From the outside, anti-abortion clinics or “crisis pregnancy centers” look similar to abortion facilities. However, new research shows that the misleadings centers have been using deceptive tactics to dissuade pregnant women from having an abortion. Some facilities have been using the power of social media to spread harmful misinformation to young women and teens, hoping to lure them into their locations.
Now that Roe V. Wade is overturned, crisis pregnancy nonprofits are expected to ramp up their services in the coming months. Many facilities use social media to tailor and target ads to young teens and adults. Bloomberg reported that on Snapchat, anti-abortion clinics appear to be using the app to target women in their early 20s. Users can utilize the platform’s “Snaps Maps” feature to search for abortion clinics in their area but unfortunately, some crisis centers have been listing themselves as abortion clinics, marketing services like “free pregnancy tests” and offering ultrasounds.
A young woman named Lisa told the outlet that she felt scared after she unknowingly visited a crisis pregnancy center in Volusia, Florida. A medical worker at the facility discouraged her from having an abortion after her pregnancy test come back positive.
“Maybe you’ll miscarry and then you won’t have any problems,” the questionable medical assistant allegedly told her.
Deceptive tactics like this can lead to dangerous outcomes for young women desperately seeking abortion services.
Some anti-abortion clinics are providing dangerous medical guidance
In California, the news outlet found that eleven out of twenty-four locations listed under “abortion” were actually anti-abortion clinics. Three claimed to offer a dangerous abortion reversal pill, which can stop medication-based abortion in the first trimester if progesterone is administered in time. Progesterone is the chemical that helps the uterus prepare for pregnancy. While the pill is an alternative, many medical officials warn against using the medication due to risky side effects like hemorrhaging. Snapchat has since removed dozens of anti-abortion clinics from its platform and Google requires the deceptive centers to clearly note whether they are certified to perform an abortion, but there’s more work to be done.
Many crisis pregnancy centers aim to counsel women against ending their pregnancies, however, some facilities have been known to share harmful information in the process. Elizabeth Estrada of the National Latina Institute For Reproductive Justice told The New York Times that a number of facilities in the New York City area have been notorious for telling patients that abortion can cause cancer, sterility, and “other claims that are medically unproven.” It’s important to note that anti-abortion clinics usually don’t employ licensed doctors or clinicians. In fact, no medical certification is required to perform an ultrasound. Some facilities promise to help expectant mothers find resources like affordable housing and baby supplies, but Marjorie Velazquez, a City Council member from New York argues that some of the faulty centers aren’t really delivering the services they promote.
“If you are proclaiming that you are there for health care and you’re not providing the health care, then you’re defrauding a consumer, a patient,” Velazquez who chairs the New York City consumer protection committee told NYT. “In the past, there has been a safety because it is New York City and we’re a largely Democratic city. But still, the urgency is here and it’s now.”
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