top of page
59.jpg


The Inspiration for Our Community Research


When we expanded into doing community research in 2023, we asked local activists about issues they felt needed attention. In response, many activists cited the issue of "fake clinics", AKA crisis pregnancy centers masquerading as abortion providers. These CPCs operate covertly, disseminating lies about abortion, birth control, and women's bodies.

We knew CPCs existed in the Central Coast, since the first CPC in the region was founded in 1998. Yet nobody had ever done a localized or systematic analysis of these CPCs and the falsehoods they were promoting. To conduct an analysis, we needed local data we could review for patterns, in order to draw fact-based conclusions.

We initially tried using tools like AbortionFinder.org and CrisisPregnancyCenterMap.com to map real and CPCs. But we soon discovered these pro-choice resources were often outdated, since CPCs rely on a strategy of changing names to escape detection. This meant we needed more robust research methods to ferret the facts from the lies.


Using the Opposition's Own Data Against Itself


Ironically, anti-choice groups did the initial research for us. One truism about anti-choice extremists is that they have more money to spend on keeping their websites up-to-date, since they don't need to spend anything on helping patients. Through these anti-choice groups, we found more accurate tools for mapping abortion providers and CPCs.

Two such tools were AbortionDocs.org and Heartbeat International's Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help. AbortionDocs.org is an anti-choice directory of abortion providers compiled by Operation Rescue, a far-right extremist group linked to the murder of pro-choice doctors. And the Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help is an international directory of CPCs.

Since we wouldn't force community members to visit extremist sites to obtain info on abortion providers or CPCs, we datamined these resources and compiled the results on our site. Trusted Abortion Providers is the most accurate clinic whitelist ever developed for Central Coast, while The CPC Watchlist identifies CPCs to avoid.


Finding Far-Right Links between Fake Clinics

 
Based on datamining, we confirmed the Central Coast is home to 12 CPCs. Four of these 12 are brazen enough to claim on their websites that they're "licensed", while failing to disclose they're merely licensed as nonmedical free clinics. None are accredited as primary care clinics, as a medical provider would. A quick search on Cal Health Find confirms this.

Cal Health Find also confirms four in 12 CPCs rely on name changes or front organizations to hide their anti-choice connections. For example, Conejo Pregnancy Center renamed itself to the more clinical "Ohana Health". Meanwhile Life Network, Inc. operates through a front organization with an equally clinical name, "Network Medical Women’s Center".

Even the anti-choice groups behind these CPCs rebranded themselves to obfuscate their religious roots. Half of CPCs in the Central Coast are affiliated with Care Net or Heartbeat International. In reality, Care Net renamed itself from "Christian Action Council", while Heartbeat International renamed itself from "Alternatives to Abortion International".


The Raw Data from Archive.org, Google & Bing


Archive.org was vital in finding the year a CPC's website was created, in order to deduce when the CPC itself was founded. We also used Google and Bing for datamining the websites of CPCs for anti-choice language and red flags, to determine the prevalence of red flags among the Central Coast's CPCs. Below are the raw Google and Bing searches we used...

  • "58% [disclose their refusal to refer for abortion] on their websites"

    • Google: site:cpcsimi.org refer abortion​

    • Google: site:ohanahealthclinic.com refer abortion

    • Google: site:venturacpc.org refer abortion

    • Google: site:vclifecenters.com refer abortion

    • Google: site:networkmedical.org refer abortion

    • Google: site:www.carenetsm.com refer abortion

    • Google: site:lifelinepregnancycenter.org refer abortion

  • "25% claim contraception is ineffective and discourage women from using any"

    • Google: site:cpcsimi.org effective

    • Google: site:networkmedical.org effective

    • Google: www.carenetsm.com effective

  • "83% of these CPCs refuse to provide basic testing [meaning only 17% provide it]"

  • "33% claim to be licensed as 'free clinics'"

    • Google: site:cpcsimi.org license

    • Google: site:ohanahealthclinic.com license

    • Google: site:vclifecenters.com license

    • Google: site:networkmedical.org license

  • "17% of the Central Coast's CPCs explicitly attack Planned Parenthood"​

    • Bing: site:vclifecenters.com planned parenthood

    • Google: site:networkmedical.org planned parenthood​

  • "42% of these CPCs use "god", "faith" and "Christ" to describe their services"

    • Google: site:cpcsimi.org faith | site:cpcsimi.org god

    • Google: site:ohanahealthclinic.com faith

    • Google: site:venturacpc.org bible | site:venturacpc.org christ

    • Google: site:vclifecenters.com bible | site:vclifecenters.com god

    • Google: site:lifelinepregnancycenter.org christ​

  • "25% of the Central Coast's CPCs promote 'abortion reversal'"

    • Google: site:ohanahealthclinic.com reverse

    • Bing: site:vclifecenters.com reversal

    • Google: site:www.ojailifechoices.org reverse

  • "33% of the Central Coast's CPCs claim miscarriage is a 'natural' alternative"​

    • Google: site:ohanahealthclinic.com miscarriage

    • Google: site:ojailifechoices.org miscarriage

    • Google: site:networkmedical.org miscarriage

    • Google: site:lifelinepregnancycenter.org miscarriage​

  • "42% of the Central Coast's CPCs lie by claiming patients suffer 'shame' or 'suicide'"

    • Google: site:cpcsimi.org shame

    • Google: site:vclifecenters.com shame | site:vclifecenters.com suicide

    • Google: site:networkmedical.org suicide

    • Google: site:carenetsm.com shame

    • Google: site:lifelinepregnancycenter.org shame | site:lifelinepregnancycenter.org suicide


Lessons for Tracking Other Anti-Choice Activity


The use of opposition data is invaluable in exposing other far-right activity. For example, are antigay therapists practicing "conversion therapy" in the Central Coast, despite California's ban on the practice? We used public data to confirm that FindChristianCounselor.com is the most reliable resource for locating conversion therapists, a project for Q2 2024.

We've even leveraged public opposition data to expose businesses with links to the anti-choice movement. Through the Anti-Choice Donors project, we've confirmed that 63 companies in the Central Coast donate to anti-choice candidates or causes. Our work is possible through OpenSecrets.org, which we've found to be a reliable tool for datamining donors.

Ultimately, the Pro-Choice Toolkit is designed to be accountable and responsive to your community. If you'd like to suggest issues you believe deserve more community research, email us at the address below. We don't assume that we know what's best for your community. Rather, we trust this community to inform us of its needs.

bottom of page