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Even More Reasons Why Anti-Abortion Centers Are a Threat to Our Communities: AAC and Allied Organizations’ Activity Since Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Julia Bourkland, Research Assistant | Fact Sheets


Anti-abortion centers (AACs) exist solely to deter pregnant people from receiving abortions and comprehensive reproductive health care. AAC umbrella organizations (such as Heartbeat International, Human Coalition and Care Net) and allied organizations (such as National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) and Charlotte Lozier Institute) have worked to erode abortion rights and health care access for decades. They craft dangerous political narratives and policies that harm people and their reproductive autonomy. With the overturning of Roe and Casey in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, AACs are pretending to offer bona fide help to people facing unintended pregnancies. They are falsely positioning themselves as the solution to the public health crisis they advocated for and facilitated.

Here are recent ways that AACs and allied organizations have endangered reproductive health and autonomy.

1. AAC umbrella organizations celebrated the Dobbs decision and used it as a fundraising opportunity, while their allied organizations advocate for national six-week and 15-week abortion bans and to make abortion as inaccessible as possible.

AAC umbrella organizations, such as Care Net, Heartbeat International and Human Coalition filed Dobbs amicus briefs, which directly contributed to the overturning of Roe and Casey. In a leaked private meeting, lobbying and research partners Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, Charlotte Lozier Institute and National Right to Life Committee lobbied Tennessee lawmakers to retain its total abortion ban.

The reality is that Charlotte Lozier Institute is not a legitimate research organization and will write anything to support its forced-birth agenda. Its sole purpose is to give credence to AACs and the anti-abortion movement as a whole. AAC affiliates are urging Tennessee lawmakers to keep its abortion ban as restrictive as possible because it would serve as forced-birth model legislation for the rest of the country. In fact, National Right to Life Committee is responsible for drafting model legislation. A Charlotte Lozier Institute researcher said in a leaked recording that lawmakers should “hide behind the skirts of women” who have not chosen to have abortions and hold anti-abortion views themselves. The influential networks of AACs and their affiliates are all conspiring to end safe, legal access to abortion across the country. Their collective agenda is about power and control over people’s bodies and lives, not real care.

2. AACs resist overdue efforts to regulate online search results for abortion care and claim that any oversight is unfairly targeting them.

AACs face little to no regulation when it comes to their false and misleading targeting of people seeking abortion care. In 2022, after the Center for Countering Digital Hate released a report finding that Google directs people to AACs when searching “abortion clinic near me” and “abortion pill,” Google (sort of) began to address this problem. Additionally, Senate Democrats introduced legislation that would prohibit AACs from deceptively advertising themselves. In response, AACs feign ignorance and claim that these measures are assaults on their “free speech.”

The reality is that abortion care is a time-sensitive intervention and misdirecting pregnant people to AACs is a public health concern. People seeking abortion and comprehensive reproductive care should not be directed to facilities that deliberately disinform them. Previous efforts to regulate AACs – such as the California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (Reproductive FACT) Act, which would have directed AACs to post notice of their unlicensed status and inform pregnant people of abortion options elsewhere – have been struck down on First Amendment grounds. Because NIFLA v. Becerra ruled that California’s Reproductive FACT Act “violates free speech,” there is a legal precedent that AACs can misrepresent themselves. However, these businesses should not be able to misdirect and manipulate health outcomes; people seeking abortion and comprehensive reproductive care should not be directed to facilities that will deliberately disinform them about their options or lie about how far along they are in their pregnancies. AACs are only positioning themselves as under attack because the regulation of their false advertising jeopardizes their ability to lure as many unwitting people as possible. Encouragingly, there are other ways in which AACs can be regulated. Recent consumer protection warnings by attorneys general in several states have alerted the public to their harms, including in New Jersey, Minnesota, Massachusetts and California.

3. Congress sought information on how AACs exploit personal data and health information.

When Senate Democrats requested that Heartbeat International respond to a request outlining how they collect, use and exploit people’s data and personal health information, the AAC network dismissed the Senate’s inquiry as “defamatory” and its concerns as “imagined.”

The reality is that data and personal health information in the hands of AACs and their centralized data management systems, such as Next Level Center Management Solutions, are rife for exploitation. This is especially concerning given the increased surveillance of people seeking abortions and state laws allowing people to report each other. Heartbeat International’s feigned ignorance obfuscates the fact that AACs are not subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act since they are not health care providers; therefore, they reserve the right to do whatever they would like with the data and information they store.

4. AAC allied organizations, such as the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, are suing the Food and Drug Administration over its approval of the medication abortion pill Mifeprex (mifepristone).

While AACs peddle the unsafe and unproven “abortion pill reversal” protocol, their conspirators on the legal side are looking to end all access to medication abortion. AAC allied organizations are frustrated that people are still accessing mifepristone by using inventive workarounds, even in states that already have the most restricted access.

The reality is that mifepristone is a safe medication and a highly effective method of abortion care that is increasingly necessary in a post-Roe world. Efforts to restrict access to medication abortion are contradicted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). This lawsuit is an example of the anti-abortion movement’s obsession with controlling reproductive outcomes that continues post-Dobbs.

5. AACs pretend they can take over the work of legitimate health care providers.

In their Dobbs amicus brief, Heartbeat International claims that AACs can replace reproductive health care with their “highly effective” but unlicensed staff. They disingenuously profess to help pregnant people’s economic stability and support all family formations. Likewise, Human Coalition and recruitment group Students for Life of America claim the increasing number of AACs across the country indicates they can replace abortion care.

The reality is that AACs exist solely to coerce people out of wanted abortions; they are not real health care providers. Exploiting public misunderstandings that they provide comprehensive care, AACs push disinformation, including myths that abortion causes infertility, breast cancer and mental health issues, as a fearmongering tactic. AACs spread disinformation about “abortion pill reversal,” which is not medically safe or supported by science. AACs only provide an average of $135 worth of resources per person (per their own data shared with the Supreme Court) and operate under the bootstrap narrative, a fallacy rooted in anti-Blackness and hatred of poor people. AACs divert tax and welfare dollars away from useful services. AACs foster stigma against families. The increasing number of AACs does not demonstrate a need for them but instead represents their deliberate proliferation strategy to deter more people away from essential care and promote their anti-human rights propaganda.

6. AACs perpetrate the myth that abortion care is unnecessary in the modern world.

In a strawman argument, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America and Students for Life of America claimed that the increase in cisgender women’s political representation means that abortions are unnecessary.

The reality is that abortion providers and abortion care are essential; abortion has always existed and will continue to exist as long as pregnancy exists. Access to safe and legal abortion has undoubtedly facilitated socioeconomic progress; to claim otherwise is facetious. Reproductive freedom is not separate from or in opposition to gender and racial equity and LGBTQIA+ rights. Reproductive freedom is essential for everyone’s health, well-being and self-determination.

7. AACs try to maintain relevance and legitimize themselves by using junk science.

Charlotte Lozier Institute, an anti-abortion front operating as the “research and education” arm of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, wrote in its Dobbs amicus brief that junk science renders the scientific consensus of major medical organizations “obsolete.”

The reality is that anti-abortion groups cherry-pick debunked, methodologically flawed, non-rigorous and outlier studies (several of which use no ethics review board) to push false claims. When called out, these groups conspiratorially claim they are standing up to the “politically correct” scientific “elite.” Scientific consensus holds that abortion is safe, common and normal; this is recognized by every major medical organization, including the ACOG, the WHO and the American Medical Association.

For more information on AACs, please check out our related research:

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