Crisis pregnancy centers are not apolitical, they are simply anti-abortion

Scout Hutchinson, Opinion Editor

In the last several weeks the debates around abortion have become increasingly more urgent as legislators propose anti-abortion laws persecuting the protections granted by Roe v. Wade in states such as Texas and Mississippi. While Roe v. Wade has created a necessary foundation for adequate access to healthcare services and ingraining the right to choose in Constitutional Law, it is not enough. We cannot assume that if Roe v. Wade is in place that means that everyone has freedom of choice or equal access to every option when they are pregnant or think they might be pregnant. 

Crisis pregnancy centers are an example of how pro-life organizations have been able to continue to push their political agendas onto patients and limit easy access to abortions. According to the AMA Journal of Ethics,  these centers exist within the undefined boundaries of health care when an organization is not legally considered a medical center, which means they are exempt from regulatory, licensure and credentialing oversight.

Crisis pregnancy centers advertise themselves as being apolitical and are able to disguise themselves as non-judgemental and loving while purposefully telling people options for pregnancy that specifically leave out the right to termination. While some crisis pregnancy centers do not explicitly state that abortion is unethical or not an option, by just leaving it out of the conversation they are dictating how one approaches their decision.

Illustration by Madi Welch.

Birthright Walla Walla is a pregnancy crisis center that operates at a similar level of legal uncertainty to others like it in the United States. On their website, they claim that they “understand the challenges related to unplanned pregnancies,” and that they “offer love, friendship and support to women who are pregnant or think they may be pregnant.” They also state that they are “not involved within any political activities,” however these claims leave out the fact that their charter says “we can’t assist with an abortion in any way,” according to an article in the Union-Bulletin.

How can a pregnancy center say that they are here to support anyone who thinks they might be pregnant, while also directly not stating all of their options. By leaving out abortion these organizations are directly contributing to medical misinformation and are subliminally pushing their own political views onto the patient. This form of false and politized messaging makes many people feel as though their decision is wrong, or that abortion is not even an option from the start.

These centers are also able to hide behind the other services that they offer, which to the naked eye paint a very different picture. Many of the centers offer help with childcare, clothes and prenatal care. All of this can be extremely helpful for anyone who does not have access to adequate resources. However, these services need to be advertised as exactly that. Crisis pregnancy centers should advertise to people who have already used their right to choose; however, many still advocate that they are there for anyone “who thinks they might be pregnant.” 

Through false advertisements, crisis pregnancy centers are able to exploit and specifically seek out low-income people who are already in a vulnerable position and are questioning whether or not they can financially afford a child. They hide their true political agendas through a false mission of loving support. It would be completely different if the centers only offered services to people who have already decided to follow through with their pregnancy, however, the simple fact is, they don’t. That would, ultimately, defeat their true purpose. 

The true purpose of crisis pregnancy centers is to force people out of their right to an abortion. These centers fail to give adequate health care information and directly mislead their patients in order to fill their purpose. Every person who is pregnant or thinks they may be pregnant has the right to all their options to make their own decision unaffected by bias and political or religious beliefs other than their own. Crisis pregnancy centers do not allow individuals the freedom of choice.