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Results tagged “cpc” from Blog for Choice

Yesterday, we hosted our first ever pro-choice #AskNARAL Google Hangout featuring Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Vice President for Policy Donna Crane, and Political Director Erika West. The hangout was moderated by our Director of Public Affairs and recent honoree of Planned Parenthood's Defenders of Choice, Samantha Gordon.

In case you missed the opportunity to tune in, watch our hangout below:

Our friends and activists submitted so many fantastic questions to #AskNARAL about choice-related issues and our strategy to go on offense - we didn't have time to answer them all!

Here are few questions we didn't have a chance to address in our live hangout:

We're working to expose anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) for lying to and shaming women who are seeking accurate information about their full range of reproductive-health options. We recently held an online week of action in partnership with the Feminist Majority Foundation to call out CPCs and we worked with our affiliate NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota to hold a CPC accountable for distributing misinformation and lashing out at a pro-choice student organizer who criticized it in Minnesota. Several of our state affiliates have produced top-notch reports analyzing CPCs. Be sure to check out our Exposing Fake Clinics Tumblr and website for more information on CPCs.

We all share the goal of preventing unintended pregnancies and reducing the need for abortion. Studies show time and again that when women have access to contraception, the rates of unintended pregnancies, and therefore demand for abortion care, decreases.

As a movement, we all need to do a better job of empowering pro-choice individuals from all ethnic and economic backgrounds. One way we're working to increase diversity in the pro-choice movement is by helping to elect pro-choice men and women of color who can bring their unique experiences and knowledge of diverse communities into the political sphere. We will continue to highlight a diverse set of voices so that, together, we can enact pro-choice policies that help protect and expand reproductive rights in all communities.

Visit our state affiliates' pages to learn more about work in the states and how you can get involved in protecting choice in your community.

All people should have the right to decide when, whether and with whom to have children, so our issues relate very closely. We support marriage equality and we will fight with our LGBT allies to ensure politicians stay out of our private lives and decisions.

Check out a great article published last month that breaks down the cost of defending anti-choice measures for five states.

We're working on expanding reproductive access both at the state and federal levels. We've celebrated a pro-choice win in California, where the governor signed legislation that increases the number of medical professionals who can provide early abortion care. And states like New York and Washington are making women's health and equality part of their agenda this year by introducing measures to protect and expand women's access.

As an organization, we don't litigate, but we do work closely with groups that do, including our coalition partners, and we support many national and local initiatives to stop anti-choice attacks in the states and protect women's reproductive freedom across the country.

We can't thank you enough for making our #AskNARAL hangout a great success and for submitting so many important questions about choice.

Stephanie Budrus is the Development and Organizing Fellow at NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri

CallOutCPCs condoms birth control.png"I was told that women's bodies were for having babies and that birth control was turning girls into guinea pigs for science." - Leah, CPC investigator

"I got a pamphlet telling me to be 'respectful but firm' in refusing my boyfriend sex - after all, he's just 'wired to want it.'" - Paige, CPC investigator

"I was locked in a room with a woman and a Bible and hit with the question: 'Honey do you know how to get to Heaven?'" - Stephanie, CPC investigator

These statements are something I would never hope to hear about anywhere outside of a bizarre episode of Leave it to Beaver or the Twilight Zone. But they were made in modern-day St. Louis, Missouri inside anti-choice facilities that are funded, in part, with taxpayer dollars.

Unfortunately, these sexist, medically inaccurate, and ideologically charged "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) are not anomalies and they're not confined to historically conservative regions such as the Midwest - they're everywhere. Masquerading as medical offices that provide the full range of reproductive-health services, CPCs lurk behind compassionate billboards and friendly faces ready to subject women to scare tactics, deception, and humiliation.

Last week, we fought back.

NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri's contributions to the CPC Week of Action have been exciting, innovative, and predominantly Missourian. Coming from the "Show Me" state - we showed CPCs a few things last week.

We showed CPCs that we've see the lies on their websites, that we've read the lies in their literature, and that we have heard the lies they tell women in person. We showed them that we're on to them, and that we aren't afraid to expose them.

Our Campus Reps have shown college students across the state the harmful impacts of CPCs through informational campaigns, tabling, chalking, and making noise on campuses. We've shown them 12th & Delaware, a documentary that shows how far anti-choice activists will go to push their agenda. Our student activists are taking a stand against policies that allow social-work students to fulfill their practicum hours at CPCs by showing university administrators the harm caused by these facilities. We're also working hard on college campuses to show school administrations that allowing CPCs to advertise in the student newspaper is not as "apolitical" or equitable across viewpoints as they believe it to be.

