Publication Date

April 2017


Megan Glick


Science in Society


English (United States)


Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are pro-life, often evangelically linked centers that offer support for women experiencing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. Their mission is to convince women to carry their pregnancy to term and their tactics for doing so are powerful and coercive. They tend to function within some of the most vulnerable populations with clientele consisting mainly of women of color, low socioeconomic status, substance abuse problems, abusive relationships, mental illness, or age under eighteen years. In recent years there has been a movement towards “uncovering” these centers and their deceptive tactics. While it is fantastic that society is beginning to recognize CPCs for what they are and what they do, the dialogue that has taken shape around them tends to paint the picture of these centers as extreme anomalies that blight the otherwise clean landscape of pregnancy in our society. In reality, CPCs are far from rare, are often state funded, and are not in fact extreme when one steps back and looks at the broader picture of pregnancy counseling. In this paper I use CPCs and the six interviews I conducted with CPC staff members in Connecticut as a lens through which to analyze the convoluted, confusing, ambiguous, and moralistic landscape pregnant women must navigate in an attempt to receive accurate, informative, not overburdening information regarding their pregnancy and the choices available to them. I propose that CPCs ought to be seen as microcosms, which are representative of broader societal attitudes and narratives towards pregnant women and their fetuses. In “uncovering” them, we must not miss this critical opportunity to reassess the entire landscape of support and counseling for pregnant women.



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