Men’s Catholic order gave secret millions to ‘deceptive’ anti-abortion centres

Revealed: Tax filings show Knights of Columbus ploughed at least $10.8m into ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ in six years

Open Democracy – by Diana Cariboni, Angelina De Los Santos, Mónica Cordero
14 February 2024

A multi-billion-dollar all-male Catholic order in the US has handed at least $10.8m to hundreds of anti-abortion centres in six years, openDemocracy can reveal – several times what was previously known.

Founded in the 19th century to assist Irish widows and orphans in the US, the Knights of Columbus – named after Christopher Columbus – funded at least 485 of the 2,500 so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ in America between 2017 and 2022, our analysis of hundreds of documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) found. The order claims to have two million members.


California Brings First-Time Lawsuit Against Anti-Abortion Movement’s ‘Abortion Pill Reversal’ Scheme

“Those who are struggling with the complex decision to get an abortion deserve support and trustworthy guidance—not lies and misinformation,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta.


California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit on Sept. 21 against a chain of California crisis pregnancy centers and its national parent organization for false advertising of “abortion pill reversal” (APR)—an unproven and possibly dangerous high-dose progesterone intervention the anti-abortion movement claims can “reverse” an underway medication abortion. This is the first lawsuit in the country challenging the CPC industry’s promotion of APR.

AG Bonta’s complaint charges RealOptions Obria, a five-site crisis pregnancy center chain in Northern California, and the Ohio-based Heartbeat International with violating California’s False Advertising Law and Unfair Competition law by falsely advertising “abortion pill reversal” as safe and effective. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to block further dissemination of the misleading claims, in addition to other remedies and penalties available under state law.


Global Opposition To Abortion Is Getting More Strategic

Aug 31, 2023
By Amanda Seller, President MSI United States (for Forbes EQ)

In 2023, a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the opposition to abortion rights is more strategic, better funded and more harmful than at any point in history. Despite a growing global trend toward less restrictive access to abortion care, the opposition continues to have significant impact on the right to choose.

There are many factors contributing to their impact over the past decade, Conservative politicians have found abortion to be a mobilizing issue that can be used to “get out the vote.” They merge anti-choice sentiment with anti-LGBTQI+ and anti- gender-equality movements, to appeal to conservative audiences more comfortable with traditional patriarchal systems where women have fewer rights. Social media and cable television opinion programs provide opportunities to amplify their narratives in environments unchallenged by different opinions. The momentum they gained during the Trump administration when he expanded the global gag rule, continues to arouse anti-choice sentiment and cultivate opposition to choice activity around the world.


USA – Anti-Abortion Centers Spent Over $600M in One Year. That’s the Tip of the Iceberg.

Documents reviewed by Rewire News Group suggest the total may have been closer $1 billion. Where is all that "crisis pregnancy center" money going?

AUG 30, 2023

“Crisis pregnancy centers,” or anti-abortion centers, are known for deceiving and manipulating people seeking information about abortion. They often pose as legitimate abortion clinics, intentionally obscuring their real purpose. They promote dangerous medical misinformation such as abortion pill “reversal.” They also discourage safer sex practices, and because few of them are actual medical facilities, they don’t adhere to medical standards for confidentiality and safety.

For example, a Massachusetts woman sued a CPC in June for failing to diagnose her ectopic pregnancy, which resulted in an emergency surgery and the loss of her fallopian tube. Months earlier, a Kentucky nurse came forward to reveal that a CPC where she had volunteered was failing to properly sterilize its transvaginal ultrasound equipment.


How an anti-abortion group in Brazil spreads disinformation with public cash

A São Paulo anti-abortion centre has forged lucrative ties to leading far-right political figure

Raphaela Ribeiro
2 June 2023

“PREGNANT?” scream the posters on São Paulo’s metro system, used by five million commuters every day. “Are you confused or completely alone…What are your options?” The urgent questions are superimposed on the silhouette of a woman’s face. Below is the logo of an organisation known as Cervi (Centre for Life Restructuring), followed by two phone numbers and the invitation “Call Us”.

