On Feb. 4, the newly renamed Dove Medical Pregnancy Diagnosis Clinic, a crisis pregnancy center (CPC), held a grand opening celebration. Pro-choice advocates such as Planned Parenthood have criticized CPCs for giving patients false information about abortion, including that abortion causes breast cancer, can lead to sterility and is psychologically damaging.
Dove Medical is “a faith-based, patient-centered organization that encourages informed decision-making about unintended pregnancy,” says Beverly Anderson, CEO of Dove Medical. The organization was started in 1985 as Lane Pregnancy Support Center.
A video posted on YouTube in 2012 (http://wkly.ws/1om) introduces Lane Pregnancy Support Center as “dedicated to saving babies’ lives and saving people’s souls.” In it, Anderson says that 90 percent of women who see ultrasounds “choose life,” which a study published in January in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology debunks. The video continues, “With your help, we can save another generation of the unborn, one life at a time.”
Anderson says she runs the only organization in the area where pregnant women can “take the time just to discuss the decisions they’re facing.” Critics of CPCs say that the clinics stress the importance of time in the decision-making process because delay can eliminate the option of getting an abortion.
A 2010 undercover study by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon found that of the 40-plus CPCs surveyed in Oregon, all of them were providing misleading information to their patrons, says Jimmy Radosta, communications director of PPOA.
Planned Parenthood is concerned about the CPCs that provide false or misleading information to young, low-income women at a vulnerable time in their lives and that mislead them with medical intake forms and staff in lab coats, Radosta says. These facilities are not categorized as health care providers and are mainly run by volunteers in an unregulated environment.
Last year, Planned Parenthood introduced SB 490 into the Oregon Legislature in an effort to change some of the practices often employed by CPCs. The bill would have required that certain health-related organizations and businesses, including CPCs, clearly disclose information about the nature of their services. It would have prohibited these places from releasing health information about a patient without that person’s written consent, a stipulation already required of Oregon health care providers through HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). The bill did not make it out of committee but will be modified and reintroduced next year, Radosta says.
Unlike other CPCs, Anderson says Dove Medical complies entirely with HIPAA regulations by granting patients access to their medical records and actively protecting patient confidentiality. She adds that Dove has a licensed nurse on duty during all open hours and the initial paperwork includes the transparent truth that the facility does not refer for or perform abortions.
Anderson opposed SB 490 because “individuals and organizations have the right to craft their message however they choose to.” She told The Lund Report that “the bill was specifically designed to target crisis pregnancy centers because they espouse anti-abortion views.”
While Radosta was clear that he was not familiar with the specific practices of Dove Medical, he saw more honesty from its website than from other CPCs.
“We are pleased to see Dove Medical’s website promises accurate information and makes it clear they do not provide abortion referrals,” Radosta says. “We hope that they continue to adhere to this.”