A bombshell new report from CNN alleges that at least 18 states have used tax-payer money to fund anti-abortion facilities, known as crisis pregnancy centers. And what’s more, about half of those states are using funds intended to help struggling families.
If you’re unfamiliar with crisis pregnancy centers, it can be hard to tell them apart from the clinics they’re mimicking.
A quick google search for “pregnancy help” will pull up dozens of these centers, covertly intermingled with medical clinics. Nothing about the photos of beige waiting rooms filled with flimsy magazines or promises to “connect you” with medical care would tip you off that these aren’t health care facilities.
But don’t let the waiting rooms fool you: from the moment you walk through those doors, the goal is to stop you from getting an abortion. Often at the cost of spreading serious misinformation.
A 2012 academic study looking at crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina found that 86 percent of crisis pregnancy centers provided false or misleading information. And a 2021 study by Alliance, an abortion advocacy organization, found that almost two-thirds of crisis pregnancy centers in nine states provided false or biased information, including information on so-called abortion reversal pills.
Some of this misinformation can be straight-up dangerous.
Heartbeat Intentional, one of the largest networks of crisis pregnancy centers in the country, actively promotes so-called “abortion reversal pills,” which they say can reverse an abortion.
Not only is there zero evidence that you can reverse an abortion, research indicates that attempting to can be extremely dangerous.
The only study we have on abortion reversals had to be halted because too many of the participants experienced severe bleeding and had to be hospitalized.
Black Americans are often the target of this misinformation. According to Color Lines, organizations like Care Net, another large crisis pregnancy center network, have invested thousands into reaching Black and Brown Americans, and setting up clinics in “urban” neighborhoods.
Despite evidence that these centers provide misinformation, states like Texas have allegedly poured hundreds of millions of dollars into them.
According to CNN, Texas spent $200 million of tax-payer money on crisis pregnancy centers over the last decade, all while dealing with a rampant maternal mortality crisis that shows no signs of abating.
Half of the states that provide funding to crisis pregnancy centers do so at least in part with welfare funds intended for lower-income families through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, according to CNN.
This means that instead of that money going to struggling families, the money is going to anti-abortion activists.
Mario Gallo, a sexual and reproductive health epidemiologist at Ohio State University, told CNN that this type of spending shows where lawmakers’ priorities stand.
“It’s dangerous in part because they are legitimizing [crisis pregnancy centers],” Gallo told CNN. “They are legitimizing that as a source of medical care when they’re not licensed medical facilities.”