Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, which overruled Roe v. Wade, crisis pregnancy centers have been cast in a negative light by corporate media framing the centers as “fake abortion clinics.”
“Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the state’s only abortion provider, but Mississippi has two “fake” abortion clinics — one in McComb and one in Bay St. Louis,” Moore wrote in the SunHerald. “According to Planned Parenthood, fake clinics (often called crisis pregnancy centers) look like health centers but have a hidden agenda. The anti-abortion centers advertise free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and counseling, but do not include abortion as an option.”
The same day, an article on “fake clinics” by Izaak Anderson ran in Idaho News 6. “According to the National Library of Medicine, “fake abortion clinics” or “fake clinics” are businesses that advertise similar services to abortion clinics, but instead talk those who are pregnant through options to discourage them from having an abortion,” Andersen wrote. “Also known as crisis pregnancy centers, these businesses advertise similar to an abortion clinic. Instead, they don’t provide abortions or offer a full range of health care for pregnant people or planning to get an abortion.”
The Lewiston Tribune in Idaho also published a similar article the day Dobbs came out. In it, Shaun Goodwin wrote, “A ‘fake clinic,’ also known as a crisis pregnancy center, is a clinic that advertises services similar to an abortion clinic, but with a different agenda. Instead of performing abortion services, the staff talks women through their options but ultimately attempts to discourage them from having an abortion.”
All four articles list signs from Planned Parenthood’s website that a clinic may be “fake.”
On Monday, NBC ran a segment in which former Texas Republican state Rep. Sarah Davis called the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program “a program to make Republicans feel good like they’re doing something to help women” and said it didn’t help women. Davis and Texas Democratic state Rep. Donna Howard agreed that “in some instances they are actually committing fraud.”
This is a ridiculous line of argument, considering that the vast majority of health-care establishments also do not perform abortions. Hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other completely legitimate and fully licensed health-care entities provide a great variety of care without also performing abortions. It’s not nefarious.
According to Scott Whitlock, research director for Newsbusters.org at The Media Research Center, negative coverage of crisis pregnancy centers following Dobbs is strategic.
“The main way that the networks respond to crisis pregnancy center is to ignore them,” Whitlock said in an email to The Federalist. “The only reason we’re seeing coverage now is because of Dobbs. Journalists have to discredit crisis pregnancy centers so they can push this myth that conservatives want to abandon mothers in need now that Roe is overturned.”