Amid all of the work we're doing to show the true colors of CPCs, we've set aside some time to show real health facilities how thankful we are for the work that they do. Our campus reps and student activists have revamped our clinic-escort program and are leading trainings at the end of the month to recruit new members to stand with us and to stand with women - by literally standing between them and anti-choice protestors.

We're very excited to have participated in all of the events last week - and we can't wait to show you what we've got up our sleeve in the coming months!

Learn more about NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri.

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With the new movie "October Baby" generating buzz, people are paying more and more attention to anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs).

CPCs are anti-choice operations that pose as comprehensive women's health clinics. However, many CPCs deceive and lie to women to scare them away from choosing safe, legal abortion care.

Ten percent of the profits from "October Baby" go to fund organizations that match the description of anti-choice CPCs. And the movie's website lists Care Net and Heartbeat International, two umbrella organizations that support CPCs, as partners.

RH RealityCheck obtained audio from Heartbeat International's annual conference. You can hear anti-choice activist Abby Johnson, who endorsed "October Baby" and even recorded a message for its YouTube page, explain how to lure women seeking abortion care into a CPC instead:

The best client you ever get is one that thinks they're walking into an abortion clinic. Okay? Those are the best clients that could ever walk in your door or call your center. The ones that think you provide abortions.

If filmmakers want to make a movie with an ideological message, that is entirely their right. But American moviegoers also have the right to know whether their ticket dollars are going to fund organizations that deliberately mislead women.

Already, thousands of our supporters have joined us in calling for a meeting with Sony CEO Doug Morris to educate his company about the dangers CPCs pose to women's health. (A subsidiary of Sony is distributing "October Baby.")

Sign our letter today!

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Connecting the Dots on "October Baby" and CPCs

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Last week, I told you about "October Baby," a new movie that's generating a lot of buzz.

The filmmakers claim "October Baby" is just a coming-of-age story with no political agenda.

That's an interesting claim, given the filmmakers' ties to extreme right-wing groups like the American Family Association and Focus on the Family. The filmmakers even did screenings of "October Baby" to help support the Mississippi's failed "personhood" initiative.

What's more, 10 percent of the profits from "October Baby" go to fund organizations that match the description of anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs)--facilities that regularly deceive and lie to women seeking abortion care.

Whether someone wants to make a film with a political bias is not the issue. The point is that American moviegoers have the right to know whether their ticket dollars are going to fund organizations that mislead women.

That's why we're calling for a meeting with Doug Morris, the CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. (Provident Films, the distributor of "October Baby," is a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment.)

We want to educate Mr. Morris' company about the danger CPCs pose to women's health.

CPCs rely on secrecy and deception in their efforts to trick women. They're counting on people not knowing how they really operate.

That's why it's so important that we get the word out.

Sign our letter to Doug Morris today! The American people deserve to know if their money's going to CPCs.

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Who is behind "October Baby"?

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Could a movie with an anti-choice agenda be coming to a theater near you?

Today's New York Times had a story on the new movie "October Baby," which made $2.8 million in its opening week.

"October Baby" bills itself as a coming-of-age story with no political agenda. But a closer look at the filmmakers and the groups behind this movie reveals a troubling connection with the extreme anti-choice movement.

Who's behind "October Baby"?

You'll notice that the movie's website lists several supporting anti-choice organizations.

Focus on the Family and the American Family Association are among the groups that support extreme "personhood" measures.

Last November, the American Family Association campaigned aggressively for a "personhood" initiative in Mississippi that would have banned abortion care without exception, and could also have outlawed most common forms of birth control.

The filmmakers, Andrew and Jon Erwin, even did screenings of "October Baby" to help support the "personhood" initiative.

Thankfully, Mississippi voters overwhelmingly rejected this far-reaching measure.

But the people behind Mississippi "personhood" aren't giving up. They're pushing similar measures in other states.

Who's getting money from "October Baby"?

The movie's website lists Care Net and Heartbeat International as partners. They're umbrella organizations that support anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs).

Ten percent of the profits from "October Baby" go to fund organizations that match the description of Care Net CPCs. That's more than $280,000 funneled in the last week alone toward misleading women!

So, here's why moviegoers should have concerns about how this financial arrangement affects women.

