RELEASE: On 51st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Gottheimer Announces New Action to Combat Taxpayer Dollars Funding Anti-Choice Clinics

Centers Posing as Reproductive Health Care Providers in NJ Manipulate Women, Endanger Health

Jan 22, 2024
Press

Above: Gottheimer in front of the New Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center.

WESTWOOD, NJ — Today, January 22, 2024, on the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade and in front of an anti-choice clinic posing as a legitimate health care provider, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer announced new action to prevent Crisis Pregnancy Centers from providing false or misleading information that puts women’s health at risk. 

Video can be found here.

Even in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk, these deceptive anti-choice clinics never offer the choice of an abortion. Instead, they manipulate women in a vulnerable situation, and push their own ideological agenda. Many of these clinics have photos of what look like doctors, but the truth is there are no doctors or nurses inside. 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.

Gottheimer, with Congresswoman Angie Craig, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, calling on him to stop the flow of federal tax dollars to Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). 

Far-right extremists want to continue sending taxpayer-funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grants (TANF) grants to Crisis Pregnancy Centers across the nation. TANF grants are meant for work programs, childcare, and pre-kindergarten programs for America’s neediest families, not anti-choice clinics. These clinics fail to support the objectives of these grants. 

As recently as 2022, eight states bankrolled crisis pregnancy centers with TANF funds. There were even reports that in 2017 a Pennsylvania crisis pregnancy center received a TANF grant and was using hundreds of thousands of dollars “to fund its activities in other states.” That’s unacceptable.

Today’s announcement follows Gottheimer calling for his colleagues in Congress to vote against far-right extremist legislation that supports taxpayer dollars going to anti-choice Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

Gottheimer launched his tour of dangerous and manipulative Crisis Pregnancy Centers in October.

“Women go to these so-called ‘pregnancy centers’ thinking they will get real medical help, real healthcare support, but instead, they manipulate women in a vulnerable situation, and push their own ideological agenda. Even in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk, these centers have admitted they will never offer the choice of an abortion,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “It’s plain and simple, these anti-choice centers must be shut down. These phony healthcare centers push an extreme, dangerous, and anti-choice agenda.”

“Every piece of anti-choice legislation the GOP passes is a step toward their ultimate goal of a federal abortion ban – we’ve got to fight back every single time,” said Congresswoman Angie Craig (MN-2). “Taxpayer dollars must not be used for medical misinformation. I applaud the Administration’s leadership on this issue and urge the swift adoption of this rule.”

“NCJW Bergen County Section was pleased to stand with Congressman Josh Gottheimer and Assemblywoman Lisa Swain as they spoke out against the deceptive practices of Crisis Pregnancy Centers. NCJW believes that every individual has the right to bodily autonomy and privacy. NCJW advocates for the protection of EVERY person’s right to reproductive freedom, including safe and legal abortion, medically accurate information, access to contraception, fertility treatments, gender affirming care and adoption and the elimination of ALL obstacles that limit reproductive justice,” said National Council of Jewish Women Bergen County in a statement.

The dangers of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs):

  • CPCs pose as a healthcare clinic with doctors and nurses, but are not staffed by licensed medical professionals.
  • CPCs regularly ignore medical ethics and are staffed by people with no medical background whose goal is to manipulate women with their own ideological agenda.
  • 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 lie 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 full remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Today is the 51 anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision — a decision that protected a woman’s freedom to choose. A decision the Court upended two years ago in the Dobbs case that ripped away the rights of millions of women across the country to make personal and private medical decisions. The result has been devasting for women across our country — including for a ten-year-old girl from Ohio who was raped but couldn’t get an abortion in the state she lives. No one should get between a woman, her doctor, and her faith.  

Yet, just last Thursday, ultra-right extremists forced a bill to the floor that would allow taxpayer dollars to fund these deceptive anti-choice clinics they call Crisis Pregnancy Centers that pose as reproductive health clinics, but, in reality, don’t offer any personal choice whatsoever. Even in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk, they’ll never offer the choice of an abortion. Instead, they manipulate women in a vulnerable situation, and push their own ideological agenda.  

I’m here today to announce new action to stop taxpayer dollars from funding these so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers, and stop them from actively deceiving women and putting their health at risk. It’s plain and simple, these anti-choice centers must be shut down. They are phony healthcare centers that push an extreme, dangerous, and anti-choice agenda.

Now, the New Hope Pregnancy Resource Center behind us looks harmless. Like the 50 other crisis pregnancy centers in our state, women go to these so-called “pregnancy clinics” thinking they will get real medical help. 

But instead, they are greeted and referred to people with no medical background and whose goal is to push their own ideological agenda – to stop a woman’s right to make her own choice, even if there is an urgent medical crisis. Many of these clinics have photos of what look like doctors with stethoscopes ready to see if a pregnant woman. But, the truth is there are no doctors or nurses inside – just individuals who will do anything to stop a woman from choosing to get an abortion. Again, there are no doctors or nurses here at this pregnancy center.

In short, they are centers of deception that intentionally deceive women who are looking for medical and reproductive care.

