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What are crisis pregnancy centers and why are they dangerous to women's health?

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are anti-choice organizations that often pose as comprehensive reproductive-health centers, but whose sole purpose is to block women from exercising their right to choose. CPCs use a variety of tactics, including manipulation, misinformation, false or misleading advertising, or promises of free services to lure women into their centers. While some CPCs are upfront about their anti-choice agenda and may even provide some support and information to women facing unintended pregnancies, many do not.

Unable to shut down legitimate health centers, the anti-choice movement built CPCs to operate on a parallel track. While they may seem harmless, CPCs do not operate alone—they are allied with powerful national anti-choice organizations and politicians. Many anti-choice legislatures funnel money to CPCs through "Choose Life" license-plate programs. Others have passed biased-counseling or forced-ultrasound laws requiring women seeking abortion care to receive state-maintained materials that refer them to these facilities. Some even fund CPCs directly with taxpayer dollars.

All patients deserve comprehensive, non-directive, and medically accurate information when seeking medical care. Women seeking pregnancy-related information are no different. Regardless of one's opinion on legal abortion, everyone should agree that no person seeking medical care or counseling should be manipulated, harassed, or lied to.

Current State Laws

At least 23 states have laws supporting CPCs*: AZ, AR, FL, GA, KS, LA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WV, WI.

  • 9 states have "Choose Life" license-plate programs: AR, FL, GA, LA, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN.
    • 1 of these laws is unenforceable: NC.
  • 20 states refer women to CPCs: AZ, AR, FL, GA, KS, LA, MN, MS, NE, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TX, VA, WV, WI.
  • At least 11 states fund CPCs directly: KS, LA, MI, MN, MO, NC, ND, OH, PA, TX, WI.
  • 1 state has an unenforceable law that forces women to go to a CPC: SD.

2013 Enacted State Legislation

In 2013, at least 8 states enacted 10 measures that support CPCs*:

  • At least 8 states enacted 8 measures that fund CPCs directly: KS, MI, MO, NC, OH, PA, TX, WI.
  • 2 states enacted 2 measures that refer women to CPCs: OH, WI.

* Because this is a new issue area for the publication, the process of researching and documenting current measures is ongoing.

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