Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo made broad-brush slanderous accusations against California’s 162 pro-life pregnancy care centers in a hearing last week, calling them “fake…not licensed” clinics that “intentionally mislead women” into thinking these clinics provide abortions when they don’t. Schiavo made these false statements before the Assembly Health Committee in support of AB 710, a bill she authored to create a public awareness campaign that “seeks to expose fake crisis pregnancy centers.” Ironically, the only two pregnancy care centers in Schiavo’s legislative district both have medical clinic licenses from the State of California and state on every page of their websites that they don’t provide abortions.
According to the California Alliance of Pregnancy Care, California pregnancy care centers, also called crisis pregnancy centers, are mostly faith-based non-profits with the majority affiliated with at least one of the following national organizations NIFLA, Care Net, Heartbeat, Birthright. There are currently 162 organizations across the state, which include 87 state-licensed clinics and 11 AAAHC-accredited clinics.
“I see it as extremely dangerous that these fake pregnancy centers present themselves as medical clinics, to be clear, they are not licensed medical clinics,” Schiavo said in her opening statement before the Assembly Health Committee last Tuesday. “While women are in their most vulnerable state working to get reliable medical information and possibly referrals for abortion care they instead, are met with shaming and fear tactics, and fed miss information about abortions… .”
Heidi Matzke, the Director of Alternatives Pregnancy Care Center in Sacramento, and Atoria Foley, a client from Alternatives Pregnancy Center, testified in opposition to AB 710. They were joined by 28 individuals who lined up to state their opposition including OBGYNs, doctors, nurse practitioners and others who provide pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, abortion pill reversal, STD testing and treatment, prenatal care, gynecological care, abortion recovery classes, well-woman visits, pap smears, breast exams, HIV testing and referrals, contraception education, parenting classes, and community referrals material assistance at pregnancy care centers.
AB 710 “defames and falsely accuses licensed medical clinics,” Matzke testified. “This bill seeks to discredit the very facilities that women deserve to have access to.”
CFC acknowledges that not all pregnancy care centers in California are licensed medical clinics, but Schiavo does not make that distinction in her remarks. Her claim that pregnancy care centers are “fake” health clinics is a broad brush mischaracterization that is obviously false.
Schiavo has two Pregnancy Care Centers within Assembly District 40, which she represents. She didn’t bother to research these clinics before slandering them. If she did, she would see that they both are state licensed medical clinics with disclaimers on every page of their websites stating they don’t provide abortions.
SCV Pregnancy Center, located in Santa Clarita, has been serving women in Schiavo’s district for 35 years. At SCV “thousands of clients and patients have been helped by caring and concerned staff and volunteers.” SCV Pregnancy Center also clarifies that they are “a non-profit Community Health Clinic specializing in pregnancy confirmations provided by a licensed physician.” This pregnancy center even clearly provides their “California State Community Clinic License # 550000674” on the website.
Every page of the website includes a list of services they do not provide. “Our services do not include extended OB/GYN or prenatal care, nor do we perform or refer for abortion services, the abortion pill, emergency contraception, or birth control.”
Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic, in Northridge and located in Schiavos’ district is a “Community Health Clinic medically licensed by the State of California Department of Public Health specializing in pregnancy confirmation and helping those facing unintended pregnancy explore their options.” They also state on every page what services they don’t provide. “We do not provide extended OB/GYN or prenatal care or STD/STI testing or treatment, nor do we perform or refer for abortion services, the abortion pill, emergency contraception, or birth control.”