STATEMENT: HHSC Ends Contracts with Anti-Abortion Organization

For Release: 10-12-2018

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

HHSC Ends Contracts with Anti-Abortion Organization

AUSTIN, TX — Today, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced that they are terminating their contracts with the Heidi Group, an anti-abortion organization that provided no health care at the time of the award. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has repeatedly criticized the state’s decision to award the Heidi Group and other unqualified providers this funding. Aimee Arrambide, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“The Heidi Group was never remotely qualified to provide reproductive health care to tens of thousands of Texans in need. Yet, the state went to extremes to withhold funds from qualified providers in order to award undeserved millions of taxpayer dollars to an ideological, anti-choice organization with ties to fake women’s health centers. Family planning dollars should go directly to medical providers who have experience providing family planning and preventive care services, not anti-abortion organizations that aim to coerce and manipulate.

“Even as the HHSC has taken this step in terminating their contracts with the Heidi Group, they continue to fund ideological organizations committed to banning abortion that provide no licensed health care to the tune of $38 million.

“We encourage the Legislature to remove the restrictions on qualified providers from participating in these programs in order to prevent this sort of waste in the future.”

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A Texan’s experience at a fake women’s health center

I am a 44 years old woman and had the worst experience of my life at Birth Choice in Dallas, Texas. I had not had a period in about a year and my gynecologist told me I was in perimenopause so I wasn’t as diligent about it as I had been in the past. Other than fatigue, I had absolutely no pregnancy symptoms..

My husband and I decided to take a pregnancy test to rule out why I was constantly exhausted. My heart sank when I saw the plus sign on the test before the 5 minutes were even up and we went into immediate panic mode. We headed to what we thought was Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center, a local abortion clinic. Southwestern and Birth Choice share a parking lot (a common tactic of fake clinics) and my husband and I walked into Birth Choice by accident.

Once there, I took a urine test to confirm the pregnancy and was told I needed an ultrasound to determine how far along I was. At that point, the nurse separated my husband and I, saying that my husband needed to meet with the male counselor. During the ultrasound, I repeatedly asked for my husband to be in the room with me, but the nurse insisted that I was in a “safe place” and my husband couldn’t make the decision for me to have an abortion.

The ultrasound results showed that I was 26 weeks pregnant with a “healthy baby boy” and a “special miracle,” even though I had told the nurse this was an unwanted pregnancy. She told me she could immediately make a phone call and place the baby with a family. Meanwhile, my husband was getting the same treatment from the male “counselor.” The “counselor” even told my husband that families paid “$50,000 for a white baby!” They finally brought him into the room where I was still enduring looking at the 70 inch ultrasound screen. When he walked in, the nurse greeted him with, “congratulations daddy, it’s a boy!”  The male “counselor” came into the room with a doll that he described as a 26-week gestation baby and blocked the door as my husband and I tried to leave. We managed to make it out but they chased after us, yelling about not killing the baby and how much God loves us.

This experience left me totally shaken and an absolute mess; I threw up all the way home. I was able to see my gyno the following Monday and thankfully, she had some answers. I was in fact 26 weeks pregnant, but the baby was far from healthy. She explained that I couldn’t get an abortion in Texas due to how far along I was and contacted a clinic in New Mexico. We were lucky enough to travel there a few days later and terminate the pregnancy, which was the decision we had made from the start.

S.H. lives in Dallas, Texas. To learn more about fake women’s health centers and their deceptive tactics, visit txpregnancy.org 

STATEMENT: SCOTUS Decision Allows Fake Women’s Health Centers to Continue Lying to Pregnant People

For Release: 6-26-2018

Contact: Sharmeen Aly, [email protected]

AUSTIN, TX — Today, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in NIFLA v. Becerra that fake women’s health centers, or crisis pregnancy centers, can continue operating under the guise of real medical facilities and give inaccurate and misleading information to clients.

This ruling has implications here in Texas, where CPCs that receive millions of taxpayer dollars to deceive pregnant people seeking accurate health care far outnumber abortion clinics and family planning clinics.

Blake Rocap, legislative counsel and interim executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, released the following statement —

“Every Texan, regardless of how much money they make or where they live, should have access to reproductive health care free from coercion or shame. But unfortunately, today the Supreme Court missed a clear opportunity to stop fake women’s health centers from intentionally deceiving and lying to pregnant people.