CPCs are anti-choice operations that pose as comprehensive women's health clinics. However, many CPCs deceive and lie to women to scare them away from choosing safe, legal abortion care. In other words, they aren't what they appear to be.

Investigations by NARAL Pro-Choice America state affiliates and HBO's documentary "12th & Delaware" have shown that CPCs regularly provide false or misleading information.

A CPC in Florida even suggested to one woman that her abusive boyfriend would stop abusing her if she carried her pregnancy to term.

There are more than 4,000 CPCs operating throughout the country; they outnumber health centers that provide abortion care by a 4:1 margin.

Sometimes, a movie's just a movie--but that's not the case with "October Baby."

Please feel free to share this information and check your local movie listings.

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Florida Lawmaker Proposes Making January CPC Month

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MikeFasano.jpg

The start of the new year means that state legislatures are back in session--and that means we can expect all sorts of mischief from anti-choice lawmakers.

Case in point: Florida state Sen. Mike Fasano recently filed a bill to designate this January as a month to honor anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) in the Sunshine State.

What are CPCs?

CPCs are anti-choice operations that look like comprehensive women's health clinics. However, many CPCs deceive and lie to women to scare them away from choosing safe, legal abortion care. In other words, they aren't what they appear to be.

One Florida CPC was the subject of HBO's documentary film 12th & Delaware. The documentary exposes deceptive tactics a CPC in Fort Pierce, Florida uses to trick women into coming through its doors.

Believe it or not, Florida actually uses taxpayer money to fund operations that deceive women.

According to The Florida Independent, CPCs received $2 million from the state of Florida last year--while at the same time, comprehensive family-planning clinics saw their funding cut.

We know that politicians are looking for ways to cut government waste. Stopping funding anti-choice operations that mislead and lie to women might be a good place to start!

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South Dakota Discovers Anti-Choice Laws Don't Come Free

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South Dakota's anti-choice governor, Dennis Daugaard, just released his 2012 budget proposal. It shows he's willing to use taxpayers' dollars to advance his anti-choice agenda.

In particular, Gov. Daugaard has budgeted $750,000 in legal fees to defend in court an outrageous, anti-choice measure that he signed into law earlier this year.

This is the law that forces a woman to wait 72 hours before receiving abortion care, and mandates that she receive an in-person lecture from an anti-choice "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC). CPCs are notorious for intentionally misleading women seeking information about reproductive-health care.

A federal court blocked the law from going into effect this summer, but Gov. Daugaard and his anti-choice buddies are appealing the ruling--at an estimated cost of $750,000 in taxpayer money.

Here's an idea: maybe, instead of spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending a law that forces women to hear misinformation from a CPC, they could, um, not do that.

Maybe they could spend that money on education, or roads, or job training, or health care, or better school lunches.

Do you have an idea for how better to spend $750,000 than on attacking women's health? Share it here in the comments section.

Gov. Daugaard's budget proposal makes one thing clear: as much as these politicians may hate government spending, they hate women's freedom and privacy more.

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Connecting the Dots on Siri and CPCs

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iphone-siri.jpg The Internets are all aflutter with talk about Siri, the personal-assistant application on Apple's iPhone 4S.

Last week, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, communicated with Apple CEO Tim Cook about her concerns that Siri was referring women seeking abortion care to anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs).

The Daily Beast took an in-depth look into how Siri--unbeknownst to "her"--assists CPCs in their campaign to mislead and manipulate women:

Online listings for reproductive health services often lead women astray. The Yellow Pages website sometimes directs those seeking abortion services to crisis pregnancy centers, which don't provide abortion services at all but rather are places where women are often subjected to and manipulated by pro-life propaganda. You can be similarly misdirected on SuperPages.com, another online directory.

Why does this happen? What the Siri issue has brought to the surface, says Ted Miller of NARAL Pro-Choice America, are the dubious advertising tactics of crisis pregnancy centers, which claim to provide abortion services and purposely list themselves under that category instead of "abortion alternatives." That has helped the pro-life message seep into presumably apolitical resources like Google, and could likely be the reason Siri inadvertently seems pro-life, too.

ABC News also delved deeper into the Siri controversy--and connected the dots about how "her" glitch plays into CPCs' willful deception of women.

And Nancy has a new piece up on The Huffington Post emphasizing how important it is that Apple correct Siri's problem:

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation will make sure that Apple follows through--and that Siri learns to recognize the difference between a comprehensive, women's health center and an anti-choice CPC.

