October 19, 2017
When my friend Jenna* called me crying, terrified she was pregnant at sixteen, I knew I had to get someone else to help her because I was definitely not qualified to handle this.
In the chaos of it all, I made what could have been a catastrophic error. I absent-mindedly Googled the Planned Parenthood texting hotline and clicked the very first link that popped up.
Later, I realized it was a “priority ad”; someone had paid for it to be the first thing on the search page as a way to attract desperate young girls like Jenna, who wouldn’t have the wherewithal to vet their sources first.
So when Jenna sent me screenshots of the conversation between her and a “pregnancy crisis counselor,” I was completely blindsided by the type of “unbiased support” they provided.
Take a moment to calm down, the counselor said. Think about your baby, a little heartbeat in your belly. You wouldn’t want to kill your baby, would you?
In my rush to help Jenna, I had accidentally directed her to a “crisis pregnancy center.” Also known as CPCs, these “clinics” are in actuality fronts for anti-choice organizations, marketing themselves as legitimate medical facilities. CPCs will often set up shop near established Planned Parenthoods or reproductive health centers, and offer things like free pregnancy tests to lure people in. But once inside, CPCs are notorious for spreading misinformation and using anti-choice scare tactics to frighten young girls into making a decision that may not be right for them.
That’s why dozens of organizations from across the country are joining the movement to promote awareness of CPCs. From October 23rd to 28th, over 40 organizations will be participating in a week of action to insist on straightforward, accurate reproductive health care.
Join the conversation with #ExposeFakeClinics and learn what you can do to expose fake clinics. Together, we can fight for a world where women will be empowered to make the reproductive choices that are right for them.
*Jenna is a pseudonym used to protect the identity of a teenager who lives in Oklahoma.