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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
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By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus

A+protester+carries+a+sign+outside+of+the+City+Council+Building+downtown+at+a+Womens+March+on+July+24%2C+2022.
TPN File Photo
A protester carries a sign outside of the City Council Building downtown at a Women’s March on July 24, 2022.

Walking down Fifth Avenue, you’ve likely spotted advertisements for Women’s Choice Network. What you may not know is that Women’s Choice Network is a Crisis Pregnancy Center, also commonly known as a CPC, anti-abortion center or fake clinic.

It is important to note that most CPCs are not licensed medical clinics and, therefore, do not have to abide by medical board laws or HIPAA. If someone comes into a CPC and verbalizes that they are considering terminating their pregnancy, that information can be shared with anti-abortion networks or law enforcement. This is concerning, especially in states where abortion is banned and private citizens are deputized to enforce the law.

CPCs do not provide abortions, abortion referrals or even a full range of healthcare — only pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD testing and abortion “counseling.” 

Even then, CPCs are under no obligation to tell you correct medical information, meaning they may lie to someone about how far along they are in their pregnancy in order to confuse them about their options. 

Students who don’t know any of this are likely to step into a CPC expecting a different experience. When someone finds out they are pregnant or suspect they might be pregnant, they deserve to be treated in an honest and earnest way, without a hidden agenda.  CPCs specifically target students by misrepresenting their intentions. 

CPCs do not make it clear that they are anti-abortion—and none of the advertisements on campus do, either. This puts students at risk of being misguided. 

CPCs also endorse abortion pill reversal, a process described by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as “unethical” and “not based on science.” Abortion pill reversal emerged from a 2012 study of six women that was led by doctors with anti-abortion ties and not peer-reviewed. 

Planned Parenthood explains that medication abortion is a two-step process involving the pills mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone halts the continuation of the pregnancy, and misoprostol induces the uterus to empty. 

Advocates for abortion pill reversal say that if someone was to have only completed the first step, they could be injected with the hormone progesterone to reverse the mifepristone. This has not been proven to be a safe or effective option. 

CPCs capitalize on ambiguity and individuals’ unfamiliarity with their agenda in order to coax people to their centers and then dissuade them from considering abortion. Advertisements near Pitt’s campus often include graphics of positive pregnancy tests, and one even sports a picture of a well-known fairytale with the words, “Kissed the wrong frog?” 

Even the name of a local CPC, Women’s Choice Network, utilizes the language of pro-choice feminist movements. 

However, once someone walks through their door, CPCs often distribute information meant to scare or shame individuals. This can include saying that abortion has a negative effect on mental health, with some CPCs touting post-abortion stress syndrome, which they compare to PTSD. 

Post-abortion stress syndrome is a fictitious disorder not recognized by any medical diagnostics. In reality, research shows that the overwhelming majority of people do not regret their abortion and view their experience positively. In a 2020 study from the University of California, San Francisco, 95% of subjects said it was the right decision for them.

In a 2015 report published by Reproductive Freedom for All, formerly known as NARAL, they share the experience of an investigator who visited a CPC. “I left so confused and feeling awful. I can’t stop thinking about how that would have been a terrible way to find out you’re pregnant.” 

CPCs seek to reduce the number of abortions that take place, and they are often successful at it. According to the International Journal of Women’s Health, CPCs negatively impact maternal health by delaying and barring access to legitimate abortion and prenatal care. Conversations in CPCs seem to rely on confusion and manipulation rather than presenting differing viewpoints. 

All of this is to say that we, as students, must look out for each other. It’s no accident that the Women’s Choice Network has a location on Fifth Avenue. It’s no accident that they choose to advertise across campus. I think Women’s Choice Network seems to prey on young people — young people who are potentially worried or stressed about their situation, new to the city, generally broke and trusting of adults. 

If I found out I was pregnant, I would want it to happen at a place that gives unbiased, medically accurate information among people who support my right to make the decision that’s best for me. I’d want that for all of my friends too. 

And that can happen — at one of Pittsburgh’s two abortion clinics. Those are Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania and Allegheny Reproductive Health Center. If you’re surprised that there are only two, it’s understandable. CPCs outnumber abortion clinics in Pennsylvania 9-1. 

Up until December 2023, the state of Pennsylvania was funding CPC networks. The organization Real Alternatives, which has the slogan “Empowering Women for Life,” has received over $100 million in taxpayer money since the 1990s. 

As Pitt students, it’s important to inform our peers about what their options truly are. Young people deserve access to reproductive healthcare, and they deserve to not be judged.

To the CPCs encroaching on young people’s time and space — get off our campus. 

India studies politics, philosophy, gender studies and human rights. She loves magical realism books, Joni Mitchell’s music and class consciousness. You can write to her at [email protected].

About the Contributor
India Krug
India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist
India Krug is a senior studying politics and philosophy, gender studies and human rights. She is passionate about young people knowing their rights and organizing their communities.