RELEASE: In Cherry Hill, Gottheimer Continues His Advocacy Against Deceptive, Anti-Choice Crisis Pregnancy Centers in NJ

More than 50 misleading Crisis Pregnancy Centers across NJ. Stopping dangerous mis- and disinformation about reproductive healthcare

May 20, 2024
Press

Above: Gottheimer in front of an anti-choice clinic posing as a legitimate healthcare provider.

CHERRY HILL, NJ — Today, Monday, May 20, 2024, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) sounded the alarm on anti-choice Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) posing as reproductive healthcare providers across New Jersey and highlighted their intentionally deceptive marketing practices.

Video can be found here.

The CPC in Cherry Hill refuses to refer women to medical providers for the abortion pill and even promotes “abortion pill reversal” — a medical treatment that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has called “unproven” and “unethical.” This so-called treatment can be potentially harmful by giving pregnant women misleading information that an abortion can be undone.

“This center calls themselves ‘Options for Her,’ but really, they should call themselves ‘No Options,’” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “These clinics could give a masterclass in false advertising….They claim to provide pregnancy options to women and care about their health care, but, in reality, they just care about one thing: preventing women from actually making their own personal decision about what’s best for them and their families. These centers will go to any length to deceive women, whether that’s on their website or when they enter the front door.”

The dangers of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs):

  • New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin issued a consumer alert, warning people that Crisis Pregnancy Centers do not provide health care. They are organizations that seek to prevent people from accessing reproductive health care and provide false or misleading information.
  • CPCs mislead about the risks associated with abortion, use aggressive tactics to manipulate women into changing their minds based on no medical information, and deceive women into thinking they’re too far along to legally get the care they need.
  • CPCs promote dangerous medical misinformation such as abortion pill “reversal” — an unproven and unethical treatment. This so-called treatment can be potentially harmful by giving pregnant women misleading information that an abortion can be undone.
  • In June, a woman sued a CPC for failing to diagnose her ectopic pregnancy, which resulted in an emergency surgery and the loss of her fallopian tube.
  • CPCs don’t provide legitimate prenatal care or refer women to health clinics that would offer a full range of health services. 
  • CPCs locate their facilities near real healthcare clinics so their employees can physically divert women away from real healthcare providers. 

Gottheimer’s Work to Protect Choice: 

  • Helping lead the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act to prevent so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” from spreading deceptive advertising about healthcare. This legislation directs the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit mis- and disinformation related to abortion services and authorizes the FTC to penalize organizations that break this rule.
  • Sent a letter with Congresswoman Angie Craig (MN-2) to Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra, urging him to put an end to taxpayer funding of “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” with TANF grants.
  • Introduced legislation with Congresswoman Angie Craig (MN-2) and Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett (TX-30) from Texas to stop legal attacks on the abortion pill. 

Gottheimer’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Good morning. I want to thank you for being here today to unite in support of reproductive freedom. 

We’re here in Cherry Hill, right outside one of the more than fifty so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” across our state. This center calls themselves “Options for Her,” but really, they should call themselves “No Options.” Despite marketing multiple options for pregnancy, they don’t actually give women a choice once she is inside. 

Like all of these so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers in New Jersey and around the country, they’ll never refer you for an abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk. Again, no options for her – no choice. No reproductive freedom. And no one should get between a woman, her doctor, and her faith. 

If you look at their website or branding, women go to a so-called Crisis Pregnancy Center thinking they will get real reproductive medical care and counseling. “Options for Her” offers pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. They have “abortion info” on their website and even talk about the “abortion pill” – or Mifepristone.  

But no matter what they find on the ultrasound, or whatever the result of the pregnancy test, they will never refer for an abortion. This center does not provide the abortion pill or provide referrals for it. Again, even in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother – like an ectopic pregnancy. 

They told us that themselves. They never refer for the abortion pill and claim that they do not have information on clinics that “provide the abortion procedure.”

In other words, their goal isn’t women’s healthcare — it’s to push their own extreme ideological agenda. Instead of referrals to health care, their website just scares women about abortion and side effects. 

These clinics could give a masterclass in false advertising. This isn’t about providing prenatal care, free diapers, or parenting classes, which we all welcome. It’s about claiming you provide pregnancy options to women and care about their health care, but, in reality, you just care about one thing: preventing women from actually making their own personal decision about what’s best for them and their families. And these centers will go to any length to deceive women, whether that’s on their website or when they enter the front door. 

When you get to the bottom of it, centers like “Options for Her” are founded on intentional deception and manipulation – and getting between a woman, her doctor, and her faith. Their tactics pose a serious risk to women’s health. And it’s got to stop now. 

