Pregnancy care centers that try to dissuade their patients from abortion should have to advertise this purpose to the public.
According to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram articles, there have been many crisis pregnancy centers in the United States that try to talk their patients out of receiving an abortion.
However, these facilities only advertise that they perform free pregnancy tests, which persuades many pregnant women to go to these care centers. They do not expect to be bombarded with anti-abortion speeches, videos, pamphlets, etc., which is exactly what happens, according to the Star-Telegram article.
At one such Arlington pregnancy center, a woman did not return after her first visit to the facility because she felt uncomfortable with this “sales pitch” against abortion. When she did not return for her second visit, the counselor at the pregnancy care office tried to reach her, but instead spoke to her boyfriend’s mother and told the mother about the woman’s desire to get an abortion.
This practice completely violates the idea of patient confidentiality in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which states that any communication between a patient and a doctor or counselor of some kind must not be disclosed without the permission of the patient. However, most pregnancy clinics are not subject to these federal laws surrounding patient privacy rights.
These pregnancy clinics that dissuade patients from abortion should not be shut down or forced to move away from their locations. They should not stop spreading their message, but they do have to exercise honesty in their advertising.
Trying to use the “bait and switch” advertising technique on vulnerable, pregnant women by saying the clinic offers free pregnancy tests, then trying to convince the patients not to get an abortion is deceptive and highly unethical. These crisis centers should have to put a visible sign on their property saying they do not provide abortions or contraceptives, which is exactly what centers in Austin and Baltimore have done.
These two cities passed city ordinances that ordered this type of honest disclosure to its residents. However, a long fight is still looming on the horizon because many conservative religious groups, who also provide most of the funding for these pregnancy care clinics, are claiming that these ordinances violate these facilities’ First Amendment rights.
No one is telling these clinics that they have to stop spreading their message, but rather that they should not use deception to force this point of view on susceptible women.
The pregnancy care centers in question should not have to trick their patients to stop them from getting abortions. They should be able to make their arguments in a more honest fashion.
Chris Varano is a sophomore sports broadcasting major from Dallas.