"The CPC told me that I would become infertile if I had an abortion."

CPCs: We’re protecting women as “an adult tells a child not to to touch a hot stove.”

Over the course of the three days of the conference, I chatted with a few dozen pregnancy center workers. Multiple women told me it was their job to protect women from abortion as “an adult tells a child not to touch a hot stove.”

Over at Cosmo, Meaghan Winter reports back from the Heartbeat International conference, where staff from the thousands of crisis pregnancy centers in the US shared tips for how best to trick and manipulate people out of choosing abortion.

Crisis pregnancy centers’ deceitful tactics are well-known at this point (most recently documented by NARAL Pro-Choice California) but Winter’s piece is still revealing in showing how utterly shameless they are about using whatever means they can — masquerading as abortion clinics with false advertising, telling countless lies about the risks of abortion and contraception — to achieve their goals. It also underscores that their goal isn’t limited to discouraging abortion; opposition to premarital sex, contraception, and abortion encompass a “whole worldview where all beliefs are interlocked.”

I think many, if not most, CPC workers are true believers — they actually think that they’re acting as “servants of Christ” in doing this work. But good intentions don’t change the fact that using deception to interfere with other people’s reproductive choices — choices with incredibly serious, life-altering consequences — is deeply immoral.

Header image credit: Exposing Fake Clinics Tumblr

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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