TRANSLATING COURSE READINGS
We use two course readings as intellectual scaffolding for our project. In the first, “Crisis Pregnancy Center Websites: Information, Misinformation, Disinformation,” Bryant et al., examine the material CPCs present via their websites. The authors found that most contain false information: 92% of websites providing information about abortion contained inaccurate or misleading assertions, and 80% of websites displayed false information about the “risks” associated with abortion, such as long-debunked links between abortion and mental health, breast cancer, and infertility (Bryant et al. 603). In our project, we expand the idea that websites act as abortion deterrence tactics to apply to online chats, which comprise a key strategy for CPCs, particularly in a time of crisis when face-to-face meetings are limited.
One of the drawbacks Bryant et al articulated in their article was the inability to know how many women use web resources to obtain information and whether their use of these resources is consequential (604). During the pandemic, it is safe to assume that women are forced to procure information about pregnancy and abortion online; it is certainly plausible that this has resulted in an increase in web traffic to CPC websites or to state directories that refer to CPCs.
92% of CPC websites providing information about abortion contain false or misleading assertions.
CPCs are more important to pro-life activism than countering CPCs is to reproductive justice activism.
The second text we chose to center in our project is “Abortion as Gender Transgression: Reproductive Justice, Queer Theory, and Anti-Crisis Pregnancy Center Activism.” The authors argue that CPCs are more central to the anti-abortion movement than they are to reproductive justice activism (Thomsen and Morrison 3). Despite engaging in topics and practices that should concern reproductive justice advocates, countering CPCs has not been central to either reproductive justice or reproductive rights activism; in fact, contention between the two has contributed to the lack of attention paid to CPCs (Thomsen and Morrison 8). Additionally, CPCs have been largely ignored within feminist scholarship, and much of the academic work devoted to CPCs -- such as the Bryant et al. piece-has been published outside of feminist journals.
In an effort to rectify the lack of attention paid to CPCs among feminist activists and scholars as observed by Thomsen and Morrison, we engaged with CPCs and connected the practices they employ to deter women from getting abortions to broader ideologies that surround and stigmatize abortion.