Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are fake clinics that appear to provide services, resources, and information on reproductive health, but in reality exist to discourage pregnant people from choosing abortion through deception, emotional manipulation, and outright lies. Over the past two weeks, members of the H*yas for Choice advocacy team called crisis pregnancy centers in our community to ask for resources and information on abortion services. These are the full transcripts of the calls.
Northwest Pregnancy Center: Unprotected sex
The Northwest Center: Good afternoon, Northwest Center
H*yas for Choice: Hi, I’m calling to learn about some of your resources. I had unprotected sex last night and wanted to know what some of my options are that you guys could provide.
NW: Yeah, definitely. So, here at our pregnancy center we offer urine based pregnancy tests. So if you’re interested in coming in and receiving a pregnancy test, they’re 99% effective 7-10 days after conception. So if it’s last night that you’re concerned about, you might have to wait a few days but I think that’s pretty standard. In terms of pregnancy tests, we also do provide some other resources in terms of like learning things. So we provide a little bit information about different abortion procedures and things like that. If you’re considering parenting if you are in fact pregnant, then we offer some materials for that. So we have diapers and other resources along those lines as well. Does that answer your question a little bit?
HFC: So well I just have a follow-up question if that’s okay?
NW: Please, please.
HFC: So you mentioned that you guys had some resources about learning about abortion services. So do you guys -- like how far -- if I’m interested in terminating, are you guys a resource for that?
NW: Yeah, so, we do not personally refer or offer abortions here, but we do have some information. So we have like pamphlets and things like that that can tell you a little bit about those procedures.
HFC: Okay, so those pamphlets could lead me to resources if I was interested in going forward with terminating?
NW: Um, more of information. So it’d tell you about the specific procedures at each stage. So for instance, within 6-14 weeks of conception is the procedure called suction curettage, so that’s the most common form of abortion. So we could give you a little information about that but not necessarily where to go to receive one of those.
HFC: Okay, so you guys could just tell me about it, but you couldn’t point me in the way to access that.
NW: Correct, correct.
HFC: Okay, okay. Thank you so much.
NW: Yeah. Good luck. Have a good day.
HFC: You too. Bye bye.
Northwest Pregnancy Center: Pregnant roommate
The Northwest Center: Good afternoon, Northwest Center.
H*yas for Choice: Hi, um I have a quick question. So my roommate is pregnant and she just really like has absolutely no idea what to do. We’re just like in college or whatever and yeah like I don’t like really know. She’s just like freaking out and so I looked at my school’s website and whatever and you guys are listed. So I was just like wondering, it looks like you guys have different services and things, so I don’t know what you would like recommend or if you guys have anything? I don’t really know I just figured I’d call because she just like doesn’t really know what to do and I’m just kind of worried about her.
NW: Alright, well it sounds like it's really good that you as her friend are concerned about her and willing to take those steps. Does she know for certain that she is pregnant?
HFC: Yeah, she took like a couple, I think, of pregnancy tests.
NW: Alright, has she had a blood pregnancy test?
HFC: Um, I don’t think so.
NW: Alright, well sometimes home pregnancy tests aren’t 100% effective, so if she would like, there are some really good places she can go and get a blood pregnancy test as well as other resources. Is she available to speak with?
HFC: She’s not here right now. I didn’t tell her I was calling because like she’s, yeah, I’m just gonna give her time. I don’t think she’s ready to like think of what she wants to do because she just took the pregnancy test like the other day and is kind of, like, doesn’t really wanna talk about it or anything. Um, but like maybe later she would be available to talk. Just probably not right now.
NW: Yeah, definitely, well you can always give her our phone number to speak with and talk about things with. Um, we also offer free urine based pregnancy tests here if she would like to come in and receive one of those. They’re 99% effective-- I’m sorry?
HFC: Okay. And then in terms of like the like if she is pregnant, you know, if she takes a blood test, urine test, whatever, I don’t know, do you guys have any services for that, like, I don’t know?
NW: So, we offer material assistance for women who are currently pregnant and we also have referrals we can give you for free sonograms and things like that.
(Phone call cuts off)
(HFC calls back)
NW: Good afternoon, Northwest Center.
HFC: Hi, I’m sorry. I think I was just disconnected.
