Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul applauded a Senate committee’s passage of his legislation to hold crisis pregnancy centers that engage in deceptive practices accountable. Raoul also offered recommendations to patients seeking reproductive care to ensure they can access the full range of health services.
Senate Bill 1909, sponsored by Sen. Celina Villanueva, was passed by the Senate Executive Committee and will now be considered by the full Senate.
Illinois law establishes the fundamental rights of individuals to make autonomous decisions about their reproductive health. There have been reports in Illinois and nationwide of limited services pregnancy centers, often referred to as “crisis pregnancy centers,” using deceptive and misleading practices to spread false information and interfere with patients’ timely access to the full range of reproductive care.
“I experienced deceptive crisis pregnancy center tactics firsthand on a visit to a Planned Parenthood health center in Illinois. People who appeared as though they might work at the health center were outside with a sign that said to check in, and they were attempting to redirect us away from the health center,” Raoul said. “Patients report being misled into going to crisis pregnancy centers – sometimes even receiving exams and ultrasounds – thinking they were visiting another clinic that offers the full range of reproductive care. This is an extreme violation of trust and patient privacy that should not occur in our state.”
The mission of most crisis pregnancy centers is to convince pregnant people to carry to term and not have an abortion. While crisis pregnancy centers may advertise their services generally to pregnant people, many of these centers provide very limited services, such as basic ultrasounds and counseling against abortion. Some are located near clinics that do provide comprehensive care and use names similar to clinics to misdirect patients from the full range of information and care that it is their right to access. Many provide misleading information overstating the risks associated with abortion, including conveying false claims that abortion causes cancer or infertility.
Crisis pregnancy centers do not provide abortions or referrals for abortions. Many do not provide contraceptives or comprehensive prenatal care. They often do not have any medical professionals on site, and they do not necessarily disclose any of these limitations in their online or in-person materials. They also may not keep medical records and personal information private and confidential.
“We must ensure that women who are seeking reproductive health care are protected from deceptive and misleading practices,” said Sen.Villanueva. “At a time when they are already vulnerable, they must have the peace of mind that they won’t be taken advantage of. Health care – in all forms – should be safe and transparent.”
Attorney General Raoul also offered the following information to patients seeking reproductive health care: