Why We Say, “anti-abortion fake clinic”

| Reproaction

By: Shireen Shakouri

Why do we say “anti-abortion fake clinic?” Simply, it’s the easiest descriptor of what they do and who they are.

But lets take a step back, in case you’re unfamiliar. Not everyone knows what they are: anti-abortion fake clinics are places that mislead and shame people seeking abortions. We’ve written a lot about them, some of which you can find on our #BadFaithMedicine campaign page here. You can also learn how to spot an anti-abortion fake clinic here.

They’re sometimes known as “crisis pregnancy centers”, “CPCs,” “pregnancy help centers”, “pregnancy resource centers”, and “pregnancy medical clinics” to name a few variations, some have been focused grouped to death and others just seem to appear. Largely, these names are creations of the anti-abortion movement, aimed at their deceptive goal: misleading people about the nature of their business, which is preventing people from having the abortions they want. The fact is, they’re not there to provide help, nor medical care, nor resources, nor to alleviate a crisis. They peddle lies, anti-abortion stigma, and deceptive tactics to convince people not to have abortions, sometimes receiving accolades for these ‘services’ being categorized as supporting a pregnant person. I’ve written elsewhere about how it’s not ‘help’ to provide someone aid only on the condition they do what you want them to do. That’s just coercion and control, which is what the anti-abortion movement is all about. But fake clinics are positioning themselves as a solution to a world without Roe, so we need to take seriously the ways in which they try to shroud their ill intentions as a benefit for women and families.

While they are often thought of as small nondescript centers in a strip mall with rosaries hanging on the walls, many anti-abortion fake clinic chains are medicalizing, beefing up with medical clinic infrastructure and staffing up with anti-abortion ideologues in white coats in an attempt to legitimize the misleading, shaming, deceptive statistics they offer up to talk someone out of their abortion decision.

How are they doing this? These chains and networks of anti-abortion fake clinics are not only highly funded by private donations, including from fracking billionaires, but they’re also increasingly grabbing state and even federal taxpayer dollars for their specious pursuits. There is not the time or space today to list all the public funding and possible grifts of fake clinic chains, but let’s just say we’ve written about some here, here, here, here, and here. We also created an infographic detailing ‘pro-life’ big spending here.

This is all while states are sending even more money to fake clinics each budget cycle. These state and federal grants are coming on the heels of the likely fall of Roe and after the sunset of a federal grant to the anti-abortion Obria clinic, the first anti-abortion fake clinic chain to receive Title X funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [1] That’s right, your tax dollars have gone to support these places, even if you live in a fairly pro-choice state.

And that’s why we need to be clearer than ever about what we’re facing: The anti-abortion movement, and anti-abortion fake clinics especially, only win when they deceive. The majority of Americans believe in legal abortion [2] and they only stand to lose popularity as Roe falls and the impact of inaccessible abortion care becomes even more grave. We cannot allow the anti-abortion tool that produces the most confusion in mainstream conversations to be called by the name they want to give it. That only enables further deception about who they truly are.

Anti-abortion: because they want to end all abortion

Fake: because their services are if not fraudulent, certainly deceptive and misleading

Clinic: because they cloak their fakeness in medical-seeming language, center locations, and white coat-adorned staff and volunteers who may or may not even be credentialed.

And never, NEVER, an acronym like CPC. That just adds more confusion to an already complex problem. That’s why it’s best to say “anti-abortion fake clinic.” Otherwise we’re carrying water for a movement that aims to strip us of our rights and tell us it’s for our own good.


1 – https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/fact-sheet/public-opinion-on-abortion/

2 – https://campaignforaccountability.org/obria/

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