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Many of our patients have brought to our attention certain deceptive practices of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers”. In response to questions about these centers, we’ve included this report on crisis pregnancy centers based on information from the NARAL Foundation for Reproductive Freedom and Choice, The Guttmacher Institute, and a couple national news organizations. Together, these sources explain in depth the deceptive trade practices of these centers (collectively, CPC’s).
What are crisis pregnancy centers?
These centers attract women faced with unintended pregnancies who are “at risk” for abortion. They advertise themselves under various aliases of neutral-sounding themes, including but not limited to “Crisis Pregnancy Center,” “Pregnancy Counseling Center,” “Pregnancy Care Center,” “Pregnancy Aid,” and others of similar theme.
Although some centers do provide an open and honest setting to ensure that women facing an unintended pregnancy receive the support and information they need, many of these pro-life centers only bombard women with anti-abortion propaganda. Women are lured into these centers under the false impression that they will receive balanced information and the full range of reproductive options, which may include pregnancy tests, sonograms, birth control, and in extreme cases, abortion.
While most centers do provide free, commercially-available pregnancy tests (similar to a product you can find in any drug store), this is often the limit of their services that can be provided legally. These centers do not have a license to practice medicine, and their counselors do not have state-mandated training or literature. While many of these centers are careful not to tread in unlicensed medicine, there are medical malpractice suits pending against some of these centers.
What happens at these centers?
The staff at these misleading organizations (usually volunteers) have been known to use anti-abortion propaganda, misinformation, and intimidation to dissuade women from receiving an abortion. The main objective of these centers is to instill a sense of fear and guilt in women considering an abortion by distorting the medical facts and imposing a specific moral doctrine. Strongly question the information they provide you on abortion procedures .
Many clients of these centers express feeling duped, manipulated, and pressured by religious preaching. Women are often persuaded to watch distasteful videos, and are shown pictures of stillborns that are portrayed as aborted fetuses. In some cases, women are harassed and physically impeded from leaving the center after telling their counselor they were going to have an abortion.
Misleading advertising and medical foul play have landed many CPC’s in legal trouble. In 2002, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer investigated twenty-four CPC’s in his state. 
Deceptive or misleading CPC practices have also been challenged in Texas, Massachusetts, Ohio and California.
For more on the legal challenges of CPC practices, please see NARAL’s report: Deceptive Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
How do I recognize anti-abortion counseling centers?
There are some general rules you can follow to protect yourself from these centers. We have also included a list of suspicious crisis pregnancy centers in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, for your information.
General rules to follow for consumer protection:
Suspicious Pregnancy Centers in Ohio
These state-by-state lists are based on affiliations with pro-life organizations, customer complaints, and legally filed complaints, but do not include all deceptive centers in these states. Use your best judgment before deciding whether to visit a suspicious center.
Suspicious Pregnancy Centers in Indiana
Suspicious Pregnancy Centers in Kentucky
Where can I find professional, non-deceptive pregnancy counseling centers?
Select clinics and pregnancy counseling centers that have clearly established reputations. Avoid centers with ambiguous names or descriptions. Ask friends and relatives you trust, or a family doctor or OB/GYN for a referral. Family Planning Services, Planned Parenthood, or any other established women’s health medical facility will provide unbiased answers in a non-pressured environment. Most clinics that provide abortions also provide free pregnancy tests, state-mandated counseling or literature, and adoption resources.
Complete Reports & Articles on the Deceptive Practices of CPC’s:
Deceptive Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers (NARAL)
Anti-Abortion Counseling Centers: A Consumer’s Alert to Deception, Harassment, and Medical Malpractice (Planned Parenthood)
Crisis Pregnancy Centers Seek To Increase Political Clout, Secure Government Subsidy (The Guttmacher Institute Report on Public Policy)
Clinic Crisis (AlterNet)
New York State Probes Pro-Life Centers (WorldNetDaily)
Works Cited in Report
 Moore, Art. (2002). New York State probes pro-life centers. World Net Daily. Retrieved November 11, 2003: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=26054
 Deceptive Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers. (1999). NARAL Foundation for Reproductive Freedom and Choice. Page 5. Retrieved November 11, 2003. Deceptive, page 8.
 Deceptive, page 3.
 Deceptive, page 5.
 Anti-Abortion Counseling Centers: A Consumer’s Alert to Deception, Harassment, and Medical Malpractice. (1991). Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Retrieved November 11, 2003: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/library/opposition/antiabcenters.htm