No one--human or computer, iPhone or Droid--should mislead a woman about her most personal, private medical decisions.

Siri is an amazing tool, but we need to make sure "she's" not the unwitting tool of people who want to trick women into going to CPCs.

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Apple's CEO Responds to a Siri-us Matter

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More on Siri, the personal-assistant application on Apple's iPhone 4S:

Yesterday, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook expressing her concerns that Siri was not giving women accurate answers when they asked about finding birth control or obtaining abortion care.

Well, late last night, Mr. Cook responded:

Nancy,

Thanks for your note.

Our customers use Siri to find out all types of information and while it can find a lot, it doesn't always find what you want. These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone, it simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better and we will in the coming weeks.

I appreciate you pointing this out.

Best Regards,
Tim

And here's what Nancy wrote back to Mr. Cook:

Tim,

Thanks so much for your prompt response.

I am glad to see you're committed to working out the kinks Siri is experiencing. I would like to share a TV report from last night in which the reporter illustrates the key concerns we have with the app's advice in its current state.

As I wrote in the letter, while Siri is not the principal resource for women's health care, it is important that the women who are using this application not be misled about their reproductive-health options. Our door is open to work with your team to ensure this happens as Siri exits the beta phase.

Best,
Nancy

Here's that TV report from WUSA Channel 9 that Nancy mentioned:

What's particularly troubling is that, on numerous occasions, when people asked Siri where to find an abortion provider, "she" directed them to an anti-choice "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC).

CPCs do not provide abortion care. In fact, these operations exist to scare women away from choosing safe, legal abortion.

Often, CPCs use deceptive tactics to trick women seeking abortion care into coming through their doors.

It looks like these tactics deceived Siri, too.

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At NARAL Pro-Choice America, we believe that women deserve complete and accurate information about abortion care and birth control. And when someone--or something--misleads women or withholds information about their options, we take notice.

That's why we became concerned when we learned that, according to news reports, Siri, the robotic personal assistant on Apple's iPhone 4S, was not giving women accurate answers when they asked about finding birth control or obtaining abortion care.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, just sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook expressing these concerns:

Siri is a great tool that mixes humor and sarcasm in responding to questions--and it is another example of how your company is on the cutting edge of demonstrating how technology can transform the way we share and access information. Thus, it is disappointing to read that a tool like Siri is missing the mark when it comes to providing information about such personal health issues as abortion care and contraception.

We would be happy to meet with members of your team who oversee the Siri application to go over our concerns in person. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Let's start from the top--and give credit to those who broke the story.

When Megan Carpentier of RawStory asked Siri where she could find an abortion provider, she was directed to an anti-choice "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC):

Ask the Siri, the new iPhone 4 assistant, where to get an abortion, and, if you happen to be in Washington, D.C., she won't direct you to the Planned Parenthood on 16th St, NW. Instead, she'll suggest you pay a visit to the 1st Choice Women's Health Center, an anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) in Landsdowne, Virginia, or Human Life Services, a CPC in York, Pennsylvania. Ask Google the same question, and you'll get ads for no less than 7 metro-area abortion clinics, 2 CPCs and a nationwide abortion referral service.

Ask in New York City, and Siri will tell you "I didn't find any abortion clinics."

It's an experience that's being replicated by women around the country: despite plentiful online information about actual places to get an abortion, Siri doesn't seem to provide it. It's a similar experience for women seeking emergency contraception: in New York City, Siri doesn't know what Plan B is and, asked for emergency contraception, offers up a Google results page of definitions.

Curiouser and curiouser.

It's particularly troubling that Siri would direct women to CPCs, as many of these operations deceive and lie to women to scare them away from choosing safe, legal abortion.

We'll be following up with Siri (and "her" programmers) to ensure that women get accurate information about their personal, private medical decisions.

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Exposing the Dangers of CPCs at La Plaza

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Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, has a new guest post over at Latinovations' La Plaza blog.

She writes about the dangers that so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) pose to women--and how these operations target younger Latinas in particular:

Picture this: You're scared that you might be pregnant. You see an ad for a free pregnancy test and counseling. You call the number and make an appointment. During your consultation, you're told that birth control is the same as abortion and that if you have an abortion, you will probably get breast cancer. You're vulnerable, scared, and confused, and now you have been lied to and manipulated.

Is this something out of a reality TV show?

Sadly, no.

