The Texas State Legislature in April of this year...
You know what comes next isn’t going to be good, right? No sentence that starts with “The Texas State Legislature” has ever ended well. Not for women, not for people of color, not for queers or kids or the poor or the environment. “The Texas State Legislature” is never followed by "voted to fully-fund education programs," "raised taxes on the wealthy to pay for healthcare," or "gives truly excellent head."
Texas lawmakers voted Thursday to double funding for the state’s Alternatives to Abortion (A2A) program by taking money from environmental initiatives, a move that fed Democrat’s accusations that Republicans are more concerned with health inside the womb than out... [Lawmakers] tentatively approved by a 93-52 vote the addition of $20 million over two years to the program that largely funds controversial crisis pregnancy centers, which counsel women against having abortions. The funding is taken from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) air quality assessment and planning program, which monitors air pollution levels. “This is not a pro-life amendment, this is a pro-birth amendment,” said Representative Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas. “After that, you’re on your own, you’re going to have to breathe dirty air.”
If you don’t know what a pregnancy crisis center is, Caitlin Bancroft’s piece at Huffington Post (“What I Learned Undercover at a Crisis Pregnancy Center") sums it up pretty well:
CPCs use a variety of tactics to lure women into their buildings: they offer free pregnancy testing, are known to list themselves under ‘abortion’ in online directories and search results, and may use misleading names with the hope that women will confuse them for legitimate healthcare providers. Once inside, women are treated to a carefully crafted program of manipulation designed to dissuade them from choosing abortion, birth control, and, if they’re not married, sex.
CPCs are "often disguised as medical facilities," as the Texas Observer reported. “[They] provide scientifically inaccurate information to pregnant women, including claims that having an abortion would increase risk of breast cancer, infertility, and psychological trauma—statements that have been debunked by the Texas Medical Association.”
Texas—which defunded Planned Parenthood in 2011 only to see STIs and unplanned pregnancies skyrocket (along with maternal death rates)—has more CPCs than it does legitimate women’s health clinics. But let's not get smug (or any smugger): we live in one of the bluer of blue states but Washington state has almost as many crisis pregnancy centers as we do legit women's health clinics:
Most people aren’t aware of the existence of CPCs—and that's by design. These fake clinics fly under the radar on purpose, to lure in unsuspecting women. "Counselors" at CPCs tell scared, uninformed, and often poor women—many of them mothers already (most women seeking abortions already have children)—that they shouldn’t bother using condoms (because they're "porous"), that IUDs kill, and that abortion causes breast cancer (bullshit). Women see “Women’s Health Care Provider” on the side of a building or Google “abortion” and the click on the first results (ads for CPCs) and wind up being lied to by people who dress like doctors, but aren’t, and work in places that look like clinics, but aren’t.
CPCs are a scam—a dangerous one—and they should be illegal.
Groups working to protect women’s health and women's access to necessary reproductive healthcare services—including abortion—are staging week of action to protest and expose CPCs. NARAL, Lady Parts Justice League, Shout Your Abortion, and more are leading protests online and IRL across the country this week. This week of action started today, July 17, and goes through July 26. Go to ExposeFakeClinics.com, or search the hashtag #ExposeFakeClinics on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.
There are more than 4,000 CPCs across the United States, according to NARAL, compared to just 780 abortion care providers. And, again, CPCs aren’t just a problem in red states like Texas. They’re a problem in blue states too. Expose them all.