Monday, June 27, 2022
June 27, 2022

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Anti-abortion ‘fake clinics’ exist throughout Idaho

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BOISE, Idaho — With the U.S. Supreme Court on the verge of possibly overturning two landmark abortion rights cases by the end of this month, a trigger law could make nearly all abortions in Idaho illegal just 30 days after the Supreme Court’s decision.

A report from Politico in early May showed a leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, which would strike down the 1973 Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions that provided abortion rights. If the Supreme Court overturns the rulings, all abortions in Idaho, aside from pregnancy conceived through rape or incest, would become illegal.

But even ahead of the decision, which could come at any time before the end of June when the court recesses for the summer, Idahoans need to be aware of another issue that infringes upon abortion rights: places that have been labeled “ fake abortion clinics “ or “fake clinics.”

A “ fake clinic,” also known as a crisis pregnancy center, is a clinic that advertises services similar to an abortion clinic, but with a different agenda. Instead of performing abortion services, the staff talks women through their options but ultimately attempts to discourage them from having an abortion.

Fake clinics are often set up close to abortion clinics, according to Planned Parenthood, and advertise a range of services such as STD testing, but more often than not do not provide any substantive health care services. Although not outwardly offering abortion services, the clinics will advertise solutions for unintended pregnancies, pregnancy consultation and post-abortion care.

Lifeline Pregnancy Care Center, a crisis pregnancy center in Nampa that has been identified by the website Expose Fake Clinics, acknowledges abortion as an option on its website but does not offer it at its clinic. The organization instead warns about the dangers of having an abortion and instead offers parent support programs and information about adoption.

Just two Planned Parenthood clinics remain in Idaho after the organization’s Boise location at 3668 N. Harbor Lane closed earlier this month. The remaining clinics are located in Meridian and Twin Falls.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate, a nonprofit aimed at stopping the spread of misinformation and hate, estimated that 11% of Google searches for abortion clinics in “trigger law states,” such as Idaho, lead to crisis pregnancy center websites. The center also found that 37% of Google Map results presented anti-abortion providers as opposed to actual abortion clinics.

There are several resources to help identify fake clinics, such as Expose Fake Clinics, Crisis Pregnancy Center Map and The Fake Clinic Database.

Expose Fake Clinics has identified 21 fake clinics in Idaho.

Planned Parenthood provides a list on its website of signs that could indicate whether an abortion clinic is real or not:

  • The clinic is listed online as a “pregnancy resource center” or “pregnancy help center.”
  • The clinic advertises free pregnancy tests, abortion counseling, and other services but does not help in providing an abortion.
  • They advertise “abortion pill reversal,” which is not possible.
  • They say that abortion is not safe and can lead to cancer or infertility. Neither of these claims is true, according to Planned Parenthood. Serious complications such as heavy bleeding, damage to the womb and sepsis happen to about 1 in 1,000 women, according to the National Health Service.
  • They say abortion is illegal — which is also not true so long as Roe v. Wade remains in force.
  • The clinic says negative things about abortion, sex and contraception.
  • The clinic does not provide birth control methods such as condoms, pills or intrauterine devices, known as IUDs.
  • Workers at the clinic try to pressure you into continuing the pregnancy and sometimes offer items like baby clothes.
  • Religion is brought into the conversation surrounding abortion.
  • Workers at the clinic say judgmental things about sex before marriage and the LGBTQ+ community.

How to report a fake clinic online

If you suspect a clinic is providing misleading information and advertising itself as an actual abortion clinic you can report it to Google. On Google Maps, click the business you are concerned about and select “close or remove.” A list of options will be presented, including “offensive, harmful, or misleading,” which will then allow you to add helpful photos and information as to why the business is misleading.

Businesses can also be reported to the Idaho attorney general’s office Consumer Protection Division for deceptive business practices in trade and commerce. Complaints can be issued through the attorney general’s website, ag.idaho.gov.

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