What are Fake Women’s Health Centers?
Fake women’s health centers, sometimes referred to as Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), want to overturn the FACT Act. These are facilities that claim to offer pregnancy-related health care and medical services, but prey on women at a vulnerable moment in their lives by pushing medically inaccurate information, using deceptive advertising, running misleading websites, and engaging in a variety of other dishonest tactics to lure women seeking care and information about their full range of healthcare options into visiting these facilities.
Fake women’s health centers have a well-documented history of intentionally misleading women into believing they are real healthcare facilities, and when women arrive seeking care, these centers give women false, incomplete, or inaccurate medical information, often from untrained individuals. They intentionally and strategically hide any indication of their real agenda and ideology—that’s how even women who do their research end up at these fake women’s health centers by mistake. Instead of pretending to be real healthcare facilities, these centers should be upfront about their position and agenda.
People who provide medical advice and medical procedures should be honest and professional. The staff and volunteers of fake women’s health centers, who are often untrained individuals posing as medical professionals, frequently deceive women and lie about medical facts to convince them not to have an abortion. They falsely claim abortion poses health risks such as infertility, breast cancer, and birth defects in future pregnancies. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, these claims are medically inaccurate and deliberately misleading.
Many of these fake women’s health centers also perform ultrasounds with the sole purpose of manipulating women and convincing them not to have an abortion. Some even pressure women to undergo invasive, vaginal ultrasounds.
While these ultrasounds have no medical or diagnostic purpose, they unfortunately may lead some women to avoid or delay seeking care from actual medical professionals. And because most fake women’s health centers do not provide true prenatal care because they lack the equipment and trained medical professionals to do so, some women have developed serious health complications that could have been identified, and should have been treated, earlier.
These centers, which exist in all 50 states, impact the lives of thousands of vulnerable women each year. In most states, these fake women’s health centers far outnumber licensed clinics that offer women the full range of healthcare options, including abortion. And many of these centers deliberately locate themselves in low-income neighborhoods in order to prey on women in those areas.
The people who shame and deceive women at these fake women’s health centers are often the same people who protest and confront patients outside of family planning clinics. These fake women’s health center workers regularly harass women and their families as they enter and leave the clinic, screaming at them and showing them graphic photos to shame or scare them about abortion.
Why Do Fake Women’s Health Centers want to Overturn the FACT Act?
Fake women’s health centers, which want to continue deceiving women about their services and intentions, want to overturn this straightforward consumer protection law. These fake women’s health centers–of which there are more than 2,700 across the country and in every state–are not singled out by the FACT Act, but they run afoul of the law because of their deceptive tactics and refusal to simply provide women with accurate medical information about pregnancy-related decisions and programs that provide the full range of options related to pregnancy and family planning. Fake women’s health centers object to being held to professional standards, truth in advertising requirements, and common sense rules that should apply to anyone claiming to provide medical advice and/or care. That’s why they oppose the common sense FACT Act.
The plaintiffs in this case lost in four separate lower courts and at the appeals court, so now they have appealed to the Supreme Court.