Crisis Pregnancy Centers, San Francisco, and My Thoughts

Summary: The article explains that, like other areas of our country, San Francisco is trying to pass a law that makes it illegal for “crisis pregnancy centers” make false claims about the services they provide and to mislead women about their choices. 


My Thoughts


Crisis pregnancy centers and other free clinics are frequently used by low income girls and women when they think they might be or are pregnant. These are places they feel they can go to learn about and weigh their options about this life-changing event. 


Low-income communities usually have little access to health clinics or health care professionals, so crisis pregnancy centers in these communities can be seen as a boon for many women. Pregnant, scared, and able to turn to a health care professional that can assess my situation and tell me what I can do? Great!


You walk into a crisis pregnancy facility where you are greeted by people in scrubs and other medical-wear, looking very professional. You sign in on a clip board and you go sit down in what looks like a doctor’s waiting room. You pull out a magazine, and wait for your name to be called. When it is, they take you back, weigh you, take your height and blood pressure, and write it all down and say “someone will be with you shortly.” Sounds like you’re in a doctors office, no? 


No. These centers frequently lack even a single licensed medical professional on staff. Not a doctor, not a nurse, not a medical assistant, not anyone. The entire above scenario is a facade, meant to fool women into thinking they are about to receive information from a professional that is going to give them all their options. 


In fact, most are run by religious groups whose primary goal is to lead women away from abortion. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, except when they purport to be neutrally providing all the options. Many have been caught providing false and incomplete information their “patients”. That’s where it become totally unacceptable.


Not providing a complete picture or selectively providing information strips an individual of control over their own choices and life. The low income women these centers service have lost control over their own lives in many ways already: poor public education leading to limited social mobility, limited access to health care leading to uncontrolled chronic diseases, and more.  As a community we have the responsibility to protect these individuals from the false claims of predatory facilities. 


So I whole-heartedly agree with many of the states and cities that have chosen to take actions to regulate these clinics. Why not make it so that any clinics that claims to provides information and services to pregnant women, have to place a sign in their waiting rooms that says whether or not they have trained medical professionals in the clinic, and what services they provide. This would include Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics, and is a completely reasonable demand to protect women at a time when we may be at our most vulnerable. 

2 thoughts on “Crisis Pregnancy Centers, San Francisco, and My Thoughts

  1. This is the bigger issue:

    “If the San Francisco city attorney and Board of Supervisors are so concerned about truth-in-advertising by pregnancy care centers, they should also force San Francisco’s abortion facilities to clearly post that their primary business is abortion.”

    Your statement below is quite exaggerated—What crisis pregnancy center did you observe this in? These centers are not trying to “fool” women. Discouraging them from getting an abortion and “fooling” them are completely different issues.

    You walk into a crisis pregnancy facility where you are greeted by people in scrubs and other medical-wear, looking very professional. You sign in on a clip board and you go sit down in what looks like a doctor's waiting room. You pull out a magazine, and wait for your name to be called. When it is, they take you back, weigh you, take your height and blood pressure, and write it all down and say “someone will be with you shortly.” Sounds like you're in a doctors office, no?

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  2. @Anonymous — Thank you so much for commenting and reading my entry! I agree, that is the bigger issue. It's why I ended my post by saying that any clinic that provides information and services to pregnant women should have to post what services they offer and whether they have a medical professional in the clinic. That way it's a fair law, that provides transparency to women coming in.

    I have only observed a few crisis pregnancy centers in my time in Massachusetts and Texas, and they did in fact look like doctors office. But I have not had any personal experiences as a patient. My narrative was meant to represent what I have read about many of these centers. That does not necessarily mean all of them. I have been following these types of laws in a few states, and there seems to be a consensus that many of these clinics are falsely representing themselves. Here are a few, only a few of the articles from which I gleaned this information.

    Aside from this, if they are in fact providing all the information accurately and neutrally, then a sign that simply states the facts of what the center is should not be a problem.

    I'm not saying it's bad to dissuade someone from having an abortion. I'm saying putting on scrubs and walking around with an air of medical authority and not providing all the information is bad. It's the equivalent of lying.

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