ACTION LETTER #26: April 12th, 2018

--Fake Abortion Clinics--

Dear Activist Cartel, 
The U.S. Supreme Court is currently deciding a case that could impact the spread of misinformation concerning women's reproductive health. NIFLA v. Becerra addresses Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which is something we all need to know more about.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) pretend to be a health center, even though they're often unlicensed and the staff has no medical training. They provide free ultrasounds while targeting pregnant women who might be seeking an abortion. They cajole women into carrying their pregnancies to term using aggressive tactics, such as:

--Falsely claiming abortion doubles your chances for getting breast cancer and increases sterility. 
--Falsely describing an abortion procedure's risks and effects, even though giving birth is 14 times more dangerous. 
--Showing terrifying presentations or images of dismembered fetuses that don't even relate to the patient's real procedure. 
--Encouraging women to stay in abusive relationships and shaming rape victims into carrying the pregnancy to term. 
--Falsely claiming 35% of women's suicidal behaviors stem from having an abortion. 
--Lying about how far along their pregnancy is and telling them that they're a candidate for a miscarriage, so the pregnant woman will wait, and ultimately time out of the legal period. 
--Dressing their volunteers in scrubs in order to appear like they're medical professionals... and many more frightening tactics.

And on top of it all, they're usually using taxpayer money to do all of this. In a state like Mississippi, there is only 1 abortion provider and 38 CPCs! Whether you support abortion or not, I think we can agree that lying to vulnerable women to make a decision that will change their whole life is not okay. CPCs are harming women's legal rights to reproductive care.


1.) Educate Yourself on CPCs & Spread the Word! 

There are currently 2,752 CPCs nationwide compared to 1,671 abortion providers. We need to start conversations with friends, share on social media, and create public awareness wherever you can. 
John Oliver's piece on CPCs. It's entertaining, alarming, and enlightening. 
--Or read Allure's 
quick & easy article on CPCs. 
--Or engage with ReproAction's action-oriented 
This gives you an overview of the issue, ways to protest, sample tweets, a sample letter-to-the-editor and press release.

2.) Petition Google to Remove CPC ads & locations from Google Maps: 
When a woman Google searches "abortion clinic," CPCs 
dominate Google Maps and search results. 
UltraViolet's petition to Google. 
Credo's petition to Google. 
Due to petitioning in 2014, Google removed ads for some CPCs due to an investigation that reported 79% were falsely indicating they provided medical services. Yahoo also responded by removing ads. Well, 
the sneaky ads have returned to Google Maps! Thankfully, we know that these companies respond to public pressure, so let's sign some petitions again!

3.) Write Yelp & FB Reviews for CPCs: 
#ExposeFakeClinics's Reviewing Toolkit shows you how to write Yelp/FB reviews for fake clinics. Here is a list of CPCs around the country with their Yelp or Facebook page readily available. 
--Don't feel like writing? You can also "like" reviews you see that are accurate.

4.) Review CPCs on Google Maps: 

You can pull up any town on Google Maps and search "abortion clinic," and most likely a CPC will pop up first. 
--Check their website: 
here is an example of one describing frightening symptoms. If you click around, you can see how they act like a medical center and could easily draw a pregnant woman there. However, if you click "Referrals," you'll see they refer out for "medical assistance" and "health care providers." 
--You can rate CPCs like this directly on Google Maps by giving only 1 star. If you also want to write a review, here is an example that I did: 
"They do not provide accurate health information here. They will aggressively try to convince you not to get an abortion, using inaccurate medical information. It's not even a service they provide." 
--This is a very easy way to volunteer in your free time to help women's access to reproductive healthcare--

5.) Educate yourself on the U.S. Supreme Court Case: 
NIFLA v. Becerra will be the first abortion case tried under Trump's administration. The anti-abortion group NIFLA is challenging California's FACT Act, which requires all licensed health care centers to display information about their state-run reproductive services, including abortion. It also requires unlicensed clinics to state clearly in their advertising that they are not licensed by the state and cannot provide medical services. Undoubtedly, more states should be passing similar laws to the FACT Act. 
--If Becerra wins, more states will thankfully be able to pass similar laws as the FACT Act. 
--If NIFLA wins, it could open the door for more troubling times for reproductive rights.

Let's do what we can to help! 

a written challenge to a duel