(Courtesy of Flickr)
“A girl walks into a fake pregnancy clinic…” This sounds like the beginning of a joke, and what comes next is so outrageous that it might be laughable if it weren’t dangerous.
When Caitlin, a volunteer for NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, entered a “crisis pregnancy center” (CPC), as these fake clinics are called, posing as a scared woman in need of help, she got just the opposite. The video below highlights the lies:
Caitlin was told in this facility that birth control pills are a form of “enslavement,” that they would give her cancer and that condoms don’t work because they’re “naturally porous.” But Caitlin didn’t get her lies straight up; they also came with a side of shame. The counselor also told her, “I don’t think you should be having sex because you’re not married.” And, worst of all, when this young woman tested the counselor’s response to an assault victim by telling a hypothetical story about being raped while intoxicated, she was told, “OK, well just don’t do it again.”
Taking a page from the junk science that fuels climate change denial and “reparative” anti-gay therapy, CPCs claim to be medical facilities but are nothing more than outposts of an extreme movement whose agenda is to—by any means necessary—frighten women out of having premarital sex and out of exercising their constitutional rights to terminate an unintended pregnancy. Caitlin’s experience was not an anomaly. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia conducted an investigation of fifty-six crisis pregnancy centers in the state, and a full 71 percent of them shared bad information with women seeking their services, posing extreme danger, both physical and emotional, to the women who seek their services.
The obvious question is how these places stay open. In Virginia, part of the answer is Ken Cuccinelli, the current attorney general and Republican candidate for governor. He has said he was “proud” to help establish a “Choose Life” license plate as a state senator, the proceeds of which go directly to CPCs. (Similar plates fund CPCs all over the country, from Mississippi to Massachusetts.)