EXECUTIVE SUMMARYSo What Exactly is a
Crisis Pregnancy Center?
Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are anti-choice organizations that often pose as legitimatereproductive healthcare providers. Often, they set up their locations near actual women
s clinics suchas Planned Parenthood. They advertise on billboards, online, and in the phone book an array of services, such as pregnancy testing and counseling about a pregnant woman
What thesefake clinics don
always advertise is their agenda.
They are generally operated by anti-choice organizations. Almost none have doctors or nurses on staff,and some are staffed entirely by anti-choice volunteers, whose training is uncertain. Many employcoercive and shaming tactics to get women to continue a pregnancy, practice abstinence, and swear off birth control. They provide biased counseling and blatantly false health information, perpetuategender stereotypes, and often aggressively push Christian beliefs on the women and teens who gothere. In Missouri, many of the fake clinics receive tax credits, so taxpayers are in some measuresubsidizing both erroneous medical and social facts as well as religious proselytism.
In debate on an anti-abortion bill on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives on March 17,2011, an anti-choice representative offered a story about a 15-year-old who had wandered into a CPCseeking an abortion.
She had not gone to a Planned Parenthood-type facility, but into the LighthouseMinistry in
City. They don
t do abortions there. It was the hand of the Lord at work,
he said.During the 2011 legislative session, a resolution appreciating CPCs resoundingly passed. During the2012 legislative session, six bills were introduced to protect CPC funding streams and tax credits,ranging from renewing the sunset date on the original Alternatives to Abortion Program, whichcontains the tax credits, to completely immunizing CPCs from regulation
including regulation underconsumer protection laws. House Bill 1357, which fortunately did not complete its passage throughboth chambers in order to become a law in 2012, would have prevented any municipality in Missourifrom requiring disclosures about services (or the lack thereof) provided by CPCs. The legislativerationale was the religious liberty of CPCs. Without question, House Bill 1357 was a home-grownpreemptive strike against pro-choice successes in passing ordinances across the country requiringdisclosure of whether a CPC actually offers medical services provided by a licensed professional,provides medically accurate information, or refers for abortion services
in other words, that seek torein in CPCs
We realize that a tax credit is not the same as a direct budgetary outlay, which Missouri also has. Any state is free to set its tax policy in accordance with legislative priorities. CPCs also are nonprofit entities, andhence tax-exempt. (Missou
tax-credit schema is embodied in Mo. Rev. Stat. ch. 135, sec. 135.630 etseq. )Nonetheless, CPCs are demonstrably proselytizing with their oral communications and their written materials. During Missouri
2012 legislative session, state funding for programs assisting blind Missourians was cut fromthe budget, and although ultimately restored, the funding and tax credits for CPCs advanced steadily throughthe General Assembly, without a quiver.