By Sarah Jones
A new VICE documentary reveals that publicly funded, religiously motivated crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) represent a growing national problem. Hosted by Fazeelat Aslam, Misconception tackles the misleading advertising tactics used by many, if not most, CPCs to disguise their true intentions: To dissuade women from accessing legal abortion, and to proselytize anyone who comes through the door.
The documentary begins by noting that CPCs themselves are multiplying, principally due to a crop of new state laws placing crippling regulations on abortion clinics. These laws, which, according to professional bodies like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, aren’t based on scientific evidence, shutter clinics by forcing them to adhere to minute restrictions on hallway width, parking lot size, and as Aslam explains, even the height of the clinic’s grass.
That paves the way for CPCs. And that’s where the church/state trouble begins.
Aslam starts her investigation by touring a Frederick, Md., CPC owned by CareNet. Superficially, little appears troubling about the facility, which resembles a medical office and keeps a stock of donated children’s clothes and toys available for expectant mothers. It doesn’t advertise itself as a Christian ministry, and CareNet’s CEO doesn’t describe it as one to Aslam as he’s showing her its sonogram room. But according to CareNet itself, that’s exactly what it is.