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The prevalence and impacts of crisis pregnancy center visits among a population of pregnant women

      Abstract

      Objectives

      Investigations into Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) have documented the provision of deceptive information about abortion, but it is unclear how many pregnant women actually visit CPCs and what impact visits have on their pregnancy decision-making.

      Study design

      We conducted a mixed-methods study. We surveyed patients at one of two local abortion clinics and three prenatal clinics in Southern Louisiana about whether they had visited a CPC for this pregnancy and conducted in-depth interviews with prenatal patients who reported a CPC visit about their experience.

      Results

      We surveyed 114 abortion patients and 269 prenatal patients, and interviewed 12 prenatal patients about their CPC visit. Just 6% of abortion patients (n=7) and 5% of prenatal patients (n=14) visited a CPC for this pregnancy. Prenatal patients went to CPCs primarily for free pregnancy tests and reported receiving information about abortion from CPC staff that was inaccurate. They also generally recognized the CPC was antiabortion, ideologically Christian, and not a medical establishment. Only three had been considering abortion at the time of their visit and reported that the visit impacted their plan for the pregnancy. However, all three also faced additional barriers to abortion, including inability to find an abortion provider, difficulty securing funding, gestational limits, ambivalence about choosing abortion, and opposition to abortion from family members.

      Conclusions

      We do not find evidence that pregnant women regularly seek CPC services or that CPCs persuade women who are certain abortion is the right decision for them to continue their pregnancies.

      Implications

      Given little evidence that CPCs impact pregnant women's decision-making on a broad scale, future research should examine other aspects of CPCs, such as their role in the antiabortion movement and/or the impact of CPC visits on maternal health and birth outcomes among women who continue their pregnancies.

      Keywords

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