Beware of Anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers

In small and large towns throughout the United States (and all over the Internet), anti-abortion groups have set up "crisis pregnancy centers" or "pregnancy counseling centers" or "pregnancy help centers." They are often located near high schools. These centers follow a format promoted by the Pearson Foundation to deliberately misinform and mislead young women.

Going by the names, Crisis Pregnancy Center, Pregnancy Aid, Birth Right, Open Door, CareNet, Life Choices, or Pregnancy Counseling Center, these groups want to be the first contact a woman makes when she thinks she might be pregnant, so they can talk her out of considering abortion.

Anti-abortion pregnancy centers are listed in the yellow pages under "abortion alternatives." They do NOT provide abortion. Many offer free pregnancy tests or pregnancy counseling as a means to lure you in. On the Internet they also use deceptive names like, and They do NOT provide referrals for abortion.

Nearly all of these centers are operated by churches or religious organizations. They refer to themselves as a "ministry" to save women's souls.

Most anti-abortion centers will not give out information by phone, they insist you come into their office. Women have reported waiting up to an hour for the results of a pregnancy test that should only take a few minutes. While waiting, they are forced to watch anti-abortion videos or be surrounded by anti-abortion propaganda. Some women have then been denied the results of their pregnancy test when they say they want an abortion or indicate they want the test result to be able to apply for medical assistance.

Women describe being harassed, intimidated, and given blatantly false information, or being forced to pray with the crisis pregnancy center's staff. They complain that their confidential information was used against them. In some cases, they were followed home, and mail and phone calls intruded into their homes.

For unbiased help deciding what to do, see:

  • Am I Pregnant? a list of pregnancy symptoms and assistance in evaluating your options
  • Pregnancy Options Workbook and website - an honest resource to help you make your own decision.
  • Take Charge hotline at 1-800-770-4334 for referrals inside Washington State - for low income men and women
  • Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 to find out about free health care for low income pregnant women and infants.

How to Recognize Anti-abortion Counseling Centers

The Pearson Foundation manual, How to Start and Operate Your Own ProLife Outreach Crisis Pregnancy Center, urges anti-abortion counselors to give deceptive answers. For example, it cautions, "Do not tell the client that she is or is not pregnant." Instead, counselors are advised to only say whether test results are positive or negative.

They show shocking and misleading films and pictures of mutilated fetuses and stillborn babies. They won't let women leave until the end of the video or until they have looked at all the anti-abortion information, even when the woman realizes she has made a mistake going there.

They attempt to make women feel guilty.

They refuse or fail to provide useful comprehensive contraceptive information. The Pearson Foundation manual explicitly instructs counselors "never to counsel or refer for artificial contraceptives or sterilization." They advise unmarried women to abstain from sex, presenting abstinence as the only way to avoid pregnancy.

Their offices are filled with information that is one-sided, biased and misleading.

Some of these centers offer ultrasound (also known as sonograms). But that does not mean the personnel operating the equipment are have received quality medical training.

IF you discover you are seeking help from an anti-abortion facility, protect yourself from further harassment. Leave immediately and do not return. When you do locate a professional clinic that offers information about all options, be sure to tell them about your experience at the fake clinic and let them help you sort out the facts from the religious views or outright lies you have been told.

If you live in Washington State, we want to hear from you. Please send us your contact information and tell what happened to you, and what they told you. Don't believe a word they say until you check it out with a reliable medical provider or health educator. Call Cedar River Clinics at 425-255-0471 or send a message using our online form.

"One person told me about their horrifying experience going to a fake clinic. The name was Open Door, so they expected it to be supportive of women's decisions regardless. What a nightmare. When the staff person/volunteer came out with the pregnancy test results, she literally ran over to us, "Congratulations - here's a gift for your new baby."

- - - -

"Then they asked us what we wanted to do and my daughter and I said we decided the best thing for her to do was have an abortion and how much would that cost? The two ladies said 'please wait a minute' and left us ... They came back with a doll and ... scissors ... and said: 'this is what your baby looks like now and we want you to start cutting her up because that's what will happen if you get an abortion - so start cutting!' I grabbed her and threw the doll at those ladies and got out of there fast! I later found out it wasn't a real clinic..." (excerpt from Legal but Out of Reach published by the National Network of Abortion Funds)

- - - -

Did you know that there are as many as 4,000 CPCs in the United States, compared to the less than 2,000 facilities that actually provide abortion care for women. (find out more)

How to Locate a Reliable Honest clinic

  • Select clinics that provide the full range of contraceptive alternatives.
  • Ask on the phone if they provide or refer for abortion services. Avoid centers that refuse to give a straightforward answer.
  • Do not use the ones listed in yellow pages under Abortion Alternatives.
  • Be cautious when surfing the web. Often you will find anti-abortion religious-based websites disguised as pro-choice information. Keep searching for reliable information.
  • Select clinics that have clearly established reputations. Avoid centers with ambiguous descriptions. Avoid clinics whose staff do not provide full, clear answers regarding their services. Ask friends or relatives you trust!
  • See our list of clinics

more info about fake clinics:

WATCH OUT for deceptive (anti-abortion) pregnancy centers. Their true purpose is to steer women away from abortion. Thousands of women have been harassed and upset by the anti-abortion politics of crisis pregnancy centers. Even worse, they have caused delays in women getting health care.

updated: March 19, 2012

"The idea that an embryo or fetus is equal to or more important than the life of a cantankerous adult doctor is no longer a sick private delusion. It is a collective psychosis masquerading as religion that has become a political force threatening democratic society."
-a doctor speaking out in June 2009 after the murder of Dr. George Tiller

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