The Rise of the Pro-Life Grifters
There's never been a better time for liars, thieves, and scammers for Christ
Beware of pick-pockets. Image via WikiCommons.
The first thing you need to know about so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” is that they are largely fraudulent, often dangerous, universally misogynist enterprises.
The second thing you need to know about Crisis Pregnancy Centers is that you might be paying for their grift.
This piece in the Washington Post about the construction of a shiny new Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) in Texas is a must-read. It details the ways in which these centers intentionally lie to and mislead women, masquerading as abortion clinics and then feeding women a stream of lies and anti-abortion propaganda. Many of these centers are trying to “medicalize,” which means that they play-act as health care facilities without offering any real healthcare — they’ll conduct ultrasounds, for example, but don’t have doctors on staff who know how to fully interpret them; they promise women care, but don’t offer the kinds of prenatal medical services that a woman would get at any doctors’ office, or a Planned Parenthood clinic. These centers are almost universally overtly religious: Their mission isn’t just to prevent abortions, it’s to line up new converts for Christ and to tell women that their God-given role is to be a mother. And these centers receive hundreds of millions of dollars in state money.
From the Post:
In Texas, that means tapping into what has become a reliable stream of public money. The legislature approved $100 million for crisis pregnancy centers in 2021, to be doled out over two years, while simultaneously banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. [Executive director Jana] Pinson says the new building will be financed largely by state money — funding that is distributed with little government oversight. Records show the center received $776,000 last year.
Pinson’s center has a page on its website that says “I WANT AN ABORTION” and invites women to click and schedule an appointment — which they may believe is, in fact, for an abortion. Instead, it’s for anti-abortion counseling, during which counselors (who are not medical professionals) tell women all kinds of lies: That abortion causes cancer (it doesn’t); that abortion is dangerous (it is many times safer than childbirth).
The truth is that if CPCs simply wanted to help women in crisis pregnancies, they could do that, and they would have their work cut out for them. Conservative anti-abortion states are also the least supportive for women and children. Where abortion is banned or likely to be banned, close to one in five children live in poverty; in Texas, more than a quarter of women of childbearing age are uninsured. States that ban or are gearing up to ban abortion boast the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the country: The ten states with the country’s highest rates of babies and new mothers dying are all — all — states that already ban abortion or are considering banning abortion. Nine of the ten states with the highest rates of child poverty are states that ban abortion or are considering banning abortion.
Among states that do not ban abortion and are unlikely to do so, not a single one ranks in the top ten for maternal or infant mortality; just one ranks in the top ten for child poverty.