You have walked into a so-called "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC). CPCs are anti-choice operations that look like comprehensive women's health centers. Many CPCs choose names that sound like those of comprehensive health clinics.

But don't be fooled: these organizations are generally unregulated and unlicensed.

Check out the rest on La Plaza!

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On Wednesday, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Foundation released the findings from its 12-month investigation into so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) in the Bay State.

The Boston Globe picked up on the report, "Just Because You're Pregnant..." Lies, Half Truths, and Manipulation at Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Massachusetts, which details some disturbing practices among CPCs in the commonwealth.

Sixty-percent of the CPCs visited in the investigation provided incorrect or misleading information.

The report also found that all CPCs refused to give referrals for abortion care even when asked for a resource, and some even failed to discuss options such as adoption or provide connections to pre-natal care.

And these CPCs outnumber health centers that provide abortion care by a three-to-one margin!

Lindsey Tucker, chair of the board of directors of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Foundation, said that these operations posed a threat to women's health:

In Massachusetts, we are proud to lead the country in improving access to health care, yet across the state there are facilities that give inaccurate health information and delay a woman's access to medical services when she thinks she might be pregnant and time is of the essence, whatever decision she makes.

Other NARAL Pro-Choice America affiliates have conducted similar investigations into CPCs in their states--with findings similar to those in Massachusetts.

Fortunately, our state affiliates are holding CPCs accountable city by city. Austin, Baltimore, and New York City have all passed ordinances to ensure that CPCs are honest about the claims they make to women.

Last week, San Francisco enacted a measure prohibiting CPCs from making false or misleading statements in their advertisements about the services they offer.

Because women never should be lied to when they need information to a make a decision about an unintended pregnancy.

Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you lose your right to honest, accurate information.

So be sure you become acquainted with the deceptive practices of CPCs so that you--and none of your friends--is fooled.

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The Nation Reports on the Deceptive Practices of CPCs

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This week, we've seen a lot of reporting on the dangerous and misleading practices of so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs).

CPCs are anti-choice operations that look like comprehensive women's health clinics, but are generally unregulated and unlicensed. Many CPCs deceive and lie to women to scare them away from choosing legal abortion.

Today, The Nation reported on the tactics CPCs use to trick women who are seeking abortion care into coming through their doors:

Many crisis pregnancy centers employ deceptive means to lure women into their doors, and offer misleading or inaccurate information about abortion to women once they're inside. It is this confusion, and the culture of orchestrated deception that accompanies crisis pregnancy centers, that has spurred a number of cities to propose, and sometimes pass, legislation to require crisis pregnancy centers to disclose basic factual information about their services.

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors recently passed a bill prohibiting CPCs from making false or misleading statements in their advertisements about the services they offer. The bill is currently on the mayor's desk awaiting approval.

Ted Miller, communications director at NARAL Pro-Choice America, summed up the reasoning behind the bill:

If anti-choice activists really believe that women deserve full information about their healthcare options, they should have no objections to an ordinance that simply requires they disclose the limitations of their services.

Is honesty to women facing an unintended pregnancy really too much to ask for?

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Speaking Out about How CPCs Mislead College Women

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Last week, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation released the findings from its 12-month investigation of so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) in the Tarheel State.

The report got a ton of coverage from major news media organizations, and Carey Pope, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation, went on "PoliticsNation with Rev. Al Sharpton" to discuss it.

And today, Rachel Witkowski, a student at North Carolina State University, wrote a letter to the editor of the Raleigh News and Observer pointing out how CPCs target college women:

After reading the full report by NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation, I was unsettled to learn that within 25 miles of every public university campus in North Carolina there is at least one CPC. Since many of my friends are also college students, I worry that if they were looking for guidance when facing an unintended pregnancy they would instead be given misinformation by a CPC. I am concerned that women who go into these clinics seeking help might be influenced by the false information presented.

No woman should ever be lied to or misled while seeking help. Overall I am extremely relieved to see that the truth about these centers has come to light thanks to this article, and hope the General Assembly considers legislation to regulate the troubling practices of CPCs.

Thanks, Rachel, for getting the word out.

And we agree with you: North Carolina's General Assembly should put a stop to deceptive and misleading practices.

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On Monday, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation released the findings from its 12-month investigation of so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) in the Tarheel State.

The report has gotten a ton of coverage from major news media organizations.

Last night, Carey Pope, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation, went on MSNBC's "PoliticsNation with Rev. Al Sharpton" to talk about how these fake clinics often mislead women about their health-care options:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thanks, Carey, for getting the word out!

