Position On The Adirondack Pregnancy Center

Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, are anti-choice organizations that masquerade as health facilities in order to trick women who are considering abortions. The goal of these centers is to plant themselves in close proximity to real abortion providers and divert potential clients away with deceptive advertising. Once inside a CPC, people are lied to, shamed, and pressured about their reproductive health decisions, often delaying their procedure or pushing them past the deadline for a legal abortion altogether.

One such center is on its way to Saranac Lake. Partnering with the notorious anti-choice organization Heartbeat International and approved by the Village Development Board to do business just one block away from the local Planned Parenthood, the Adirondack Pregnancy Center has all the tell-tale signs of a crisis pregnancy center (CPC). CPCs are unethical entities that employ deceptive, politically motivated practices, and the current project in Saranac Lake should be shuttered immediately.

This should not be a contentious issue in Saranac Lake. In addition to Carolyn Koestner’s comprehensive letter to the editor about CPCs in the March 10, 2020 issue of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, there’s plenty of evidence that CPCs do not provide women with objective medical counseling on pregnancy options. The goal of these organizations is specifically to dissuade women thinking of having abortions by any means necessary, including false information about pregnancy and abortion.

In 2018, the American Medical Association (AMA) Journal of Ethics published an article titled “Why Crisis Pregnancy Centers Are Legal but Unethical.” Drawing on multiple undercover surveys of CPCs and detailed reviews of the centers’ promotional materials and websites, the study reports on how women who sought counsel at CPCs across the country were falsely told that abortions are linked to mental health issues and breast cancer. They were also told contraception is an ineffective means of preventing sexually transmitted infections.

In a segment on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver covers how CPCs often mislead women into waiting to get an abortion until it’s too late in their term to do so. Yet, because CPCs are not medically licensed facilities (Adirondack Pregnancy Center received a “Certificate of Incorporation” from New York State), they are able to give their clients misinformation without legal ramifications because of a “free speech” loophole.

That the Adirondack Pregnancy Center will be any different from these kinds of CPCs looks more and more unlikely the more digging you do. Their partnership with Ohio based Heartbeat International is particularly incriminating, given the sheer number of Heartbeat’s existing partner pregnancy centers worldwide that have been exposed for their disinformation practices. What’s the common denominator? Heartbeat International provides a handbook to their partners with “suggested scripts” that center workers can use to coerce their clients (see Last Week Tonight).

Not only does the APC have access to these harmful materials, their board members recently attended Heartbeat International’s Annual Conference, which is designed for those involved in “life-affirming” centers and provided the board with “invaluable training”. The keynote speaker for APC’s upcoming banquet is a paid speaker for the anti-choice movement.

It gets even worse: the owner of the domains www.adirondackpregnancycenter.com and www.adkpregnancycenter.com were both registered by an Ohio based company that on their own about page admits they “are experts at making sure your website is attracting the abortion-minded client.”

The company is currently in hot water for potentially exploiting personal medical information of pregnancy center clients. Clearly, the APC is backed by large, multi-national interests more invested in pushing an anti-choice propaganda campaign than actually helping women with unwanted pregnancies and allowing them to make their own decisions regarding their bodies.

If the proponents of the Adirondack Pregnancy Center are actually interested in providing quality care to pregnant women, they should obtain a medical license and engage in 100%-truthful, full-disclosure healthcare. Or they could help single mothers and other economically disadvantaged parents take care of and pay for their children, giving women with unwanted pregnancies a resource they can rely on should they choose to give birth.

Until either of those things occur, High Peaks DSA calls on the Village of Saranac Lake Development Board to take all available evidence on the unethical behavior of CPCs into account in a reconsideration of the board’s initial approval of the Adirondack Pregnancy Center. Failing that, we call on the people of Saranac Lake—the same community that stopped Walmart—to say “NO” to this entity and its deceptive practices that will bring harm to our community.

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