Expose Fake Abortion Clinics

We are organizing to protect abortion rights in Maine. While abortion is still legal in Maine, there are fundamentalist Christian organizations working diligently to push clinics like Maine Family Planning, Planned Parenthood, and Mabel Wadsworth to their breaking point. Fake clinics, otherwise known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers or CPCs, funnel disinformation to pregnant people and harm their communities. In Maine, there are more fake clinics than legitimate clinics that provide abortion services. In some states, they also access funding meant for actual healthcare providers.

We want them out of our state, never to return. Join us in the fight to protect abortion and accessible healthcare in Maine.

What are Crisis Pregnancy Centers?

They are anti-abortion counseling centers with an agenda. They often use advertisements to trick pregnant people into making an appointment, promising free ultrasounds or free pregnancy tests with the goal of pressuring people to carry a pregnancy to term. Generally, they do not use the ultrasound as a diagnostic tool, but as another means of shame and coercion.

Their goal is to dissuade individuals from exercising their right to choose. Many CPCs intentionally misinform and mislead those seeking pregnancy-related information. Once inside, people are often lied to, shamed, and pressured about their reproductive health decisions, potentially delaying and increasing the cost of their procedure or pushing them past a deadline for legal abortion altogether. CPCs often look like medical facilities, yet they do not practice medicine. Though they may offer services like STD and pregnancy testing, they very rarely, if ever, offer STD treatment, access to contraceptives, or prenatal care.

These practices prevent pregnant women from making fully informed choices about their reproductive health and endanger them by delaying access to legitimate healthcare services.

In Maine, there are only 3 locations where you can receive an aspiration abortion (in-person procedure). There are 13 fake clinics in Maine that can easily divert patients away from actual abortion services. While medical abortion is more widely available from providers in Maine, fake clinics are still located nearby many facilities in order to divert people from real healthcare.

12 of 13 fake clinics in Maine are within 3 miles of real abortion providers. and 6 of these clinics are less than 1 mile away from real healthcare. Alpha PRC in Sanford is a brief walk across a shopping plaza from Planned Parenthood. The town of Sanford even allowed for signage to be hung outside of Alpha PRC. A similar request from Planned Parenthood was denied later that year.

Our healthcare providers are struggling to stand up to these fake clinics on their own. Defend healthcare and demand that these fake clinics leave Maine.

How are they funded?

Given the 501c3 status of these organizations, it can be very difficult to tell where their funding is coming from. It seems as though most of the funding comes from small individual donations, but that does not mean that there is no funding from other sources. Alpha PRC in Sanford received donations from three different Christian organizations over the last four years. One of these organizations, the National Christian Foundation, distributed 56.1 million dollars to 23 organizations designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Most of these organizations opposed LGBT rights and some were anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim. If we’re going to trust an organization to make healthcare decisions for our community, funding should be transparent. Planned Parenthood documents show exactly where their money is coming from. Planned Parenthood is continually audited without justifiable cause. Whereas Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not audited despite having funding from massive religious organizations that are willing to give their money to hate groups. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are about spreading ideology. They do not care about our communities.

Fake Clinic Tactics

Deception: CPCs pose as women’s health clinics or medical facilities but often provide biased pregnancy counseling. Some use debunked studies correlating abortions to cancer and depression. Many push controversial Abortion Reversal Pills that have no medical backing. CPCs often lie to patients once they’re inside. They have been known to ask probing and invasive questions and manipulate so-called abortion-minded individuals about their spirituality and relationships.

False Advertisement: CPCs advertise specifically to young, vulnerable, and lower-income pregnant people experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. They often position themselves near real, medically-licensed health care providers. Many CPCs do not follow HIPAA regulations (because HIPAA only applies to actual medical providers).

Stalling: Some will delay and cancel appointments, hoping to push people past the legal limit for abortion. By scheduling appointments at a location where they cannot receive complete reproductive health care, patients can waste weeks of time, making eventual procedures more expensive or inaccessible due to state law. The farther along a pregnancy goes, the more expensive it is to access abortion care. They seek to whittle away at a person’s options and make accessing an abortion even more difficult.

