If you were to type “abortion in West Virginia” into a search engine, the first page of results would contain links to several crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) – faith-based, anti-choice organizations that masquerade as medical facilities in order to trick people who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies. West Virginia is burdened with 34 of these fake clinics, one of which (strategically named “Woman’s Choice”) is located less than 50 feet from the state’s sole abortion provider, the Women’s Health Center. They even share a parking lot.
Now, imagine you’re someone seeking abortion care living in the state of West Virginia. You’ve managed to make it past the first hurdle by locating the phone number of the one real clinic and making an appointment, but when you arrive in the parking lot, you find that you’re between two facilities with similar names, both of which seem to indicate they might provide abortion care. Maybe you think about how you’ve often heard the word “choice” surrounding conversations on abortion, so you walk into Woman’s Choice, assuming they’ll tell you if you’re in the wrong location.
Of course, that’s not how it happens. Instead, you give your name and are ushered into a waiting room, where you are kept until your appointment time across the parking lot has long since passed.
This sort of scenario is not at all uncommon, and unfortunately, it’s not the most sinister way CPCs block reproductive health access. For people who come to them unsure of their options, CPCs offer “counseling,” which essentially consists of an untrained volunteer asking probing questions and pressuring the person to carry...