NW: Oh no, I’m sorry about that. I feel like that keeps happening today.
HFC: Oh, I was just asking about, so like my roommate is pregnant. So I was wondering if she like decides to get an abortion, do you guys provide that or do you have any services like that?
NW: So we, here, do not provide or refer for abortions but it sounds like she’s in a really tough position right now and we would really love to talk with her about it.
HFC: Yeah, no, absolutely. Okay, so what other services do you *stutters* I don’t know *inaudible* I just don’t know what she needs right now. I’m like trying to figure out what she should do for her. Like what other things do you guys do I guess?
NW: Definitely. So, here, at the Northwest Center, we provide the pregnancy tests as well as just general information. So we can provide her with general information about abortion procedures, as well as side effects and other options as well. So we can refer her for like adoption options and other things like that. We also offer material assistance so we have mothers who come in here monthly who receive diapers from us as well as wipes and clothing and things like that.
HFC: Oh, that’s so nice. Okay, okay so in terms of next steps, it would just be like the blood or urine test, and then like meeting with someone just to like help her decide.
NW: Definitely. Getting her to speak with someone as well.
HFC: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s what I’m most worried about because she just like doesn’t want to talk about it. I mean she will be able to it’s like kind of new.
NW: Yeah, definitely. I think a lot of times this can come as a shock and a big thing for a lot of people, so it’s good that she is taking her time and thinking through all of her options.
HFC: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
NW: And it’s good she has you as a friend as well to be there and support her.
HFC: Yeah thanks. Okay, well, thank you so much. This is very helpful.
NW: Well I’m glad; I’m glad we could help any way. And feel free to give her our number if she wants to speak with anyone.
HFC: Yeah, no, I will for sure, pretty soon.
HFC: Okay, thanks so much. Have a great day.
NW: You too. Bye.
Northwest Pregnancy Center: Abortion Risks
The Northwest Center: (unintelligible) speaking. How may I help you?
H*yas for Choice: Hey is this Northwest Pregnancy Center?
NW: Yes, it is.
HFC: Ok Hi I’m not sure if you guys are the right ones to call, but...so I think I’m pregnant, and I don’t know, you guys just came up...I searched pregnancy resources, but I don’t know...I’m just hoping you guys can help me out.
NW: So we offer urine based pregnancy tests, if you’re interested in doing that.
HFC: Okay, so yeah so I took one of those and it said I was pregnant.
NW: Both of them are positive?
NW: You said both of them were positive?
NW: And what time of the day did you take it?
HFC: What time of the day? So yesterday, probably after class. Sorry I’m don’t know the exact time.
NW: Our tests are 99% effective 7 to 10 days after conception.
HFC: I think it’s been earlier than that. I don’t know...my friend had an abortion and it worked out for her. Could I come to you guys to do that?
NW: So we don’t provide abortions here, but we do provide those urine based pregnancy tests and information. If you want to come in, we have information on different procedures or things like that, or if you want to come in and talk about your different options. That’s what we provide here..but-
HFC: I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do. Like is it safe to get an abortion?
NW: I mean, it depends a lot on different things and everyone is different. So for some, there’s some surgical procedures, there’s the pill, and there are definitely risks that come with it. And there are some people that bleed after the pill. You know, there’s a lot of different--so we’re not medical here so we can’t really say exactly for sure. There’s a lot of risks that come with as do a lot of other things as well. But I mean, do you know about the different procedures?
HFC: No, I don’t know actually a lot about it. But I don’t know, I think that’s what I wanna do? But yeah, no I don’t know about the different procedures. What are they? What could I do?
NW: So if you come in, we can talk a little bit more about this, but do you know about your, the first day of your last period was? To see first, how far along we are.
HFC: I wanna say..so I’d say it’s been about a week since when I’m supposed to.
NW: (unintelligible) the first day of your actual last period. And see how far along you might be.
HFC: It was...so could that like change what I could do?
NW: So yes, certain procedures depend on how far along you are.
HFC: Okay, so like could you guys do anything for me or would it just be better to go somewhere else?