More than 200 crisis pregnancy centers operate in Texas, and for more than a decade the Texas Legislature has allowed them to operate with no accountability and little oversight while touting them as actual health care providers. The dangerous and deceptive practices at these centers inflict real harm on Texans seeking legitimate health care and their families each day in communities across the state.

Despite today’s ruling, we will continue working to expose the deceptive tactics used by fake women’s health centers and elevate the work of our partners through the recently filed Whole Woman’s Health v. Paxton case. We hope the courts will apply today’s decision consistently and strike down Texas laws requiring physicians to lie to their patients, violating the doctors’ sincerely held beliefs, medical training, and ethics.”

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President Trump Appoints Former Fake Women’s Health Center President to Leadership Position

This week, President Trump named Diane Foley, a former president of a fake women’s health center, as deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Population Affairs, which oversees the  federal Title X family planning program. In appointing her to this position, Trump has given Foley power over family planning services available primarily to low income people across the country. Fake women’s health centers, like the one Foley was in a position of leadership at, often advocate against birth control, which is an essential component of comprehensive family planning services.

Fake women’s health centers also use lies and deception to prioritize their political agendas  over people’s healthcare. For more than 10 years, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has lead the fight against fake women’s health centers in Texas because they exist to persuade pregnant people against accessing abortion. Despite their lies and scare tactics, the Texas Legislature continues to increase the millions of taxpayer dollars they receive each year.

Texas is already facing reproductive healthcare challenges, including lack of access to abortion care, a maternal mortality crisis, and an embattled family planning program. Putting Foley in a position of leadership at the federal level is a disservice to the people the department serves and a danger to patient health and safety.

Visit txpregnancy.org to learn more about crisis pregnancy centers in Texas and how you can fight back.

U.S. Supreme Court Could Prevent Fake Women’s Health Centers in Texas from Lying to Pregnant People

Emily MartinBy Emily Martin, program director

On March 20, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to a California law intended to regulate crisis pregnancy centers, or CPCs, which operate nationwide under the guise of full service women’s health clinics but in fact deceive pregnant people and lie about abortion. The law in question requires that California’s CPCs provide accurate information about state reproductive health programs and that the unlicensed centers publicly notify visitors if no licensed medical professional works on site. The high court’s ruling, expected no later than this summer, could have national implications and could pave the way to prevent Texas’ CPCs from deceiving pregnant people seeking medical care.

For more than a decade, the Texas Legislature has allowed these fake women’s health centers to operate with no accountability and little oversight and continues to tout them as actual health care providers. This is especially disturbing, as our state grapples with addressing the rising maternal mortality rate.  Since 2005, the Legislature has been funneling millions to unlicensed and unregulated fake women’s health centers that intentionally mislead pregnant people and function primarily to dissuade them from accessing abortion care, but provide no prenatal care. That year, the Legislature created the Alternatives to Abortion program, siphoning money away from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant and other public health programs like family planning and redirecting that money to non-medical, biased organizations that lie and manipulate to keep pregnant Texans from getting an abortion. The 2018-19 two-year budget, which went into effect last year, includes $9.1 million in taxpayer funding annually for fake women’s health centers.

The lack of clarity and truth about crisis pregnancy centers is exactly what allows them to thrive, especially in Texas where many clinics have closed and where many residents aren’t aware of the current abortion restrictions. Through NARAL Pro-Choice Texas’ investigative work into fake women’s health centers, we have evidence that the leaders of the anti-abortion movement are aware of the knowledge gap and take full advantage of it to lure unsuspecting pregnant people seeking legitimate medical care to their centers. Once inside, pregnant people are often subjected to coercive and religious counseling, bad science, fake medicine and misinformation about pregnancy, abortion, and contraception, creating a delay in accessing real health care. It is especially sickening to delay care as Texas’ maternal mortality rate—the highest in the country and developed world— continues to rise.  

These fake women’s health centers that advertise and represent themselves as health care professionals should not be allowed to deceive patients, lie about medical facts or pretend to be real medical facilities. Each of us should have access to licensed medical care when we need it, not ideological coercion, and regardless of the outcome of this case NARAL Pro-Choice Texas remains committed to exposing their deceptive practices and ultimately defunding them in Texas.

Learn more about CPCs in Texas by clicking here.