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MI Groups: "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" Push Anti-Abortion Messages


Wednesday, March 16, 2022   

Michigan reproductive-health advocates are urging residents to be aware of anti-abortion groups known as "crisis pregnancy centers."

They offer pregnancy tests and counseling to encourage patients to carry out a pregnancy, and sometimes other resources such as diapers or baby clothes.

Lara Chelian is the board president of Reclaim, a community group and the only abortion fund in southeastern Michigan. She said these anti-abortion centers use deceptive advertising - often having names and logos similar to nearby reproductive-health clinics.

She said it's important to increase access to the full range of reproductive care, but that these centers are not filling that role.

"They oppose abortion and they won't help someone who wants an abortion with a referral to a place that provides one," said Chelian. "We want someone to be able to find a place that will support them in their full range of options, whether it be parenting or seeking an abortion or choosing adoption."

Michigan has almost five times as many of these centers as there are clinics that provide abortions.

And according to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, from 2015 to 2019 Michigan centers received more than $50 million - while reproductive-rights issues in the state received just $2.5 million, and abortion services, clinics and funds only $135,000.

A 2020 study surveyed 21 pregnant women who had been to these centers in Maryland and Louisiana. Most of the women, who were low-income and not considering abortion, had chosen the center because it offered free pregnancy-related services, goods and support.

But the report notes resources were often limited and contingent on participating in the center's activities. Chelian said pregnant people need accurate and timely information about their full range of options, and she recommends finding clinics that offer that.

"They actually are there to offer the full range of health-care options," said Chelian. "And they also understand that pregnancy-related decisions are time sensitive, and that the patient's needs should always come first."

She points to the National Abortion Federation's website as a resource for patients to find a provider that they know will offer the full range of services.

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