ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison issued a consumer alert Tuesday about crisis pregnancy centers, warning people seeking reproductive care that some centers don't provide reliable and complete services.
“The Minnesota constitution guarantees the right to safe and legal abortion. Many crisis pregnancy centers claim to offer comprehensive healthcare, but their purpose is to prevent pregnant people from accessing that right — which sometimes they accomplish by misleading, misinforming, or deceiving people,” Attorney General Ellison said in a statement.
“I encourage anyone who may be pregnant to do their homework and to seek out medically accurate and sound information about their health and their options from licensed healthcare professionals,” Ellison added.
The alert, which did not identify any specific crisis pregnancy centers by name, went on to explain that some CPCs don't provide any health care services and attempt to prevent or dissuade pregnant people from accessing abortion services.
Data from a recent study of the CPC industry found that in Minnesota, CPCs outnumber abortion clinics by 11:1, more than 90% of CPCs, which are private organizations, don't have a licensed physician on staff, 80% don't have a registered nurse on staff and none offer contraception, the alert said.
Ginny Rogers is the executive director of Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center located in Brainerd, Staples, and Wadena.
"It's very generalized and rather unfair honestly," Rogers said of the alert. "We don't, here, provide medical services and we don't say that we do. If someone calls here to schedule an appointment for an abortion, the first thing that we will tell them is that we don't provide those services here. We would never tell anyone that they should schedule an appointment for that and come here."
She says services include life coaching, providing free clothing, and offering a rewards program that involves completing pieces of curriculum to earn items needed for pregnancy and parenthood. Other services can be found on the center's website.
"We hope that our clients don't choose abortion but that is their right and we refuse to do anything in the way of shaming them or scaring them into not choosing that," Rogers said.
Abortion is constitutionally protected and legal in Minnesota, affirmed by the Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 decision in Doe v. Gomez. The court determined Minnesota's Constitution guarantees the right to terminate a pregnancy.
In July, Ellison announced he would not appeal a ruling that struck down most of Minnesota's restrictions on abortion as unconstitutional. Ellison, a Democrat who supports abortion rights, said his decision was made “in the public interest," and called it "the right legal decision.”
Peggy Stacey is the director of Pregnancy & Life Resource Center Medical Clinic located in Long Prairie. She says a licensed medical doctor oversees their center and a registered nurse is on staff.
"I am appalled by Attorney General Ellison’s uninformed caution to Minnesota residents," Stacey said. "We do not advise women to not have an abortion. We offer them their choices using the Minnesota Department of Health booklet, which gives information on the three choices for a pregnant woman: abortion, parenting, adoption. We do not limit their information as Planned Parenthood does."
Stacey says resources include diapers, wipes, clothing, pack-n-plays, and other material goods. She also says they offer information and references for prenatal care, WIC, social services, nurse-family partnership, domestic abuse, food pantries, natural family planning, and childcare services.
"We never advise a woman what to choose," she said. "We offer her all of her options."
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