You may have noticed a building labeled “Crisis Pregnancy Center” CPC in downtown Northfield. Perhaps you saw their advertisement for a free pregnancy test in the campus coupon booklet at the start of the semester. The ambiguity of the name causes many students to ask, “What is a Crisis Pregnancy Center?”
The January 2012 report by the NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Foundation revealed some interesting information about CPCs in general. The CPC of Northfield’s slogan claims that it aims “to encourage, inform, and support.” Although this sounds like a valuable community resource, it is not. While the report does not refer specifically to the CPC of Northfield, it does say that some CPCs only encourage women to carry a pregnancy to term. They do not make abortion referrals, and they offer misleading information about the danger of abortion procedures.
The report states that tactics some CPCs use to discourage women from seeking abortions include claiming that having an abortion increases your risk of getting breast cancer or warning that after an abortion, you are more likely to have future miscarriages.
Some CPCs also commonly refer to “spiritual consequences” or “Post Abortion Stress Disorder” resulting from terminating a pregnancy. This information is misleading; although choosing to get an abortion is not an easy decision, many women feel that they made the right choice in undergoing this medical procedure.
The report revealed that CPCs are not medically licensed clinics. Sometimes employees wear lab coats, insinuating that they are trained medical personnel. This builds a false sense of confidence in clients that they are being given well-founded information. According to the report, some CPCs lie to women about how far along they are in their pregnancy so that by the time they seek an abortion, the procedure is more expensive and harder to attain.
CPCs may also provide ultrasounds. The report states that in some cases, these ultrasounds are of another woman’s pregnant womb. False information such as this could be life threatening to a mother if she has a pregnancy complication and has been led to believe that she and her child are in good health.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers target and advertise to women who are in desperate situations. Deliberately lying to women about their body and health care options is ethically wrong. Every woman deserves the right to determine her own future and be accurately informed about her range of options, regardless of what her decision may be.
If you or a friend has an unplanned pregnancy, you can learn the entire range of options for handling the situation – as well as preventative measures for the future – at Planned Parenthood, just 30 minutes north of St. Olaf in Apple Valley.
Clarification: This letter, published on Nov. 15, did not seek to imply any connection between the CPC of Northfield and the NARAL report cited in the letter. The CPC of Northfield is not mentioned in the NARAL report.