The following comes from a May 1 LA Times article by Robin Abcarian:
You’ve seen the billboards up and down the state: “Pregnant and scared?”
Well, Dania Flores wasn’t pregnant but she was a little bit scared the first time she visited a crisis pregnancy center. A recent high school graduate, she was working undercover, posing as a pregnant teen to gather intel on these operations, which have but one goal: to prevent abortion.
Last year, Flores visited 43 crisis pregnancy centers around California, many in impoverished parts of the Central Valley. She was recruited by NARAL Pro-Choice California to help bolster political support for a law that would force crisis pregnancy centers to inform women that they might be entitled to state-funded support for all reproductive health services, including prenatal care and abortion.
In an interview Monday at NARAL’s office here, Flores told me she did not record her visits, which would have violated California law, but recorded herself immediately after most visits, sometimes in the car, while the details were still fresh.
Similar investigations have been conducted around the country. Vice Media also went undercover. In April, Cosmopolitan published an account of a crisis pregnancy center conference where the work was described as a ministry.
In all her visits to CPCs, Flores said she was never informed that abortion was a safe, legal alternative to childbirth. She was never told that California’s Medi-Cal program covered the cost of reproductive services, including abortion. Nor that time was of the essence.
Instead, she says, she was misled and shamed by anti-abortion activists masquerading as concerned healthcare providers.
In Burbank, she was asked to watch a video of an actual abortion. In Hollywood and Lodi, staffers shared with her the guilt they felt after their own abortions.
In Mountain View, she agreed to a free vaginal ultrasound after a regular ultrasound did not detect a fetus — because, of course, there wasn’t one. After inserting the wand, the sonogram technician mistook Flores’ IUD for a fetus, and informed her it did not have a heartbeat.
Every clinic spouted the lie that abortions cause breast cancer. “You’re 16 and they’re telling you you’re going to get breast cancer,” Flores said. “You don’t want to get breast cancer, so you don’t do it.”
“A lot of what they said to Dania is outrageous,” said Rebecca Griffin of NARAL Pro-Choice California. “But it’s all corroborated with their print materials.”