The Inside Scoop on NARAL VA’s New Report & Legislation

“Using a condom does not protect you from AIDS or pregnancy!”

“STDs can hide in your vagina, crawl up into the uterus and fallopian tubes and make you infertile years later.”

“I watched a video [at the CPC] called Abortion Techniques. In it, they said that they [abortion providers] harvest fetal organs for profit, that four baby brains may help one diabetic and that they’re stealing baby scalps to cure male baldness.”

These quotes all come from NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Foundation’s recent undercover investigation of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the Commonwealth. We identified 52 CPCs in Virginia and spent a year investigating them. NARAL VA staff and volunteers conducted 28 in-person visits and 51 phone calls to all 52 CPCs.

Over the course of our investigation, we became increasingly concerned about the 38 CPCs that are receiving state-regulated funding from the DMV through the new ‘Choose Life’ license plate program. (Since the program began in April 2009, over $10,000 has been funneled into these CPCs.) During our investigation, we found that 26 of the 38 CPCs receiving state-regulated funds (72 percent) shared medically inaccurate information with clients.

These CPCs in are actually in violation of Heartbeat International, Inc.’s ‘Commitment of Care’ that they agreed to in order to receive state-regulated funding. The ‘Commitment of Care’ includes a commitment to providing “accurate information about pregnancy, fetal development, lifestyle issues, and related concerns” and “offering accurate information about abortion procedures and risks.”

In response to these violations, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia makes two major policy proposals in our report. First, we want to require signage for CPCs receiving state-regulated funding, clarifying that they are not health care facilities, do not provide or refer for abortions or contraception and are not required to enforce HIPAA confidentiality. Second, we want CPCs receiving state-regulated funding to share medically accurate information about pregnancy, contraception, and abortion to their clientele, in accordance with Heartbeat International, Inc.’s ‘Commitment of Care.’ These proposals are brought to reality in House Bill 452/Senate Bill 188, filed by State Senator Ralph Northam and Delegates David Englin and Charniele Herring on January 12 and introduced in our Richmond press conference on January 20 (link to other blog post). The legislation calls for the 38 crisis pregnancy centers currently receiving state-regulated funding through Virginia’s ‘Choose Life’ license plate program to be upfront about their services and simply share medically accurate information. It’s in the interest of public health, and the well-being of the Commonwealth!

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