Intimidation: Some CPCs work with protesters to intimidate people as they enter and leave abortion provider offices. Many CPCs share patient data*, and try to intimidate real providers.

* This data sharing also poses as a massive data privacy risk for Mainers. A recent Times article was written on this issue. “Pregnancy centers, many of which are affiliated with national anti-abortion advocacy groups, including Care Net and Heartbeat International, collect personal data from the millions of women they interact with every year in person, by telephone, and through online chats. This data includes sexual and reproductive histories, test results, ultrasound photos, and information shared during consultations, parenting classes, or counseling sessions, which some pregnancy centers require before they provide aid, like diapers. Because most centers are not licensed medical clinics and offer services for free, privacy lawyers tell TIME that they are not legally bound by federal health data privacy laws.” CareNet is currently operating in Brunswick, ME. This data sharing could lead to the criminalization of people seeking abortion in a safe state, like Maine, when they return home.


Exploitation: Though many CPCs claim to offer free diapers and baby supplies to their clients, these needs are often withheld from caretakers who don’t agree to participate in custom “education” programs. In some cases, STD and pregnancy test results are withheld until a patient listens to shaming anti-choice and anti-sex speeches.

Policy Recommendations

States and Municipalities should ban these deceptive practices and impose a fine on fake clinics that continue to harm communities. This legislation already exists and is a great model for Maine and its Communities. Somerville, MA just implemented an ordinance that is based on a piece of legislation from Connecticut that outlines and defines key terms (“limited service pregnancy center”, “health information”, “abortion”, etc.) and incapacitates fake clinics.

Citizens should organize like-minded folks, present the ordinance to elected town leadership, and demand that these clinics be closed.

The state legislature and Gov. Janet Mills should implement similar legislation to what was implemented in Connecticut. This would ease the burden placed on local governments and protect the townships in Maine that do not yet have fake clinics.

Take Action

Real Clinics in Maine

Fake Clinics in Maine

  • Abba
    Affiliate: Christchurch Portland
    1250 Forest Ave, 2nd Floor, Portland ME 04103
  • Alpha PRC
    6B Washington St, Sanford, ME 04073
  • Birthline Pregnancy Support Services
    Affiliate: Catholic Charities Relief and Hope Services
    250 Anderson St, Portland, ME 04101
  • Carenet of Midcoast
    7 Cumberland St Brunswick, ME 04011
  • Central Maine Pregnancy Center
    93 Main St, Waterville, ME 04901
  • First Choice Pregnancy Center
    295 Kennedy Memorial Dr, Unit 2, Waterville, ME04901
  • First Step
    366 Mount Hope Ave, Bangor, ME 04401
  • Hope House
    163 Elm Mechanic Falls, ME 04256
    91 College St, Lewiston, ME 04240
  • Open Arms Pregnancy Center
    99 Bangor St, Augusta, ME
  • Pregnancy Care Center
    272 West Main St Fort Kent 04743
    37 North Street Houlton, ME 04730
    830 Main Street, A-2 Presque Isle, ME 04769

Resources

Resources for unwanted pregnancy

  • Planned ParenthoodLocations
    • Abortion Services
      • Surgical and Pill
    • Morning After Pill
    • Contraception
    • Pregnancy Testing
    • STD/HIV testing
  • Mabel Wadsworth
    • 700 Mt Hope Ave #420, Bangor, ME 04401
  • Maine Family PlanningLocations
    • Abortion Services
      • Surgical and Pill
    • Morning After Pill aka Plan B
    • Pregnancy Testing
    • STD/HIV testing
    • Options Counseling
  • All Options Counseling
    • Offer Options counseling that is not coercive
  • Community Doulas
    • Mostly pregnancy-related, but most doulas are full spectrum, including miscarriage and abortion, and usually do not charge in these cases
    • Adjustable fees for those facing financial hardship
  • National Abortion Funds
    • Help pay for expenses
    • Includes potential transportation, doulas, etc

Resources for a wanted pregnancy

Thank you to Pittsburgh DSA and Expose Fake Clinics for establishing the groundwork for this movement.
Central Vermont DSA is pursuing similar efforts, check them out here.

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