What in the world is a CPC? 

Thomsen and Morrison (2020) define crisis pregnancy centers as “religiously informed anti-abortion non-profits that claim to offer free services to those experiencing unintended pregnancies” (1).

Whereas abortion clinics provide medical care, CPCs do not.  CPCs often look like doctors’ offices, but they are not licensed medical providers, and they are not subject to government regulation of medical facilities (2).

What’s the difference between CPCs and abortion clinics?

CPCs target women seeking abortions by using deceptive tactics to prevent them from having abortions. One common way they do this is by spreading false information about the side effects of abortion. 

If they don't provide abortion, what do CPCs do? 

A congressional investigation in 2006 revealed that 87% of CPCs provide false medical information to clients (2).

What is their goal? To prevent abortions?

You're catching on! CPCs aren’t just anti-abortion; they actively hinder women from getting abortions. For example, CPCs often locate themselves near abortion clinics to intercept patients who are trying to get an abortion.

Do they provide services?

CPCs give clients false information and often hide their religious and political affiliations when they are counseling women. Many CPCs offer ultrasounds - which they incorrectly claim are necessary to confirm a pregnancy - even though they rarely staff medical professionals (2).

During the pandemic, CPCs are using chat services to deploy all of these tactics. In our chats, we experienced CPCs lying about the side effects of abortion, convincing us not to have abortions, and claiming that we needed ultrasounds in order to confirm pregnancy.

We also noticed that CPCs hid their religious and political goals, which seem important to disclose when you are counseling someone about what decision to make regarding a pregnancy! 

How are CPCs funded?

According to Chen (2013), CPCs are largely funded by private donations, but in recent decades they have received millions of dollars in federal funds (937).

You heard that right! CPCs receive funding through a variety of grants. For example, former President George W. Bush's “faith-based agenda” made CPCs a centerpiece of conservative activism. 

Wait, CPCs get federal funding?!

Consequently, CPCs received a large amount of funding through Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) funds and through section 510 of Title V, which allocates abstinence only education funds (938).

Did anything change under Obama?

Federal funding for CPCs decreased under the Obama administration, but it was not halted (939). 

You betcha. CPCs receive funding through a variety of grants earmarked for abstinence, family planning, and welfare programs (940). Revenue from campaigns such as "Choose Life" license plates have supported CPCs in their anti-abortion efforts (940).

Requiring CPCs to provide medically accurate information seems like the bare minimum. But CPC advocates claim that this would infringe on their first amendment rights to free speech and freedom of religion, even though CPCs rarely disclose their religious affiliation (2). 

Do CPCs also get state-level funding?

Can the government regulate CPCs?