We’ve been tracking the crisis pregnancy centers in the Commonwealth for a year now, and we broke our under-cover investigation with a report, legislation, and media coverage, including this article in the Washington Post.
It didn’t seem to matter to the majority of our House and Senate, though, that 72% of these facilities receiving state-regulated license plate funds are sharing medically inaccurate information. They voted down our bill that would have simply required these centers only share medically accurate information and post signs about the limits of their services. We thought it might be helpful to list some of the ‘arguments’ used by those who support lying to women…
1. ‘This bill would change how the DMV would have to regulate all license plate funding streams.’
Response: The fact that there are entities receiving state-regulated money that are sharing misinformation with the women of Virginia is incredibly problematic. Not only is it morally wrong but it creates a public health threat. When women are falsely told that condoms have holes, they stop using them. When women are falsely told that nothing changes in the first 12-14 weeks of a pregnancy, they do not seek prenatal care.
Additionally, at least one of the facilities receiving these funds, as discovered by the Washington Post, is not a licensed 501 c (3) with the Commonwealth. It is in direct violation of the license plate legislation. If there is no regulation over where this money is going, citizens of the Commonwealth cannot be sure of what the state is supporting.
2. ‘Women who need help get it at these centers.’
Response: We are not in opposition to these facilities existing. This bill simply asked that they share scientific fact with clients in order to be eligible for state-regulated funding. Similarly, if a woman chooses to go to a CPC after knowing the limits of their services, we are in full support. But too many of these centers mask their political agenda under the guise of free services, instead treating women to a dose of deception and propaganda. When these centers advertise under ‘abortion services’ in the Yellowpages and then receive state-regulated funding, the state is being complicit in this deception.
3. ‘The list you have of the centers receiving state funds is wrong. It was just a sample.’
The list of the 38 centers receiving license-plate funding money is taken directly from Heartbeat International’s website and The Richmond Coalition for Life’s website, which receives information directly from the DMV at the end of every month about how many plates have been sold. What we’re currently most shocked about, however, is that this list has now been removed from the websites that published it prior to our report and legislation.
Consumers and citizens of the Commonwealth have no way of knowing where these license plate funds are going. If Heartbeat International were honest about their practices, we would hope they would support full transparency in the process of funding stream allocations. Such is far from the case.
Does this mean the CPCs know we’re watching them and they don’t want the Washington Post further investigating their fake centers? Perhaps.
As several delegates and senators said upon completion of the bill’s subcommittee hearings, ‘Let this investigation be a warning to these centers.’