In the state of New Hampshire, someone who is seeking an abortion has a higher chance of being manipulated by an Anti-Abortion Center (AAC) than receiving non-biased, accurate reproductive care.
AACs outnumber actual abortion providers in the Granite State by about 4:1. Currently, there are only 6 Abortion clinics across the Granite State, compared to 22 crisis pregnancy centers.
Anti-Abortion Centers disguise themselves as reliable health clinics, but in reality they have a dangerous agenda that encourage pregnant individuals to steer away from abortions and sex in general. AACs know how to manipulate the most vulnerable, as they often advertise free pregnancy tests or ultrasounds to get patients in the door.
AAC’s are not certified medical clinics, and their providers are not licensed medical providers, which means they are not required to provide accurate medical information or follow HIPAA guidelines. These clinics are known to delay future reproductive care for patients by withholding their medical records. This can be life-threatening for individuals who may be in need of immediate assistance, and the experiences patients have at AACs can be extremely harmful to their wellbeing.
How to spot the red flags:
AACs tend to be affiliated with umbrella religious organizations, such as Heartbeat International or the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates. Since these organizations discourage abortion, they typically spread misinformation about receiving one. AACs may do this by advertising medically incorrect information, like that there are long term health consequences from having an abortion, or that someone can reverse an abortion after the process has started.
To prey on pregnant people, AACs say that abortions cause breast cancer, infertility, or mental health issues. However, according to Planned Parenthood, an in-clinic abortion is known to be one of the safest medical procedures. In fact, medication abortion is over 99% effective and safer than Tylenol.
To trick people into thinking they are a reliable clinic, the office may look legitimate– with receptionists or even resources on display. But be careful about what is being told through their presentation. Is birth control listed as an option? Do they list their staff members’ qualifications? If not, do some more digging and seek out help from a reliable clinic.
New Hampshire has 6 locations where a patient can receive an abortion: Planned Parenthood (Manchester and Keene), Equality Health Center (Concord), Dartmouth Hospital (Lebanon), Manchester OB/Gyn Associates (Manchester) and Joan G. Lovering Health Center. (Greenland). In addition to providing an abortion, these clinics have certified medical professionals that are qualified to help patients with all of their reproductive care needs, like contraception, STI testing and treatment, and more.
Most of New Hampshire’s AACs are located in the southern part of the state, in cities like Manchester and Nashua. It’s also worth mentioning that many are in areas where there are no abortion providers, such as in the North Country (Littleton, Plymouth) and the Lakes Region (Laconia, Center Ossipee), which can be particularly harmful if patients turn to these clinics because they are unable to access legitimate clinics
What can be done to ensure pregnant individuals receive the care they deserve?
Companies like Yelp are aware that many AACs purposely locate themselves near trusted reproductive clinics, like Planned Parenthood. Yelp is adding features to their site that flag Anti-Abortion Centers. That way, when a patient looks for clinics near them, they can find legitimate abortion clinics.
So where do Anti-Abortion Centers get their funding from, and how do they stay afloat? According to AP News, the federal government is allowing AACs to function by funneling millions of dollars into them yearly. New Hampshire’s current governor, Chris Sununu, also is feeding thousands of dollars to AACs in the Granite State by disguising his contributions as a “pandemic emergency grant.”
Sununu’s office granted over $64,000 in taxpayer money to Options for Women in Rochester.
On their website, Options for Women advertises that abortions cause major psychological
damage, which is a common scare tactic that anti-abortion activists use to lure people away from having abortions.
Before receiving care at a reproductive health center, look for the green flags– like birth control being offered as an option, qualifications of their staff members provided to future clients, surgical/medical abortions listed as a potential option for patients, and the use of nonjudgmental and non-bias language.
Advocating for full funding of abortion clinics is also crucial when it comes to stopping the momentum of AACs. The NH Executive Executive Council has blocked state funding this year for reproductive health facilities that provide an array of services to over 16,000 Granite Staters.
AACs are a hyper-local issue, and local governments have the power to ban them entirely. In Somerville, MA for example, AACs are outlawed throughout the city. Elected officials play a large role in access to AACs and reproductive care.
To ensure widespread education about AACs, send this post along to a friend or family member!