Cervi has operated across Brazil for two decades and is linked to the Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC), a US network. Since the 1970s, the PRC has helped create so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ across the US and in several other countries. The crisis pregnancy centres, many of which are linked to large evangelical Christian networks such as Heartbeat International and CareNet, pose as abortion service providers. However, their real mission is to dissuade women and pregnant people from having an abortion using tactics such as disinformation and emotional pressure, as a 2020 openDemocracy investigation revealed.


Colorado becomes the first state to ban controversial abortion pill reversals

As pills emerge as the latest front in the war over abortion, the practice of administering progesterone after mifepristone may soon be labeled as ‘medical misconduct’ in the state.

Claire Cleveland, KFF Health News
May 3, 2023

In Glenwood Springs, Colorado, registered nurse Katie Laven answers calls from people who’ve started the two-pill medication abortion regimen and want to stop the process.

“They are just in turmoil,” said Laven, who works at the Abortion Pill Rescue Network and answers some of the roughly 150 calls it says come in each month. “They feel like, ‘Well, maybe an abortion would make it better.’ And then they take the abortion pill and they’re like, ‘I don’t feel better. In fact, I feel much worse that I did that.’”


‘If we can do it, you can do it’: US anti-abortion groups ramp up activities in UK

Emboldened by victories at home, some of the most prominent American anti-abortion groups are exporting their tactics overseas

Katherine Stewart
Sun 2 Apr 2023

Anti-abortion groups are stepping up efforts to spread US-style abortion politics to the UK, ramping up spending with the ambition of shaking up political life beyond American borders.

Fresh off their historic victory in bringing about the end of the constitutional right to abortion in the US, these groups are importing familiar tactics, including public protests and demonstrations, anti-abortion counseling centers or so-called “crisis pregnancy centers”, and the cultivation of ties with clerical leaders.


‘It’s a public health risk’: nurse decries infection control at US anti-abortion crisis center

A Kentucky nurse tried to hold a pregnancy center accountable for the problems she saw – but such facilities are subject to little regulation

Laura C Morel
Thu 2 Feb 2023

At 52, Susan Rames was looking for a way to give back. She worked part-time at a Kentucky hospital as a postpartum nurse and, with her three children nearly grown, she had some extra time during the week.

Motivated by her Christian faith, Rames decided to volunteer at ALC Pregnancy Resource Center, a crisis pregnancy center whose mission is to discourage people from seeking abortions.


USA – Anti-abortion pregnancy centers are deceiving patients – and getting away with it

One Florida case shows just how little authorities are doing to hold pregnancy centers accountable, even when the risks to women – and evidence – are significant

Laura C Morel for Reveal
Thu 15 Dec 2022

Patricia Henderson stood in the parking lot next to the Florida Women’s center in Jacksonville, wearing a white lab coat and greeting patients as they emerged from their cars. Their abortion appointments, she told them, were in the flat-roofed building across the road.

Once inside, Henderson handed them three pages of paperwork to fill out – questions about everything from their highest level of education to the date of their last period. State investigative documents lay out what clients say happened next: she led them to a pink-walled ultrasound room, where she would reveal their pregnancies in grainy images that, according to leading medical groups, only a licensed physician or a specially trained advanced practice nurse should interpret.


USA – A woman who mistakenly visited an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center said she was met with pushback for seeking an abortion

'I just was not ready, and words can't make you ready for that'

Hannah Getahun, Isabella Zavarise, and Katie Nixdorf
Dec 5, 2022

Estefanía thought she was making an appointment to get an abortion.  

Fearing she might be pregnant after a missed period, she typed "abortion pill near me" into Google and went to the first clinic that came up on the web page. When she got to The Keim Center in Virginia Beach, it didn't look or smell like a medical clinic — it was too nice, too inviting.