At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 29, over twenty people showed up in a residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C. to expose the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Hill Pregnancy Center, a fake clinic that has been spreading anti-abortion propaganda in the city for decades. This action was part of Reproaction’s ongoing work to educate people about anti-abortion fake clinics.
Our seasoned activists knew the drill upon arrival: shuffle through the stack of signs with messages that included, ‘Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center LIES’ and ‘Abortion is Healthcare!,’ pop on their signature ‘pro-abortion, pro-family, pro-justice’ shirts, grab a stack of informational flyers, and hit the sidewalk.
“Learn about fake clinics in D.C.!” activists called out as they passed out flyers to people on their way home from work. For many passersby, the fact that Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center isn’t an abortion clinic came as a shock. The thought that there’s an anti-abortion fake clinic misleading pregnant people in one of the most progressive cities in the country can seem unreal. Many neighbors, who recognized us from our previous direct actions, paused to hold signs and helped provide context about how the neighborhood has been gentrified, and the people who have been displaced as a result of higher cost of living, who are predominately low-income people and people of color.
The fake clinic is aware of the changing demographics as well. While its flagship clinic sits on a corner of a busy intersection with an innocuous banner that reads, ‘PREGNANT, NEED HELP?,’ it has made moves this year to expand by opening a satellite center in Southeast D.C., a part of the city that is grappling with two maternity ward closures that have only further limited access to healthcare. This is all happening at a time when D.C. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the country, and Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications.
Pregnant people in D.C. deserve the right to receive medically accurate information about their pregnancies so they can make informed decisions about their health. Fake clinics, like Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, continue to spread misinformation about pregnancy and abortion, and perpetuate shame and stigma in our communities.
Having conversations with people in our communities is an important part of spreading the word about anti-abortion fake clinics. Reproaction activists distributed flyers in front of the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Hill Pregnancy Center with information about where people can access abortion care and find free pregnancy resources and support (free from anti-abortion propaganda!) in the city.
After the direct action, activists were invited for dessert and refreshments at Karen Mulhauser’s home. Karen, who is the co-founder of the Women’s Information Network (W.I.N.) and past president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, hosted a conversation about her incredible decades-long career in the movement. We reflected on the current status of abortion rights and spoke about a future where we can fulfill our vision of reproductive justice.
Karen’s home was adorned with images from her amazing career – spotted on the wall was a snapshot of President Barack Obama, who she worked with, and pins and other materials that she collected over the years. A large plate of homemade ‘Gendersnap’ (ginger snap) cookies were featured on Karen’s large dining room table alongside a flyer highlighting the successes of Reproaction’s #ExposeFakeClinics Campaign.
The flyer read:
Gendersnap #1: Formed in 2015, Reproaction is the left flank for direct action for reproductive justice.
Gendersnap #2: You have identified more than 2,500 U.S. Fake Clinics and maintain a database on your website.
Gendersnap #3: In partnership with the Campaign for Accountability and NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, Reproaction helped expose Human Coalition, a fake abortion clinic chain, which the NC state government had granted $600,000 to provide anti-abortion services in the state, and mobilized North Carolinians to petition and speak-out.
Well, there’s truly nothing sweeter than exposing anti-abortion fake clinics! Reproaction is proud to demand accountability and expose these fakes in our communities.
Did you know that there are more than 2,500 of these fake clinics in the United States and many receive state and federal funding? Check out our database here!
To learn how you can #ExposeFakeClinics in your community, check out our toolkit here.