More than 200 fake abortion clinics operate in Texas, according to a Rewire.News analysis. Fake abortion clinics, sometimes called crisis pregnancy centers, lure women in with promises of free pregnancy tests. They may also masquerade as abortion clinics. When women arrive, they’re met with anti-abortion propaganda and scare tactics. The clinics now outnumber real Texas abortion clinics more than 10 to 1.
Government-Funded Abortion Clinics Outnumber Real Clinics in Texas
Crisis pregnancy centers argue that they merely offer an alternative to abortion. Yet time and again, investigations reveal that these clinics promote religious material, give women false information, and even threaten women to coerce them to give birth.
Yet Texas lawmakers continue to fund these facilities, which offer no real medical care. The Texas Alternatives to Abortion program has distributed more than $21.6 million in funding to anti-abortion organizations since 2014. Lawmakers continue to slash funding to family planning services, while diverting millions to clinics that can provide no evidence that any service they provide confers any benefit on women.
In some cases, lawmakers have taken funding from programs for needy children to fund crisis pregnancy centers.
How Fake Clinics Hurt Women
Crisis pregnancy centers take a heavy-handed approach to advertising. They target abortion-related keywords in Google searches, and in many cases end up outranking actual clinics. The influx of government funding helps them outspend clinics providing real medical services.
Numerous investigations have shown that these clinics harm women. Even when the clinics are effective at convincing women to give birth, they offer no maternity care and no real support.
Women who opt to have abortions may face threats and stalking. Because crisis pregnancy centers aren’t medical providers, they’re not bound by medical ethics or medical privacy laws. Yet women often reveal private medical information because they think they’re receiving medical services. This enables the clinics to sell women’s information to third parties, and even tell anti-abortion activists about women who intend to seek abortions. In at least one case, a crisis pregnancy center used confidential health information to continually intimidate a 17-year-old and her family.
Fake clinics argue that they have a free speech right to lie to women and pretend to be medical providers. In NIFLA v. Bacerra, a case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, California crisis pregnancy centers argue that a law requiring them to disclose that they do not offer medical services is unconstitutional.