Dania Flores was recruited by NARAL Pro-Choice California to visit Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) and pose as a pregnant woman in an effort to expose the lies and shame women encounter when they’re scared and vulnerable. The goal of the undercover experiment was to strengthen support for a law that would force CPCs to inform pregnant women they may be entitled to state funding for reproductive services including prenatal care and abortion.
Flores said she didn’t record the actual visits – which would be a violation of California law – however she did record herself (video below) after the visits while the conversations with staff were still fresh in her mind.
In all her experiences, Flores said she was never informed that California’s Medi-Cal program covers the cost of reproductive healthcare – including the cost of abortions. And she was also never told that abortion is safe and legal.
Flores said she was misled and that clinic staff attempted to use shame as a tactic.
From the LA Times:
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.
She reported that CPC staff members discouraged the use of birth control. They warned that condoms “have a bunch of little holes,” and that pills cause headaches and “put hormones in your body you don’t need.”
“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.”
There are 160 CPCs in California – some of which are licensed medical clinics, but many are not. Some of those clinics receive federal funds designated for abstinence programs but most clinics are privately funded.