DC’s Crisis Pregnancy Centers Deceive Pregnant Women

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Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), sometimes referred to as “pregnancy resource centers” or “fake clinics,” offer pregnant women an abortion-alternative agenda under the guise of professional healthcare. There are 4,000+ centers nationwide, four in DC, and one in Ward 6.

The problem? CPCs are not medical facilities. Instead of offering information that is medically accurate, comprehensive and unbiased, CPCs intentionally mislead women to keep them from accessing abortion care. To get women in the door, these self-proclaimed ‘clinics’ offer free pregnancy tests, and sometimes offer sonograms. Staff will often wear white coats and medical scrubs, and are trained to deflect when asked if they provide abortion services. In reality, these centers are unlicensed and unregulated. Once inside, women are given medical misinformation and pressured to carry a pregnancy to term.

The Supreme Court is currently deciding a case against a similar California state law. I was proud to attend the rally outside the court on March 20 in support of women who have been taken advantage of by these fake clinics. I was equally proud to join local women the following week in a protest outside the fake clinic in Ward 6.

The CPC in Ward 6 is located on Capitol Hill. According to its website, “The Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center serves the Gospel of Jesus Christ by providing intervention and abortion alternatives...and encourages a lifestyle that reflects godly values, especially with regard to sexual behavior.” When a student from a Georgetown University student group called the center in October, he was told that a 10-week-old fetus can feel pain—despite there being no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Unfortunately, DC does not require CPCs to disclose that they are not medical facilities. The Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center does not display any such signs. In fact, DC does not even require CPCs to disclose that they’re not medical facilities and neither the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs nor the DC Department of Health regulates the activity of such centers. At a time when facts, science, and truth matters, our local laws ought to protect women seeking reproductive care they are legally afforded.

This is another example of basic women’s health care being ignored by our DC Council. A pregnant woman in DC deserves medically accurate, comprehensive and unbiased information. The solution is to immediately move legislation that requires CPCs to advertise truthfully in DC, and to display signage that discloses their medical status, and whether or not they provide comprehensive reproductive health services. Similar ordinances have been passed in New York City and San Francisco, so once again DC finds itself behind progressive cities across the nation.

In 2014, my opponent refused to answer a question from Planned Parenthood regarding whether he supported women having access to abortion services at all qualified health care providers. It was an incredibly confusing decision, one that led to him receiving one of the lowest Planned Parenthood scores issued to DC Council candidates during the 2014 election year. I believe he made this strange choice in part because he did not want to be asked to legislate against the CPC in Ward 6. On this issue, we could not disagree more. Our community can count on me to always stand up for the safety, well-being, and constitutional rights of women, and always fight for their access to comprehensive reproductive services. When it comes to women’s health there can be no gray area, and there can be no unanswered questions.