NW: Yes, so we don’t provide abortions here. We just provide like we mentioned, if you just want to come in and talk about different options. We have resources, I mean pamphlets about the different procedures that talk about safety concerns and some of the risks as well. If consider something else, if you consider adoption at all, we also have information on that-
HFC: Oh no, I haven’t really...I don’t think I want to do adoption. That doesn’t seem like something that’s good for me. But yeah, I am worried about some of the risks you said about abortion. I wouldn’t want to do anything that’s super risky.
NW: So yeah with a lot surgeries, they do come with different risks. Sometimes, and again this is not for everybody, sometimes it can be a little bit harder to have pregnancy later on. And if you do have an abortion, but in terms in how you might be affected afterwards and everyone reacts differently, emotionally they act with guilt or regret, you know they have different feelings like that. We have some resources here for women who sometimes come to us with that. And we refer them to a few different programs that can help people heal from having an abortion if they feel that way.
HFC: Okay, sure. Alright What are your hours actually?
NW: Usually we only open from 9:30-5:30. On Tuesdays we are open until 8. Usually we see Spanish speaking clients at nighttime and we try to offer pregnancy tests and (unintelligible) counseling as much as possible. So did you say you were in school? What would be available for you?
H: That’s the thing. Could I just call early next week to try to figure out? I don’t know, I just need to look and figure out. Would that be okay?
NW: Yeah of course.
HFC: Yeah, well thank you.
NW: Let me know if you have any other questions or anything else.
HFC: Alright, thank you so much. Thanks for talking. Have a good day.
NW: (unintelligible) bye.
Northwest Pregnancy Center: Pregnancy Resources
The Northwest Center: Good morning, Northwest Center
H*yas for Choice: Hi, is this the crisis pregnancy center?
NW: Yes, this is the pregnancy center.
HFC: Um, I had unprotected sex a few nights ago, and I’m worried I might be pregnant, because I checked and it said I was ovulating in my calendar. Um, do you offer services for that, like what can I do about it?
NW: So we offer pregnancy tests here, so we have a urine-based pregnancy test. We can also give you information about, um, free sonograms in the area.
HFC: Ok, do you, if I am pregnant, do you, like what can I do about it?
NW: Um, well...
HFC: Like I’m a student, so I can’t, I can’t like take time off of school or anything.
NW: Oh well, the, here at the Northwest Center we do not, um, refer or, um, (inaudible) abortion. I think she hung up.
NW: (whispers and laughter)
NW: (To other staff) Sorry I got, at first she was, yeah, that was like a weird call, she wasn’t like trying to, she wasn’t being really clear, she was like “what services do you have for pregnancy?”
Other NW staff: Oh, for pregnancy? How are you gonna answer that?
NW: Yeah I know so I was just like, so I told her, yeah! Oh wait.
Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center: Pregnant partner
Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, how can I help you?
H*yas for Choice: Hey, my name’s Jack. Uh, my girlfriend thinks she might be pregnant and she wants to get an abortion. I-I’m a Catholic and I don’t want her to go through with it. I don’t know what to do-
HFC: Isn’t it unsafe?
CH: Okay, can you hold for a second?
(HFC calls back)
CH: Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, how can I help you?
HFC: Yeah, I just got disconnected. My name is Jack.
CH: (Chuckles softly) Okay. Hold on a second, Jack, okay?
(Transfers to a new staff person)
CH: Hello, Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center.
HFC: Hey, my name’s Jack. Uh, my girlfriend thinks she might be pregnant and she wants to get an abortion. I’m a Catholic and I don’t want her to go through with it. I don’t know what to do. Isn’t it unsafe?
CH: Hi, Jack. Uh, I’m glad you’re calling. Um, I’d love for-to talk to you guys um about all the-everything it entails. Um, can you tell me a little bit about um your girlfriend and if you know when she’s due.
HFC: Uh I think she’s due in about eight months.
CH: Okay. Okay um-
HFC: I think.
CH: (Sighs) Yeah so there are a lot of different, um, side effects to abortions, both physical and emotional and, um, we are happy to talk through all of the- just provide some education around, um-
CH: -The different options and as well as the side effects and what we’d love to do is um talk to you guys um if you are willing to come in for an appointment but if not I’m happy to kind of answer some of your questions over the phone as well um-”
HFC: Mhm. Yeah I don’t think she’s gonna wanna come in uh-Can you-Or I’d have to convince her. Uh, wh-what can I tell her?
