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Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the United States: Lack of Adherence to Medical and Ethical Practice Standards; A Joint Position Statement of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology

Published:October 28, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpag.2019.10.008

      Abstract

      Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) attempt to dissuade pregnant people from considering abortion, often using misinformation and unethical practices. While mimicking health care clinics, CPCs provide biased, limited, and inaccurate health information, including incomplete pregnancy options counseling and unscientific sexual and reproductive health information. The centers do not provide or refer for abortion or contraception but often advertise in ways that give the appearance that they do provide these services without disclosing the biased nature and marked limitations of their services. Although individuals working in CPCs in the United States have First Amendment rights to free speech, their provision of misinformation might be harmful to young people and adults. The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology support the following positions: (1) CPCs pose risk by failing to adhere to medical and ethical practice standards; (2) governments should only support health programs that provide accurate, comprehensive information; (3) CPCs and individuals who provide CPC services should be held to established standards of ethics and medical care; (4) schools should not outsource sexual education to CPCs or other entities that do not provide accurate and complete health information; (5) search engines and digital platforms should enforce policies against misleading advertising by CPCs; and (6) health professionals should educate themselves, and young people about CPCs and help young people identify safe, quality sources of sexual and reproductive health information and care.

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