There is a women’s facility in Charleston, West Virginia that has a sign out front that says in bold, pink letters: “Woman’s Choice.” This kind of facility has been criticized in the past because some say it deceives women.
The facility promises abortion information and pregnancy testing, but its primary purpose is to steer women away from ending their pregnancy with an abortion. It is one of the hundreds of crisis pregnancy centers nationwide that exist to discourage women from seeking abortions.
These facilities will likely increase the power and influence that they have in states like West Virginia where abortion is likely to be illegal.
Most of the facilities like this one are affiliated with a church. They are not licensed medical operations, but they sometimes have nurses on staff who volunteer their time.
Andrea Swartzendruber is a University of Georgia Public health professor. She said, “Basically, these centers are looking around and saying, ‘Our services are going to be needed now more than ever because there’s going to be so many pregnant people who need support during their pregnancy — particularly unintended pregnancies.’”
The only abortion clinic that exists in West Virginia just announced that it was suspending abortion services, but would continue to provide birth control, STI treatment, and some other services.
The Woman’s Choice Pregnancy Resource Center, the anti-abortion facility, has been located right next door to the abortion clinic for a number of years. They won’t stop their work now but will continue to provide classes on parenting and health and give counseling to women.
Katie Quinonez is the executive director of the abortion clinic there in West Virginia. She believes that the Women’s Choice facility is lying to women about certain abortion risks. But she has now seen dozens of abortion appointments canceled after the Supreme Court decision.
“I’m incredibly concerned. It’s possible that they could think maybe there is another provider and state that’s doing abortions. ‘How about I call ‘A Woman’s Choice,’ located in Charleston?’ and then they make an appointment and go there because they’ve been lied to by a fake clinic that says ‘Yes, we can provide you with care,’” Quinonez said.
Some experts have indicated that anti-abortion centers across the nation will now redouble their efforts to persuade women not to end their pregnancies. Their job will be easier now that many women will have to leave their state to find a location that will perform an abortion.
Many on the left are frantically trying to regulate how these centers for women advertise their services.
Democratic Rep. Jillian Gilchrest, who sponsored the Connecticut legislation on this kind of message said, “The last thing we want is for women to be at what they believe to be a health clinic only to receive misinformation about their options.”
Right now, crisis pregnancy centers outnumber abortion clinics by more than 3 to 1. One source said that there are 2,500 centers across the nation and fewer than 800 abortion clinics.
In Missouri, there is just one abortion clinic, but there are almost 70 anti-abortion centers. There are similar numbers in North Dakota and Mississippi.
The abortion clinic in West Virginia is trying its best to discourage women from entering the crisis pregnancy center. They have rows of hedges to try to block the view of the building next door. And they have posted a sign that reads: “WARNING: The building behind this sign is an ANTI-CHOICE, ANTI-BIRTH CONTROL Crisis Pregnancy Center. It is not affiliated with the Women’s Health Center.”
All of this may just be too little, too late. The number of centers that will counsel women in life are growing and gaining in influence.