Anti-abortion pregnancy centers see growth opportunity in wake of Supreme Court ruling

Anti-abortion pregnancy centers see growth opportunity in wake of Supreme Court ruling

Washington – Supreme Court verdict last month Abolishing the constitutional right to abortion That has opened a path for organizations that aim to discourage women from getting abortions to expand their operations, particularly in states that have banned the procedure or limited access, prompting some abortion clinics to close.

Known as crisis pregnancy centers, there are more than 2,500 of these facilities in the United States, and they outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities, according to an analysis by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony is pro-life America.

The centers, many faith-based, offer pregnancy tests, counseling and resources such as clothes, diapers and parenting classes. Some offer limited medical services such as ultrasounds. And since the Supreme Court’s conservative majority struck down Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that legalized abortion nationwide, pregnancy centers — especially in Republican-led states — saw an opportunity to increase their community’s interest and their resources.

“We need to make our presence known more,” Karen Sims, executive director of the Hope Clinic in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, told CBS News. “If it’s our duty and important to encourage people to continue to conceive, then we need to be there and provide what we can to remove as many barriers as possible.”

The Hope Clinic is one of 30 anti-abortion centers in Mississippi and one of the few that offers limited medical services. Located in the same city as the University of Southern Mississippi, Sims said the facility sees 25 to 35 new clients each month, with an average age between 18 and 24 years old.

Sims said that since the Supreme Court’s row-back, the center has seen an increase in calls from neighboring states and more interest from first-time donors who want to either meet material needs — diapers, formula, wipes — or give money.

“We want to increase the practical resources we provide him and educate him more, but also be there to help him see the roadblocks and remove those roadblocks and be part of the work,” he said.

At the Center for Pregnancy Choices in Meridian, Mississippi, new staff members were hired in anticipation of the court’s ruling, and the center is transitioning to begin offering limited medical services, according to executive director Sarah Smith.

The facility made more calls to its crisis line — including for abortions from pregnant women in Louisiana, Texas and Tennessee — and saw an increase in pregnant or postpartum clients.

“We don’t want women to think that abortion is the only solution to an unplanned pregnancy,” Smith told CBS News. “It’s a real message that’s being shared, ‘How to make abortion easier for people.’ It’s not their only option.”

Like most centers, the Center for Pregnancy Choices does not refer patients to abortion providers. Experts note that the increase in calls may be the result of Internet searches that bring pregnant women to the websites of crisis pregnancy centers instead of abortion clinics. A June report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a group that aims to prevent misinformation online, found that 1 in 10 Google search results for abortion services — “abortion clinic near me” and “abortion pill” — were in 13 states. “Trigger Law” leads to websites of pregnancy centers.

“They are a public health concern in that the services they provide are not in line with medical practice standards, national recommendations, and their ethical practices are not in line with ethical standards,” said Andrea Swartzendruber, an epidemiology and biostatistics professor at the University of Georgia who runs crisis pregnancy centers. Mapped. “They’re almost completely unregulated. They’re not medical facilities. They don’t have patients.”

Swartzendruber said there are concerns about centers spreading false or misleading information about health issues to promote their goals, but he expects these anti-abortion benefits to prevail after Roe is reversed, especially in states where abortion is banned or access is severely limited.

In addition to receiving funding from private donors, some Republican-led state lawmakers have directed funding to the centers. In May, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, signed a law that provides tax credits to businesses that donate to pregnancy resource centers or crisis pregnancy centers. According to a December report by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Texas has awarded more than $46 million to four providers that work with 177 locations in the state for alternative abortion programs for the 2021 fiscal year.

With public dollars flowing to some state centers, Swartzendruber said the question for them in the new landscape for abortion policy is, “If you’re about maternal and child health, how do you use your influence, your resources, your networks” on parental leave policy. Help women by advocating for and making childcare more affordable and accessible?

“If they’re saying they want to improve maternal and child health outcomes, will they extend beyond that to advocating for policies and evidence-based programs that we know can improve health outcomes?” Swartzendruber asked.

While some states are implementing mechanisms to increase funding to pregnancy centers, others are imposing regulations on facilities. In Connecticut, which has 20 pregnancy care or resource centers, a law enacted in 2021 prohibits them from using deceptive advertising. In neighboring Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healy issued a consumer warning after Roe’s rollback about the “limited and potentially confusing nature” of services provided by crisis pregnancy centers.

This is stated in an executive order by President Biden Wants to protect abortion access Also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services, along with the Attorney General and Federal Trade Commission chair, “to consider options for addressing fraudulent or deceptive practices related to reproductive health care services, including online, and to protect access to accurate information.”

But this decision of the Supreme Court started within the protest The draft opinion has been leaked And revealed in early May, pregnancy centers have also been targeted by abortion-rights advocates. Florida, one The anti-abortion pregnancy center was perverse In late May, the words “If Abortion Isn’t Safe, Neither Are You” were painted on its exterior. in the center Texas And Wisconsin Vandalism has also been done.

Brittany Sherman, executive director of Choice Clinic in Laurel, told CBS News her Mississippi center has experienced a flood of bogus calls and online contact-form submissions, which she believes are intended to crash the site.

Mississippi is one of 13 states with trigger laws, where abortion was banned as a result of the High Court’s ruling overturning Roe. Following the certification of the law by Attorney General Lynn Fitch, the state’s only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which had been at the center of a legal battle protecting abortion rights, His door is closed.

But Fitch said that now that abortion policymaking has returned to states, lawmakers must strengthen the social safety net for women during pregnancy and after childbirth.

“It is time for an open and honest discussion about issues such as: affordability and accessibility of child care, child support enforcement requiring fathers to be equally responsible for their children, workplace policies such as maternity and paternity leave, smoothing adoption, and improving foster care, ” he said in a statement earlier this month. “It’s time not just to talk about these issues, but to act on them.”

To strengthen the network of services available to women with unplanned pregnancies in anticipation of the rollback of abortion rights, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America launched an initiative aimed at connecting them with “life-affirming” providers who can offer medical, financial or material assistance.

Called the HER Pregnancy and Life Assistance Network, or HER Plan, the initiative aims to “build a strong safety net so that when additional pregnant and parenting women need help, we will be able to meet increased demand where abortion is limited.”, of her plan. Program Manager Chaney Mullins Gully told CBS News.

The project currently has supplier directories for four states – West Virginia, Virginia, Georgia and Mississippi – and plans to expand to 30 states by the end of 2023.

“The pro-life movement doesn’t end now because abortion is illegal,” Gulley said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.