themselves under “abortion” and “clinics” in the Yellow Pages, in an attempt to get women who are thinking about having an abortion to reconsider their choice. This, of course, is incredibly deceptive; for women for whom abortion is already a difficult choice, having pro-life propaganda forced on them in what they think is an abortion clinic is nothing short of traumatic.
CPCs, however, seem to stop at nothing to get women in their doors – some even offer free pizza. A blogger at Ms. Magazine, Alexandra Tweten, noticed an ad for a CPC in the back of a St. Cloud State University 2010/11 student agenda book, offering a free Little Caesar’s personal pizza in addition to $10 STI and HIV tests, and pap smears.
As Tweten points out, organizations like the one in the St. Cloud agenda book often disguise their religious, anti-choice message in an attempt to seem like a mainstream clinic. This sometimes results in outright lying, like claims that abortion can cause breast cancer or long-term psychological effects. The organizations almost always use misleading language that burdens women with guilt and shame; they refer to the fetus as the “baby” or “child,” and will actively avoid providing information over the phone in an attempt to get women to come to the clinic, where they bombard women with pro-life propaganda. They target low-income women and women of color.
Marketing campaigns like these are just one indication of how low CPCs are willing to stoop. The only ethical decision in cases like these is to present women with medical facts, information and options, and to allow them to make choices for themselves. But deliberate deception, overt lies, and bribery only combine to create an untrustworthy, morally dubious operation, disguised as a medical service.
Photo from Flickr.