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Heartbeat International

Heartbeat International is an Ohio-based organization that runs thousands of “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs), really anti-abortion centers, in the U.S. and more than 18 other countries, ranging from Argentina to South Africa. Heartbeat considers itself the first network of CPCs in the U.S. and “the most expansive network of pregnancy help organizations in the world.” Heartbeat’s proclaimed mission is “to make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations.” The group has strong ties to the Trump administration; Vice President Mike Pence has attended their events.

Heartbeat’s strategy to achieve its anti-abortion aims involves spreading lies and deceiving people. A February 2020 openDemocracy study found that that Heartbeat’s centers worldwide falsely told patients that “abortion increases risks of cancer or mental illness; that a woman needs consent from a partner to access abortion; and that hospitals will refuse to treat medical complications from abortion.” The organization has also misled patients into believing that their anti-abortion centers are health clinics where they can receive comprehensive reproductive healthcare.