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Fact Check Friday- Are pregnancy centers deceptive?

This weeks claim...

“Pregnancy Centers are clinics that seek to deceive women”

What they say.

PA Attorney General Michelle Henry has offered advice to consumers about pregnancy related services through a recent press release. Her appeal to pregnant women is a thinly veiled set of accusations and a warning to avoid pregnancy centers. “Many facilities known as crisis pregnancy centers or pregnancy resource centers,” she states, “are not staffed by licensed medical professionals and therefore cannot provide medical care." Her website provides a complaint form to report "deceptive activity" which reads, “This Form is provided for the general public and pregnant persons to report misleading and deceptive conduct by Crisis Pregnancy Centers. For example: misrepresenting services offered, misrepresenting the danger of abortion, delaying reproductive health services through duplicative tests, and/or hidden fees.”

The PA Women’s Health Caucus, a group of elected PA officials met several times last year making reckless accusations about local pregnancy centers like ours characterizing our services as “sham care” “crap care,” “predatory” “offering nothing for women,” and saying “…they have no place in health care.”

These maligning comments are followed by advice to pregnant women to seek accurate information to make informed decisions. Perhaps it is our elected officials who need to be informed. 

Let’s take a moment to fact check our AG

Pregnancy centers are trusted.

Pregnancy centers across the state have been delivering services and resources for over 50 years. In that time, not one has been found to violate the Truth in Advertising laws, and none have ever been given a formal warning about false claims in advertising. Instead, these vital centers are part of the health network in Pennsylvania that works to lower maternal and infant mortality, provide support and resources to families, and fill the gaps in practical, ongoing care for young families.

In response to the needs of their communities, many pregnancy centers across the Commonwealth have converted to a medical model and invested countless private dollars to increase pregnancy and parenting services in rural and urban communities. Pregnancy centers are often the first responders for a woman learning she is pregnant. At the Network of Life, our services focus on maternal and fetal health by providing services that foster early pregnancy education and ongoing postnatal support. We intervene to address racial and economic disparities by offering education and mentoring in rural, urban, and underserved neighborhoods. Pregnancy centers are grassroots efforts designed to meet the felt needs of their beautiful and unique communities. Pregnancy medical centers see women in the earliest days of their pregnancy offering pregnancy testing followed by a no-cost limited obstetrical ultrasound--a vital step when making a decision about pregnancy. The goal is to connect women with genuine health care as early as possible. 

But are we a medical clinic? 

Network of Life oversees three clinics in North Side, Oakland and Monroeville (still called Women's Choice Network Clinics). We operate under the direction of three board certified Physicians. Every STD test, STD treatment, and ultrasound is ordered by our team of doctors. RDMS certified technicians provide our sonograms and each one is read by an OB/GYN or Radiologist. Every center is staffed by RNs who provide all of the medical services and consults.

Our clinics offer limited obstetrical ultrasound to anyone facing an unexpected pregnancy. The ultrasound is the standard of care for those considering abortion because it:

  • Provides early diagnosis of pregnancy.

  • Confirms placement inside the uterus, which rules out an ectopic pregnancy.

  • Confirms viability and measures gestation age (exact number of weeks/days of the fetus).

But are we Deceptive? 

"I had no choice...I had to get an abortion." These words are too often heard from those in our post abortion groups. Our client facing website and advertising seek to provide the choice for life. Take a look at our client website and you'll see that on every page there is a statement affirming that we do not provide or refer for abortion. Every time an appointment is scheduled, we confirm what will be, and will not be, provided at the visit.

We value informed consent and believe that each woman deserves information about her pregnancy and her options before a pregnancy decision. Informed consent includes a helpful presentation of all the options, including parenting and adoption. Our Centers maintain the highest standard of confidentiality. and voluntarily comply with HIPAA as the accepted standard of care. The clinic practices comply with state and federal privacy regulations.

Attorney General Michelle Henry’s accusations and characterization of pregnancy help centers are rated: False, False, and False. Local pregnancy center organizations like ours exist to provide safe and confidential health care to those experiencing unexpected pregnancy. Pregnancy centers have a long history across the Commonwealth as trusted confidential partners. It is a fact that many women want to choose life for their unborn children. For those who choose abortion, pregnancy centers offer post-abortion assessment and supportive care. Pregnancy centers offer what all women deserve to have: a chance to choose life and to access safe and free care. 

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