Women’s Health Caucus: Report shows crisis pregnancy centers misleading patients using taxpayer dollars
HARRISBURG, Oct. 26 – Chairs of the Women’s Health Caucus today condemned the actions of taxpayer-funded crisis pregnancy centers following the release of a report detailing some of their deceptive anti-abortion practices in nine states, including Pennsylvania.
The report, titled “Designed to Deceive: A Study of the Crisis Pregnancy Industry in Nine States,” was published today by the Women’s Law Project in collaboration with The Alliance and the California Women’s Law Center. The study highlights the deceptive practices used by CPCs to steer pregnant patients away from abortion. The report found almost two-thirds (63%) of CPCs promoted medical falsehoods and 95% offered no prenatal care.
Women’s Health Caucus co-chairs Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., Sen. Amanda Cappelletti, D-Delaware/Montgomery, and Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, said CPCs serve no real medical purpose and taxpayer funds should only be used for evidence-based services.
“Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Pennsylvania have long diverted money from a program that actually helps needy families in Pennsylvania,” Daley said. “CPCs often target low-income women and women of color by providing them with biased and false medical claims. Instead, we should be promoting science-based and safe family medicine practices across the Commonwealth.”
In Pennsylvania, CPC’s outnumber abortion care clinics nine to one. The Real Alternatives CPC network operating in Pennsylvania receives both state funding and federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds, with parameters set under Fiscal Code language.
“Whether or not to have a child is a life-changing decision. That's why people deserve access to all their healthcare options and should be allowed to make a decision that is best for them without being coerced by unethical groups pushing a political agenda,” Schwank said. “The deliberate misrepresentation of CPCs, intentionally cloaking themselves in false advertising to mislead pregnant women, is the most abhorrent form of manipulation. Our constituents deserve better and TANF recipients deserve improved benefits to meet the needs of PA's children."
Schwank also said dollars intended to go toward helping Pennsylvanians in need should not be funding a facility pushing a political agenda disguised as medical advice.
"CPCs, which are non-medical centers and disseminate false information to stop people from receiving abortion care, have no place in Pennsylvania's budget,” Cappelletti said. “The Alliance's newest report found that state-funded CPCs, like Real Alternatives here in Pennsylvania, are more harmful than privately funded centers. Pennsylvania must cut Real Alternatives once and for all. Pennsylvania must stop diverting money that is meant to support the most vulnerable families to fund this manipulative anti-abortion organization under the guise of ‘family planning.’"
“At a time like this – nearly two years of facing the health and economic impacts of a global pandemic – it is more crucial than ever to ensure that our state’s resources are being used in places they matter most and not being wasted on programs that do not provide real services,” Cephas said. “Experts have spoken up; the research shows it: Pennsylvanians deserve to have access to care and services they need.”
The lawmakers said they are currently looking into options to provide oversight for these facilities and ensure taxpayer dollars are only used for evidence-based services.