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Picture this: You're scared that you might be pregnant. You see an ad for a free pregnancy test and counseling. You call the number and make an appointment. You're told that birth control is the same as abortion and that if you have an abortion, you will probably get breast cancer. You're vulnerable, scared, and confused.

You have walked into a so-called "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC), and you have been lied to and manipulated.

Yesterday, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation released the findings from its 12-month investigation of CPCs in the Tarheel State.

NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation found that the vast majority of CPCs in North Carolina are not licensed medical facilities--yet only a quarter disclosed this fact to women seeking care. And because they're not licensed, these CPCs are not bound by the same patient privacy and confidentiality rules that govern real medical facilities.

Fortunately, word is getting out about the dangers posed by CPCs. The Raleigh News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, the Greensboro News & Record, the Greenville Daily Reflector, The Daily Tarheel, The Associated Press, The American Independent, ThinkProgress, Jezebel, and Feministing all picked up on NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation's research.

And this scrutiny couldn't come at a more important time: a new state law requiring that a woman seeking abortion care in North Carolina undergo an ultrasound--even if she does not want one, and even if her doctor does not recommend it--goes into effect tomorrow. The kicker is that CPCs will be listed on a state-run website listing places where a woman can access the ultrasound.

Another new law funds anti-choice CPCs through the sale of "Choose Life" license plates.

Kudos to NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation for focusing the spotlight on these threats to women's freedom and privacy.

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Rick Perry's Texas: A Bad Place to Be a Woman

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We all know what Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) thinks of a woman's right to make personal, private medical decisions--not much.

So, when the governor holds up Texas as a model for what America might look like under a Perry presidency, we're right to be alarmed.

NPR has a new story on the state of health care in the Lone Star State, and the numbers are pretty ugly--especially for women's health care:

  • More than a quarter of Texans lack health insurance--that's the highest rate in the nation.
  • For hundreds of thousands of Texan women, family-planning clinics are their only provider of cancer screenings, Pap smears, and other basic health care.
  • These same family-planning clinics are under siege from Gov. Perry and his anti-choice allies in the legislature.
  • This year, an estimated 300,000 women will lose access to family-planning services due to Gov. Perry's budget cuts.
  • More than $8 million that was cut from the family-planning budget will now be re-funneled to anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that mislead and deceive women.  

One anti-choice Texas legislator, Rep. Wayne Christian, said it was their goal to wage a war on birth control:

Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything, that's what family planning is supposed to be about. They're sitting here, referring women out to receive abortions. Those are the clinics, including Planned Parenthood, we were targeting.

Just consider this a special sneak preview of an America under President Perry's control.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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The Rick Perry Primer: His Record on Choice

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Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) is expected to announce his candidacy for president this weekend.

Perry is Texas' longest-serving governor, having succeeded George W. Bush in 2000, and his nascent campaign is getting a ton of attention. But what do we really know about Rick Perry?

Well, my staff and I have been working to answer that question, sifting through voting records and other material as several individuals declared their intention to run for president. This is part of our work to connect the personal with the political. How a candidate voted on choice or what actions he or she took as governor tell us a lot about what he or she would do if elected president.

In this spirit, we recently analyzed the records of Gov. Perry and 11 other announced and potential GOP presidential candidates.

Gov. Perry's choice-related actions as governor of Texas are dominated by anti-choice positions.

So, what kind of effect do these laws have on women's freedom and privacy?

Many of the laws he signed inject political interference into women's private decision-making. Gov. Perry signed into law a measure that would require women to receive a state-mandated lecture that includes medically inaccurate information before they can access abortion care. He then signed additional legislation amending the law to force some women to make two trips to the provider before receiving abortion care.

Just this year, Gov. Perry signed into law a bill requiring that a woman seeking abortion care undergo an ultrasound--even if she does not want one, and even if her doctor does not recommend it.

He's taken strong stances in support of anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs). One law he helped to enact established "choose life" license plates, which allocate funding for CPCs. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has been a leader in documenting how CPCs often mislead, misinform, harass, and intimidate women. A recent investigation found that several CPCs in Texas had racked up numerous safety and privacy violations.