CH: Okay, um, so we offer a lot of different resources and um we are here to-to help you guys make that decision and to let you know that if you do decide to keep the baby, that you’re welcome to come here every thirty days for different material resources that you may need, um, such as baby clothes and diapers. And-”
CH: -It sounds like you-you are committed to keeping this baby if-if she-
CH: -decides to as well.
CH: Is this the um first time that she’s been pregnant?
HFC: Yeah. Yeah. She-she’s thinking about getting an abortion and I don’t know about-I don’t want that.
CH: M’kay. M’okay. Umm well this is definitely um-Are you two in a relationship together?
HFC: Yeah we are.
CH: How long have you been together?
HFC: Uh, about a year.
CH: About a year, okay. It sounds like um you guys have a history and a strong-a strong relationship. You’ve been together for a year.
HFC: Yeah, so-so I just-I wanna-I wanna convince her. I don’t know what to say-what to tell her.
CH: Well um a lot of um-What I would do is encourage-encourage you guys to go see a doctor first because if-
CH: -if it’s her first time being pregnant a lot of women actually miscarry um their first pregnancy so-especially if it’s early on. One thing that you can do is make sure to get a sonogram to-just to check and make sure if the baby is viable, and what that essentially means um is there a risk of miscarrying. Um-
CPC: (Inaudible) Is very common. So um if-if she does not have a doctor we can refer you to some um different uh community health clinics uh in the area that will-that provide sonograms. And-
CPC: I would definitely do that first no matter what you guys do decide, just to check her health and the health of the baby. And um you said she’s about eight months pregnant, so um depending on how many weeks she is, at six weeks the baby already has fingers and toes and um fingernails and toenails. And at ten weeks the baby can actually feel pain um and sometimes I think we don’t even realize how early on those things are formed um. You’re-It’s probably too early to find out the gender but um in terms of the um (unintelligible) if you’re able to go see a doctor you’ll be able to to learn more about how far along she is-
CH: And um you know that the baby is already-already being formed. THe DNA and-is already there. Um so in-in terms about side effects for abortion um there are several physical um side effects that are possible: heavy bleeding um, it could um-there are different ways to perform it and it-(unintelligible) could be longer term consequences-
CH: - potentially not being able to get pregnant in the future. Um what a lot of doctors um in clinics won’t necessarily share is that the emotional side effects are often um lifelong as well that-that the trauma of losing a baby um can also-
CH: -impact her for a long time and it-it’s hard to know what that may look like um but it-it’s a very difficult procedure to go through emotionally as well. Um and I-I would encourage you guys um if you do want to come in we can just help talk through um-
CH: Those-those side effects and also your options. You know if-if-
CH: She really doesn’t want to have the baby. Um choosing adoption is also you know something that we can talk through and we have wonderful groups that we work with who would be happy to meet you through that as well.
HFC: Okay. Okay. I think I’ll bring her over there. Y’all don’t offer abortions, do you?
CH: We don’t perform them um but we can-
CH: -talk you through the-what you’re options are and educate you about um how they’re performed and-and what those side effects may look like.
HFC: OKay. Well I’ll think about it. Okay thank you so much for your time.
CH: Sure. IS there umm, can I get your name? And would it be okay if I follow up with you?
HFC: Uh, yeah. My name’s uh Jack. Uh last name is Smithson.
CH: Okay. How do you spell your last name, Jack?
HFC: Yeah, just Smith and then son.
HFC: And you can-uh-you-you can uh-you can call back this number.
CH: Okay. I actually-I can’t see it on my phone at the moment. Do you mind-?
HFC: Oh, my bad. It’s XXX-
CH: XXXX. Okay. Um and Jack feel free to call back if you have any more questions um-
HFC: Okay, will do. What’s your name?
CH: My name’s (removed).
CH: Yes, and if you do want-
CH: -to um stop by or bring your girlfriend in we’d be happy to talk with her as well.
HFC: Okay. Okay, well nice to-Thank you so much.
CH: You’re welcome. Thanks for calling.
HFC: Uhuh. Have a nice day. Yeah-bye.
For accurate information addressing the lies and deception in these calls, you can see H*yas for Choice write-ups here on the HFC Blog.