Since the Dobbs decision, actual reproductive health clinics have been under attack. Clinics across the country are closing their doors in the wake of state abortion bans. In April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban into law, restricting the freedom of more than ten million women in the state. Arizona’s Supreme Court upheld a near-total abortion ban in April from 1864, which has since been reversed by the legislature. When these restrictions come into effect and clinics shut down, women don’t just stop needing healthcare. The “only option” that will be left open in some areas are crisis pregnancy centers, like the one behind us.

I’m sounding the alarm about the dangers of so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” up and down the state and doing everything I can to prevent these anti-choice centers from receiving any federal taxpayer dollars and spreading any more dangerous misinformation.

This work is more important than ever, as right-wing extremist lawmakers push to give misleading crisis pregnancy centers like this one more taxpayer funding and more credibility. Just last week, Senator Katie Britt introduced a bill that would create a government-run website that directs pregnant women toward so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” and expands their eligibility for grants. We cannot allow these centers to put more women’s health at risk. 

Centers like “Options for Her” behind me don’t just mislead women who are looking for health care advice and counseling, they intentionally highlight dangerous procedures on their website like the abortion pill “reversal.” That’s a medical treatment that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has called “unproven” and “unethical.” This so-called treatment can be potentially harmful by giving pregnant women misleading information that an abortion can be undone. They also use scare tactics, focusing just on the possible negative side effects of an abortion.  

Again, this isn’t just happening in other states. It’s also happening right here in Jersey – there are fifty of these so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers putting reproductive freedom in grave danger. New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin has issued a consumer alert about the deceptive marketing practices of these so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers,” warning people that they do not actually provide healthcare. In November 2022, the Jersey Attorney General’s Office even launched an investigation of a so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Center” for violating New Jersey anti-consumer fraud laws. Yelp also stuck a disclaimer on Crisis Pregnancy Centers, informing visitors that they “may not have licensed medical professionals onsite.”

The research is clear: so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” will do everything possible to prevent a woman from making her own decisions about her own body and to run out the clock. And, as states impose draconian fifteen, or even six-week abortion bans, time is of the essence. Our country is in the midst of a maternal mortality crisis. More than a thousand women died of pregnancy-related issues in 2021, a sixty percent increase compared to 2018. Instead of empowering these deceptive centers, we should be investing in real, lifesaving reproductive healthcare. 

We saw just how dangerous this waiting game can be. In Texas, a young woman almost died in January because she couldn’t find doctors to perform surgery following her ectopic pregnancy. She was told to simply “go home and wait.” Twenty-four hours later, when her fallopian tube had already begun to burst, she finally was admitted for surgery. She was likely just hours away from losing her life.

In Congress, I’m working around-the-clock to stop so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” like this one from the intentionally deceptive practice and from getting in the way of women’s healthcare.

First, I’m helping lead the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act to prevent so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” from spreading deceptive advertising about healthcare. This legislation directs the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit mis- and dis-information related to abortion services and authorizes the FTC to penalize organizations that break this rule.

Second, I recently sent a letter with my colleague Congresswoman Angie Craig from Minnesota to Secretary Becerra at the Department of Health and Human Services or HHS, urging him to put an end to taxpayer funding of so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers.” In 2022, eight states bankrolled crisis pregnancy centers with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grants or TANF grants.

HHS has introduced a rule that would prevent TANF funding of “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” last year. Far-right extremists in Congress have attacked that decision, voting to block the rule in the House and introducing companion legislation in the Senate. TANF grants are meant to provide money for work programs, childcare, and pre-k programs that help America’s neediest families, not ideologically-driven “Crisis Pregnancy Centers.” I’m going to do everything I can to prevent this legislation from moving forward.

Finally, I’m working every day to make reproductive healthcare more accessible. I’ve introduced legislation with Congresswoman Angie Craig from Minnesota and Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett from Texas to stop legal attacks on the abortion pill. “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” are just one chapter in the anti-choice playbook — just like abortion bans and restrictions on IVF. 

I’m grateful that here in New Jersey, our legislature and Attorney General are putting pressure on these so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers.” We need to work together — federal, state, and local officials — to stop these centers from doing more harm. 

I urge everyone to raise their voices about these so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” across the state, so no women in New Jersey ever suffer from their intentionally deceptive tactics. If we don’t stand up now and make our voices heard, far-right extremists will continue to advance their agenda. I’ll say it again: no one should get between a woman, her doctor, and her faith.

This is just common sense, and what most Americans know is right. We can’t allow extremism to win. We must fight to defend a woman’s right to choose and access safe healthcare.

Once again, I want to thank everyone here for joining us today. I know that when we all stand up for women’s healthcare and the right to choose, that here in the greatest country in the world, our best days will always be ahead of us.

God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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