And how's this for supporting anti-choice ideology? Gov. Perry signed a proclamation declaring April 2009 "Abortion Recovery Awareness Month" in Texas. The proclamation claims that abortion "often leads to lasting emotional and mental health problems for the mother..." Perry is not alone in the primary field, as former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty also signed a similar proclamation in his state. This proclamation uses recycled and inflammatory anti-choice rhetoric that's out of step with sound science. Just check out the studies that have examined the wide range of complex experiences and feelings women have regarding abortion.

We have talked a lot about our concerns with Gov. Perry's record, but I assure you that we report the good and the bad. Gov. Perry has taken a couple of pro-choice actions. For example, Gov. Perry signed into law a measure that improves sex education for young people. And in 2003, he enacted a law ensuring that health plans that cover prescription medication also cover birth control. However, Perry effectively reversed this law two years later when he signed into law a measure allowing insurers to offer two health plans to employers--one plan that guarantees coverage of all mandated services, including contraception, and another that does not.

It would be interesting for reporters surrounding him in South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Iowa to ask him his thoughts on the Department of Health and Human Services' recent decision to accept medical experts' recommendation that insurance plans cover contraception without an additional copay.

A handful of pro-choice actions aside, the prospect of President Perry should make us very worried. He has made inflammatory statements indicating how he would govern as an anti-choice president, calling Roe v. Wade "a shameful footnote in our nation's history books" and "a stark reminder that our culture and our country are still in peril."

Let's not forget that the president has tremendous influence over reproductive-health policy in the United States. How much influence? See our publication, The Powers of the President: Reproductive Freedom and Choice.

As the 2012 campaign heats up, NARAL Pro-Choice America will continue to be your source for analysis of Gov. Perry and the other announced and potential Republican candidates.

For now, as the media hoopla surrounds Gov. Perry, we encourage Americans who value freedom and privacy to share this information with friends and family. It's never too early to take a look at the record of someone who wants to live in the White House.

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SisterSong 2011: Love, Legislation, and Leadership

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I'm back in D.C. now after an invigorating few days in Miami Beach. I was there for SisterSong: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective's annual conference. This year's theme was "love, legislation, and leadership," and there was plenty of all three in that group of 1,300 dedicated reproductive-justice activists. 


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In the plenary sessions, the speakers taught us how to use community activism and organization to promote reproductive justice in the policy arena. RenĂ© Redwood, a NARAL Pro-Choice America board member, led a session on "Women's Rights and Abortion Politics--How Grassroots Activists Can Make a Difference." 

She got the session started off with a little exercise--touching our toes to symbolize the grassroots, and lifting our arms to reach for the sky. René talked about how the personal is political. She cited the example of no-cost birth control as a way in which a grassroots push can make a real policy change.

After the sessions, we broke up into smaller groups for intensive workshops. My colleague Kimberly Robson co-led a workshop on "The Deceptive and Destructive Practices of 'Crisis Pregnancy Centers'" with Deann Butler of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina and Angela Sutton of the Black Women's Health Imperative

The so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) are fake clinics often staffed by anti-choice activists who mislead and lie to women about abortion and birth control. The primary reason they exist is to scare women away from choosing legal abortion care. In particular, these CPCs target younger women--especially younger women of color

The SisterSong conference was a wonderful opportunity to learn, teach, share, and reflect, and to strengthen our partnership with activists working for reproductive justice specifically in communities of color. 

As a reproductive-rights advocate--and, especially, as a man working in the field of reproductive rights--I consider myself fortunate to have so many allies in the fight to ensure that all women have the power to choose their own destinies. 

Thank you, SisterSong and everyone who came to Miami Beach! 


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Putting a Stop to Deceptive Advertising

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I'm happy to a report that there's a good bill moving its way through Congress!


CPCs are fake clinics often staffed by anti-choice activists who mislead and lie to women about abortion and birth control. The primary reason they exist is to scare women away from choosing legal abortion care. Investigations by NARAL Pro-Choice America and our state affiliates, along with a congressional study, have revealed that most CPCs are not regulated and often engage in false advertising.

Under the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act, the FTC could penalize organizations that engage in these practices. 

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised the proposed legislation:

We applaud Rep. Maloney's and Sen. Menendez' continued leadership in making sure women are not misled about their health-care options. It's time for Congress to step in and hold these fake "clinics" accountable. Even though we may have differences of opinion on abortion, Americans value honesty in advertising. We should all agree that a woman should not be misled or manipulated when she's facing an unintended pregnancy.

Want to urge your member of Congress to cosponsor this bill? Send your representative an email right now. And be sure to check out our campaign to stop CPCs from misleading women

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