Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights Groups Launch End the Lies Campaign to Expose Deceptive Practices by Fake Women’s Health Centers
Campaign Launches Ahead of Major Supreme Court Case Challenging California Law Protecting Women from Deception, Ensuring Access to Timely and Complete Information
For Immediate Release: February 28, 2018
Contact: [email protected]
Today, a coalition of women’s health and reproductive rights groups from across the country led by NARAL Pro-Choice America announced a new campaign that seeks to expose the deceptive and dangerous practices of fake women’s health centers. The End The Lies campaign launch comes just weeks ahead of oral arguments before the Supreme Court in NIFLA v. Becerra, scheduled for March 20, 2018. That case concerns challenges to the Reproductive FACT Act, a straightforward California law that provides women and their families with access to timely, full, and accurate information about the full range of their reproductive health care options.
In a press call today, leaders of reproductive rights groups, and individuals whose lives were impacted by the deception at fake women’s health centers, emphasized the significance of the upcoming Supreme Court case and outlined the End The Lies campaign’s planned activities and ongoing efforts.
The End The Lies website launched today features resources and background on fake women’s health centers and NIFLA v. Becerra, including the stories of real women deceived or put in danger by these facilities, a map of fake women’s health centers across the country, and relevant legal materials and other news on the case. The effort will also include a broader nationwide campaign to educate the public on the danger of fake women’s health centers and their deceptive activities. Upcoming campaign activities will include digital advertising and organizing, canvassing, billboards, and other on-the-ground organizing and events in key states across the country and Washington, D.C., where a rally will be held on the steps of the Supreme Court on March 20.
“The End the Lies campaign will expose the deception of these fake clinics, and we’re proud to launch this effort today,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Our simple message in this campaign is that women seeking healthcare or counseling during pregnancy require and deserve accurate information about our full range of options, not lies or the runaround. Fake women’s health centers have a very well-documented history of intentionally misleading women into believing they’re real health care facilities, getting them inside their doors, and once they’re inside, these centers then proceed to give women false, incomplete, or inaccurate medical information, often from untrained individuals. They purposefully and quite strategically hide any indication of their real agenda and ideology. And that’s how even women who are doing their research end up at places they don’t want to be at by mistake — it can feel impossible to distinguish between what’s fake and what’s real.”
“Fake women’s health clinics seek to cloak their deceitful tactics under Constitutional cover. Let’s be clear, deceiving and manipulating pregnant women is not a free speech right,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The Supreme Court saw through the sham tactics in Whole Woman’s Health and we’re confident that it will do so again.”
“Women’s health care decisions should never be influenced by fear and deception,” said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center. “These anti-abortion counseling centers provide false, misleading, or incomplete information that endanger women’s health and future fertility. This false information can even lead women to continue unwanted pregnancies to term. The Court should take this opportunity to make clear that women deserve accurate and full information when making decisions about their health care.”
“The fact that we needed to even pass a law to make it harder to lie to women about medical care is ridiculous,” said Nourbese Flint, Policy Director, Black Women for Wellness. “Fake clinics have been a growing epidemic in our communities. More and more of these clinics have been popping up not only here in California but across the nation, particularly in low-income communities, communities of color, and near schools. At this point in time, we have more fake clinics than real clinics here in California. Often these fake clinics set up in close proximity to real women’s health clinics and use deceptive practices to trick women into the doors. The Reproductive FACT ensures that women have at least the very basic bottom line information about what facility they’re walking into.”
“I was looking for information and health care, but all I got at the fake women’s health center were lies, deception, and shame,” said Lauren Gray, a patient at a fake women’s health center. “The thought that this wouldn’t be a real clinic never crossed my mind, because medical professionals are supposed to be trustworthy. I was at a very vulnerable moment in my life and really thought I’d get the information I need.”
“My direct experience is as a provider who has seen hundreds of women who have felt deceived and frightened with inaccurate medical information,” said Dr. Gabrielle Goodrick. “All of this deception also has the effect of delaying women from receiving proper, compassionate care from real health care providers. These centers are held to a lower standard than nail salons. It cannot continue.”
“Californians understand the value of having accurate, timely information about our health options, including abortion access. Women weighing important medical decisions that will impact the rest of their lives deserve to have all the facts when they need them, in order to make the best decisions about their own health, lives, and futures,” said Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California. “California voters are overwhelmingly in favor of the FACT Act, and that support is mirrored by the diverse array of briefs filed in the Supreme Court in support of the law.”
Yesterday, there were over a dozen friend-of-the-court briefs filed in support of California and the FACT Act. Over fifty reproductive rights, civil rights, and social justice organizations argued that fake women’s health centers intentionally deceive women. Their support was mirrored by briefs from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other provider groups who discussed how fake women’s health centers delay women and their families’ time sensitive pregnancy decisions. Additional briefs include a briefs signed by Members of Congress; cities and counties across the country, including the National League of Cities and US Conference of Mayors; social science researchers, legal ethicists; Black Women for Wellness and allied groups; Physicians for Reproductive Health and Planned Parenthood; Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California et al, the California Women’s Law Center et al; and consumer advocates including Public Citizen.
Fake women’s health centers are facilities that purport to offer pregnancy-related health care and medical services. Instead, they prey on women at a vulnerable moment in their lives by pushing medically inaccurate information, using deceptive advertising, running misleading websites, and engaging in a variety of other dishonest tactics to lure women seeking care and information about their full range of health care options into visiting these facilities. The FACT Act helps provide important, accurate, and honest information to pregnant women; makes sure anyone who claims they provide medical advice and/or medical care is held to a high standard of honesty and professionalism; and makes sure women receive accurate information about their full range of options and programs related to pregnancy and family planning.
For more information, please visit www.endthelies.com.
NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”