These places are so dangerous that 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 prevent people from accessing reproductive health care and provide false or misleading information. In November, the Jersey Attorney General’s Office even launched an investigation of a Crisis Pregnancy Center for violating New Jersey anti-consumer fraud laws.

Planned Parenthood recently issued an alert that Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, “market toward young people, people of color and people with low incomes, exploiting them by offering free services in exchange for participation in abstinence or religious seminars.” 

The website of the CPC behind me, New Hope Pregnancy Resource Centers, claims to be “a place … where you can discuss your choices.” But, in truth, they aren’t interested in letting a woman make her own choice. It’s not her freedom to make a decision – it’s what they want. And they’ll go to all lengths to make that happen. They’ll lie about the health risks associated with abortion, use aggressive tactics to try and manipulate women into changing their minds, and deceive women into thinking they’re too far along to legally get the care they need.

In October, I visited a CPC in Hackensack that promotes 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 fact, the Director of the Hackensack anti-choice clinic said she would never provide a referral for abortion care and that they won’t even “tell them where to go.” That’s right, even in the cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk, these centers will never refer an abortion. That’s the same here for New Hope — they will never refer an abortion.

In June, a woman sued a Crisis Pregnancy Center for failing to diagnose her ectopic pregnancy, which resulted in emergency surgery and the loss of her fallopian tube. 

These clinics don’t provide legitimate prenatal care or refer women to health clinics that offer a full range of health services. They are designed to be confusing. I’ll be the first person to stand up and protect everyone’s right to have their own opinions, but you don’t have the right to deceive and endanger women’s health.

Women need options to go to real healthcare centers like Planned Parenthood at their most vulnerable moment, where there are doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals.  What they don’t need are more of these deceptive anti-choice so-called “pregnancy crisis centers.”

First, the federal government should not be funding Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Right now, many CPCs are receiving through their state’s federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grants, or TANF grants. 

These federal grants are meant to provide money for work programs, child care, and pre-kindergarten programs for America’s neediest families, not anti-choice clinics. These grants are first given to states, which then distribute them.  As recently as 2022, eight states bankrolled crisis pregnancy centers with TANF funds. There were even reports that in 2017 a Pennsylvania crisis pregnancy center received a TANF grant and was using hundreds of thousands of dollars “to fund its activities in other states.” That’s unacceptable, and the President has made that clear to HHS, or the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Last week, far-right extremists in Congress brought legislation to the House Floor that would force HHS to provide TANF grants to these dangerous, anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers.

Today, with my colleague Angie Craig from Minnesota, I sent a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, to reiterate that no taxpayer dollars should go to these deceptive anti-choice clinics that pose as reproductive health care clinics. As the President has also made clear: No TANF dollars should flow to CPCs. It’s simple, these clinics fail to support the objectives of these grants. We can’t let far-right extremists use federal tax dollars to deceive women and push their anti-choice agenda.

Second, in Congress, I’m also working to pass the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act to prevent crisis pregnancy centers from spreading deceptive advertising about health care. 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.

As I mentioned earlier, this is also something that our Governor, Attorney General Platkin, and our state legislature, including Assemblywoman Lisa Swain have been hard at work on. I’ll continue working with her and others who have done a great job to protect a woman’s right to choose. Last year, I sent a letter to the Governor and state legislature urging them to further restrict crisis pregnancy centers’ deceptive marketing practices and to pass legislation outlawing false anti-choice advertising that masquerades as health care services. 

Finally, we need to do everything we can not only to shut down these “clinics” and stop their deceptive practices, but also to ensure that women understand that these Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not healthcare clinics. If they have an urgent medical need related to their pregnancy, or need true healthcare advice and information to make an informed choice for themselves, these are not the places to go. I will continue stopping at these centers around the state, as I’ve been doing, to shine a light on their ideological agenda and anti-choice practices. 

We must all make our voices heard and call out Crisis Pregnancy Centers across the state so no women in New Jersey ever suffer from their abusive tactics. It’s up to all of us to spread the word about these dangerous centers.

Finally, as we recognize the 51 anniversary of Roe, let’s not forget the even bigger picture: The Dobbs decision opened the floodgates for a renewed war on women’s reproductive freedom and health care. Extremists in statehouses across our country are working around-the-clock to ban abortions even in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk. 

Since then, we’ve heard horror story after horror story of women and young girls being unable to access the health care they need. Just this past December, in Texas, a woman whose fetus had a fatal diagnosis and was putting her health at risk was forced to leave the state to receive the medical care she needed. And in Oklahoma, a woman whose pregnancy was putting her life at risk, was forced to wait in the parking lot for the healthcare she needed, until, as she was told,  she was crashing or her blood pressure was so high that she was about “to have a heart attack.”

Here in Jersey, we’re fortunate to have great advocates who protect women’s health. From local to state electeds, New Jersey’s public servants like Assemblywoman Lisa Swain and our Governor and First Lady have always stood up against those seeking to remove women’s access to the healthcare they need.

If we don’t stand up now and make our voices heard, far-right extremists will continue to advance their agenda. 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 me today. I’m very proud to stand with you to make Jersey and our country an even greater place, and ensure that here in the greatest country in the world, our best days will always be ahead of us.

Thank you and God bless you.

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