The case the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing today is about whether California can require anti-abortion fake clinics to disclose the fact that they aren’t licensed and to give women information about the free and low-cost services, including contraception, prenatal care and abortion care, that are available to them. It’s about whether states that protect consumers by regulating nail salons and auto repair shops can also protect patients from fraud and deception. It’s about the simple proposition that women deserve the truth. It’s about honesty and integrity. National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra should be a no-brainer for the Court.
The fake women’s health centers at issue in this case masquerade as comprehensive health care clinics. They prey on women facing unintended pregnancies and often target young women, women of color and low-income women. The tactics they use are truly despicable. Imagine you’ve just found out that you are pregnant. You want sound advice and real health care. You search online and find a clinic but realize, only after you get there, that you’ve been deceived – that the staff are trying to shame you and scare you away from choosing abortion.
Rather than being approached as a person with value whose future is important, who can make her own decisions, who should be treated with dignity and respect – you’re manipulated to meet someone else’s ends.
Too many women don’t have to imagine it. It happens every day to real women all across the country.
States like California should be applauded for protecting the women who fake centers trick and harm.
These fake centers deceive women. The deception starts with ads that imply they offer comprehensive reproductive health services. They are designed to lure women away from real clinics that would actually meet their needs.
These fake centers mislead women. They regularly peddle lies that have been repeatedly discredited by the country’s most prominent medical experts, such as false links between abortion and breast cancer, and lies about women’s feelings after an abortion.
These fake centers shame women. Staff use emotional manipulation. They may pray for the woman and fetus or ask for an invitation to the baby shower while administering an ultrasound. It’s cruel.
And they delay care. The often-untrained people who administer ultrasounds sometimes lie about how far along a woman’s pregnancy is, potentially causing her to miss a state cutoff for abortion care or delaying important prenatal care.
Deceiving women, misleading women, shaming women, delaying care for women – it has to stop.
We would not allow it in any other area of health care, and we cannot allow it here.
Women deserve unbiased information about all their options. Women have the right to transparent, truthful health information. It’s time to end the lies.
The Supreme Court must rule in favor of California, to protect the integrity of our health care system and women’s dignity and health.