How Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers Mislead Donors

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! This is Paige McGlauflin, replacing Emma. She will be back in her inboxes tomorrow. The same pathogen that shut down an Abbott Nutrition infant formula plant has been found at other companies, women’s soccer outperforms men’s sports in crowd attendance, and anti-abortion organizations posing as medical clinics get more funding than the real providers of abortion services.

– Under the radar. Businesses, lawmakers and individuals alike have rushed to donate to abortion providers in the wake of Roe v. by wade investment. Yet many donors are inadvertently giving money to organizations seeking to undermine abortion access on the front lines.

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are non-profit organizations that pose as real medical clinics. They offer free services and counseling to pregnant people, with the aim of dissuading them from having an abortion.

CPC outnumber abortion clinics three to one nationwide and are present in every state and the District of Columbia. While these centers masquerade as medical clinics, less than half report having a licensed medical professional on staff and most do not offer current medical services. In one instance, State Funded CPCs in Texas gave erroneous medical information to undercover NBC News producers seeking advice.

Yet CPCs receive five times more funding than legitimate abortion clinics, according to research from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), a progressive watchdog group for charitable spending in the US. Even in states where abortion is protected, CPCs receive 1.5 times more funding than actual clinics. Much of this comes from public funding, which these centers can access more easily than abortion clinics, which face a number of regulatory hurdles.

But taxpayer money isn’t the only way these centers get funding. NCRP research found that CPCs also attract a lot of cash flow from foundations. Crisis centers received $278 million versus $56 million for actual clinics between 2015 and 2019.

CPCs often attract donations from funders interested in addressing maternal health because they promote services such as childbirth classes, doula services, child care products and free ultrasounds.

“If a CPC writes a grant and says, ‘We’re going to offer free childbirth classes to pregnant Black people in the community,’ there are people who want to fund that,” says Brandi Collins-Calhoun, senior engagement manager for the CPC. movement with the NCRP and one of the co-authors of the report. “They don’t see the bigger picture. They don’t know that the people who are teaching childbirth classes spend their Saturdays in front of the abortion clinics, forcing people to come to their classes.”

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One of the best ways funders can spot these organizations is to center abortion as a topic of conversation when conducting due diligence.

“A lot of philanthropy hasn’t talked explicitly about abortion. A big improvement for philanthropy in doing their due diligence is to be explicit and ask about abortion, talk about abortion, and also think about abortion in conjunction with birth justice,” says Stephanie Peng, manager of NCRP movement research and co-author of the report.

Beyond simply discussing abortion during due diligence, the authors say philanthropists should be more open about their charitable donations to abortion clinics and funds.

“Many funders are afraid to fund or mention abortion, or they fund it and don’t publicly fund it. Funding things quietly only perpetuates the shame and stigma that organizers are working so hard to unpack and dismantle,” says Collins-Calhoun. Additionally, it helps funders get an accurate gauge of how much funding is going to abortion clinics in the first place.

“Our research has been very helpful to a lot of funders because they assumed someone somewhere was running it anonymously, but they never really knew how much,” adds Collins-Calhoun. The report recommends donors direct their donations to pro-choice organizations like Sister Reach and CHOICES. “I got calls from funders who had no idea that abortion funding wasn’t going to hold up,” says Collins-Calhoun.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

– Brokerage of more data. A decade ago, news broke that Target had developed an advertising algorithm that could detect whether a customer was pregnant through data analysis, and the retailer claimed that moms-to-be were a multimillion-dollar opportunity. Now data brokers are selling data sets, sometimes created from the same analysis used by Target, containing information on millions of pregnant or potentially pregnant people across the country. Experts worry that the data, which can cost as little as 49 cents per person, could be used by anti-abortion groups or law enforcement to find out who visited an abortion clinic. These concerns are similar to those of brokers selling data from menstrual tracking apps. gizmodo

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STARTING WORDS

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