June 18, 2015 — There are at least 27 antiabortion-rights crisis pregnancy centers in Connecticut, outnumbering abortion providers in the state by eight, according to a recent report by the NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut Foundation, CT News Junkie reports.
For the report, NARAL assessed CPCs in the state over the course of two years. The investigation included 22 in-person visits to the centers, as well as analysis of the centers' websites and telephone surveys.
According to the report, the organizations consistently use misinformation, misleading advertising and deception regarding reproductive health.
For example, the report found that 95% of the CPCs "provide[d] information that is both inaccurate and deceptive," 70% did not explicitly tell individuals that they were not licensed medical clinics and none of the centers offered testing or referrals for sexually transmitted infections. Meanwhile, most of the centers held themselves out as comprehensive reproductive health centers or medical clinics by either having locations next to licensed clinics, using names similar to medical providers, or requiring employees to wear lab coats or scrubs similar to those used by medical professionals.
Further, the report noted that the CPCs often targeted low-income communities, as well as minority communities, which often lack access to comprehensive health services.
Advocates Call for Legislation
NPCF members said they would seek legislation to regulate the centers' advertising and make sure they are not directly or indirectly funded by state funds. In addition, they said such legislation should make sure the state cannot refer women to pregnancy-counseling centers that do not offer comprehensive reproductive health services.
According to CT News Junkie, there currently are no federal or state laws regulating CPCs because the centers often are not licensed as family planning clinics. However, the California Assembly recently passed legislation (AB 775) aimed at restricting CPC misinformation.
NPCF Board Chair Stacy Missari said the centers included in the investigation "have one primary goal: to block women from considering abortion care, and evidence of this limited agenda is clear." During a press conference regarding the report, Missari said many of the clinics would provide misleading risks associated with abortion and use manipulative tactics to convince women not to end their pregnancies or to delay women's decisions on abortion.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who also attended the press conference, added that the report highlighted a "kind of fake advice and false advertising" that is "arguably ... against the law right now, because it violates our consumer protection statutes. But it ought to be banned specifically through state action and state initiatives." He said, "To pose and pretend to be a medical professional is absolutely reprehensible" and has "real-life consequences" that "have to be stopped."
Meanwhile, antiabortion-rights advocates dismissed the report as political maneuvering (Stocker, CT News Junkie, 6/15).