Crisis pregnancy centers (also called CPCs or fake clinics) are clinics or mobile vans that look like real health centers, but they have a shady, harmful agenda: to scare, shame, or pressure you out of getting an abortion, and to tell lies about abortion, birth control, and sexual health.
Crisis pregnancy centers don’t provide abortion or offer a full range of health care, and they won’t give you honest facts about sexual health and your pregnancy options — their goal is to spread misinformation and propaganda.
Most crisis pregnancy centers aren’t legitimate medical clinics, so they don’t have to follow HIPAA and keep your information private, like most real health care providers do. These crisis pregnancy centers could even give your information to other anti-abortion organizations or use it to harass you. This could be especially concerning if you live in a state with anti-abortion laws.
These fake clinics usually try really hard to seem like a normal doctor’s office. They might have ultrasound machines, staff in white coats, medical-sounding names, and professional websites. They also often post signs near or are located very close to real health centers like Planned Parenthood. They do all of this to try to trick you into coming to their fake clinic instead, so they can pressure you into making certain decisions about sex and pregnancy.
Crisis pregnancy centers usually advertise free pregnancy tests and pregnancy counseling, and some may claim they have other services like STD testing, but these centers don’t actually provide most kinds of health care, and the information they give isn’t always accurate or trustworthy. For example, they may say your pregnancy is earlier or later than it really is, to confuse you about how much time you have to get an abortion if you want one.
There are a LOT of these fake clinics in the U.S. Websites like exposefakeclinics.com, crisispregnancycentermap.com, and The Fake Clinic Database can help you figure out which clinics in your area are crisis pregnancy centers.
Here are some signs that a clinic might be a crisis pregnancy center:
It’s listed online or on map apps as a pregnancy resource center, pregnancy help center, pregnancy care center, women’s resource center, or abortion alternatives.
They advertise free pregnancy tests, abortion counseling, pre-abortion screenings, abortion education, post-abortion care, or after-abortion help — but they refuse to help you get an abortion.
They advertise “abortion pill reversal” or say you can “reverse” an abortion. (This isn’t true — you can’t reverse an abortion.)
They say abortion is unsafe, or that it leads to cancer, infertility, or mental health problems. (This isn’t true — abortion is one of the safest medical procedures. The rate of major complications is less than 1%, and it's safer than getting your wisdom teeth taken out. Abortion also doesn’t increase your risk for cancer, infertility, or mental health problems.)
They say negative things about abortion, birth control, condoms, or sex.
They don’t provide condoms or other effective birth control methods like the pill, patch, ring, shot, IUD, or implant — if they do offer birth control services, it’s usually only the fertility awareness method.
They try to pressure you into continuing a pregnancy, or placing your future baby for adoption.
They try to talk about religion even when you don't want to.
They say judgmental things about sex before marriage, single parenting, LGBTQ+ people, or people of color.
They offer items like clothes, diapers, and bottles, but you have to go to lectures and workshops from the CPC to “earn” them.
One of the easiest ways to find out if a clinic is a CPC is to look at their website for some of the warning signs listed above. You can also call and ask about their services — if they say they don’t provide abortion or effective birth control methods like condoms or the pill, and they won’t help you find a clinic that does, it’s probably not a real health center. If they’re not clear about their services or pressure you to come to the clinic in person, that’s also a huge red flag.
Trust your gut: if something seems fishy, it probably is. And if you ever feel uncomfortable at a clinic, you have the right to leave at any time.
Real health centers are open and upfront about their services. They’ll help you get the care you need, and they don’t pressure you to make certain decisions about sex, birth control, or pregnancy. Real health centers give you honest facts about all of your options — without scare tactics, shame, or judgement — so you can decide for yourself what’s right for you.
You can always trust Planned Parenthood health centers for truthful, nonjudgmental care and support around all of your sexual and reproductive health needs, including abortion, birth control, STD testing and treatment, pregnancy testing, and more. And if you’re looking for a trustworthy source to learn about your pregnancy options, including abortion, you can call your local Planned Parenthood. You can also visit abortionfinder.org.
Even if you aren’t near a Planned Parenthood health center, you can still get reliable facts about sexual and reproductive health on PlannedParenthood.org. You can also talk with a live health educator on our free, confidential Chat/Text line to get personalized information and help with finding trustworthy care in your area — no matter where you live. Chat through our website or text your question to 774636 (PPINFO) to get answers, without shame or stigma.