Thursday, April 18, 2024

Guest Blogger Series: Nancy Keenan “Exposing the Deceptive Practices of Anti-Choice “Crisis Pregnancy Centers””

Picture this: You’re scared that you might be pregnant. You see an ad for a free pregnancy test and counseling. You call the number and make an appointment. During your consultation, you’re told that birth control is the same as abortion and that if you have an abortion, you will probably get breast cancer. You’re vulnerable, scared, and confused, and now you have been lied to and manipulated.

Is this something out of a reality TV show?

Sadly, no.

You have walked into a so-called “crisis pregnancy center” (CPC). CPCs are anti-choice operations that look like comprehensive women’s health centers. Many CPCs choose names that sound like those of comprehensive health clinics.

As documented in HBO’s documentary 12th & Delaware, some CPCs even set up shop across the street from an abortion provider—all in an effort to trick women seeking abortion care into coming through their doors.

But don’t be fooled: these organizations are generally unregulated and unlicensed. They are run by anti-choice volunteers. And many CPCs deceive and lie to women to scare them away from choosing legal abortion. In fact, there are more than 4,000 CPCs throughout the country, outnumbering health centers that provide abortion care by a 4:1 margin.

CPCs are increasingly focusing their efforts on Latinas. According to research by NARAL Pro-Choice America state affiliates, CPCs have identified some women as top targets, with many CPCs even using the term “abortion vulnerable” to describe college-aged women, African-American women, and Latinas.

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation and our network of state affiliates have been getting the word out about the danger CPCs pose to women’s health. We are sharing information about CPCs in Spanish at events across the country.

We conducted a nationwide CPC tour this year, with screenings of HBO’s 12th & Delaware in seven states. 12th & Delaware goes inside a CPC in Fort Pierce, Florida. It includes one scene where a Latina seeking to enter the abortion provider is harassed.

And just last month, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation released the findings from its 12-month investigation of CPCs in the Tarheel State. Major news media organizations picked up the story of how these operations deceive and manipulate women.

However we feel about the issue of abortion, we can all agree that women never should be lied to when they need information to a make a decision about an unintended pregnancy. It’s time to hold CPCs accountable for misleading women.

Fortunately, NARAL Pro-Choice America affiliates are holding CPCs accountable city by city. Austin, Baltimore, and New York City have all passed ordinances to ensure that CPCs are honest about the claims they make to women.

San Francisco also just enacted a measure this month prohibiting CPCs from making false or misleading statements in their advertisements about the services they offer.

We intend to keep winning, but we need even more people to get involved. Visit our website to help us pass national legislation that would end the lies to women and to get some great materials to share with your friends.

People should be able to speak their thoughts on the issue of abortion, but they need to do so without resorting to lies or deception. If anti-choice activists really believe that women deserve full information about their health-care options, they should have no objections to ordinances that simply require that they disclose the limitations of their services.

Being honest to a woman facing an unintended pregnancy should not be too much to ask for.

Nancy Keenan, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America: Nancy Keenan is a nationally recognized progressive leader who brings her experience as a state legislator and statewide elected official to her role as president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Nancy marshals NARAL Pro-Choice America’s resources-the power of people, political acumen, and policy expertise-to lead the charge to protect a woman’s right to choose.

Under Keenan’s leadership, NARAL Pro-Choice America launched a research project in Arizona and New Mexico in partnership with community organizations examining Latinas’ views on reproductive rights issues. In addition, The New York Times and Newsweek have written about her organization’s ground-breaking and ongoing public-opinion research of the Millennial Generation’s views on abortion rights.


  1. […] later Keenan blogged: However we feel about the issue of abortion, we can all agree that women never should be lied to […]

  2. […] later Keenan blogged: However we feel about the issue of abortion, we can all agree that women never should be lied to […]

  3. […] later Keenan blogged: However we feel about the issue of abortion, we can all agree that women never should be lied to […]