Resolution 9: Unbiased, Evidence-Based, Transparent, and Private Pregnancy Services

Brought by: Natalie Cheung-Jones, DO; Madie Gore, MD

WHEREAS, crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are often religiously affiliated entities representing themselves as medical clinics providing legitimate medical care for pregnant patients “but actually aim to dissuade people from accessing certain types of reproductive health care, including abortion care and even contraceptive options”1, and

WHEREAS, CPCs purposely use misleading tactics with a goal of promoting anti-abortion and anti-contraception propaganda, including fabricating claims of associations between abortion and cancer; purposely providing inaccurate gestational ages to prevent patients from seeking timely abortion care; and providing inaccurate information about the risks of hormonal contraceptives1,2,3, and

WHEREAS, most CPCs clinics are unregulated and run by unlicensed volunteers who are not required to adhere to medical ethics standards or patient privacy laws,4 causing safety threats to all people seeking care. For example, workers at CPCs “wear white coats despite having no medical training, they fail to disclose that they are not a medical facility ... They offer ultrasound services, which they may not be licensed to interpret, for the purpose of using fetal images to deter women from abortion,”5, and

WHEREAS, CPCs do not follow evidence-based medical guidelines nor provide equitable access to reproductive health care as their free-of-charge services disproportionately target lower-income and uninsured people who have historically been marginalized, and

WHEREAS, legislatures in 12 states passed 25 bills in 2023 providing at least $250 million for CPCs in taxpayer funds or tax credits10, and

WHEREAS, overwhelming evidence exists demonstrating the safety of abortions and even demonstrate a lower mortality rate than pregnancy in the United States, and

WHEREAS, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is not a religiously affiliated organization and promotes equitable, unbiased access to reproductive health care, and

WHEREAS, the AAFP promotes evidence-based medicine and values patient autonomy rather than prioritize opinions over patients’ health, and

WHEREAS, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology came out with a statement opposing CPCs in 2022, stating that they endanger public health1, and

WHEREAS, an article was published by the American Medical Association (AMA) Journal of Ethics describing the unethical nature of CPCs in 20184, and

WHEREAS, the AMA has current policy, H420.954, advocating for all pregnancy-related services be performed by qualified individuals, following health information privacy regulations, and services are truthful and transparent. Additionally, that public funding only be used to support “complete, non-directive, medically accurate health information to support patients’ informed, voluntary decisions”9, and

WHEREAS, current AAFP policy titled “Reproductive Decisions, Training in” states, “there is an ethical obligation to provide complete and accurate medical information and referrals for desired services for all patients, and to ensure that when referrals are made, they are made for appropriate evidenced-based services”6,

WHEREAS, in 2022 the Seattle, WA, City Council passed legislation “prohibit[ing] crisis pregnancy centers from disseminating untrue statements about the pregnancy-related services they offer, including statement of omission”7, 8, now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, the Washington Academy of Family Physicians create a policy statement aligned with the American Medical Association policy H420.954 supporting truthful and transparent services and following all health information privacy regulations by any clinic caring for pregnant patients, and be it further

RESOLVED, the Washington Academy of Family Physicians create a policy statement aligned with the American Medical Association policy H420.954 advocating for public funding only be used to support “complete, non-directive, medically accurate health information to support patients’ informed, voluntary decisions”, and be it further

RESOLVED, the Washington Academy of Family Physicians advocate to Washington State Legislature to write a bill aligned with the 2022 Seattle City Council legislation “prohibit[ing] crisis pregnancy centers from disseminating untrue statements about the pregnancy-related services they offer, including statement of omission”, and be it further

RESOLVED, the Washington Academy of Family Physician bring a resolution to the American Academy of Family Physicians Congress of Delegates to create a policy statement aligned with the American Medical Association policy H420.954 supporting truthful and transparent services and following all health information privacy regulations by any clinic caring for pregnant patients, and be it further

RESOLVED, the Washington Academy of Family Physician bring a resolution to the American Academy of Family Physicians Congress of Delegates to create a statement against using taxpayer dollars to fund crisis pregnancy centers in alignment with the American Medical Association policy statement H420.954 stating, “public funding only support programs that provide complete, non-directive, medically accurate health information to support patients’ informed, voluntary decisions.”

References:

  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2022, October). Issue brief: Crisis pregnancy centers. Issue Brief: Crisis Pregnancy Centers. https://www.acog.org/advocacy/abortion-is-essential/trending-issues/issue-brief-crisis-pregnancycenters
  2. Rosen, J. D. (2012). The Public Health Risks of crisis pregnancy centers. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 44(3), 201–205. https://doi.org/10.1363/4420112
  3. Montoya MN, Judge-Golden C, Swartz JJ. The Problems with Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Reviewing the Literature and Identifying New Directions for Future Research. Int J Womens Health. 2022 Jun 8;14:757-763. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S288861. PMID: 35706995; PMCID: PMC9189146.
  4. Bryant, A. G., & Swartz, J. J. (2018). Why Crisis Pregnancy Centers Are Legal but Unethical. American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, 20, 269–277. https://doi.org/10.1001
  5. Polcyn C, Swiezy S, Genn L, Wickramage P, Sidiqqui N, Johnson C, Nair P, Bernard C, Miller V. Truth and Transparency in Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Womens Health Rep (New Rochelle). 2020 Jul 27;1(1):224-226. doi: 10.1089/whr.2020.0057. PMID: 33786483; PMCID: PMC7784822.
  6. Reproductive decisions, training in. American Academy of Family Physicians. (2022, September). https://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/reproductive-decisions-training.html
  7. AN ORDINANCE relating to limited services pregnancy centers; prohibiting false and misleading advertising by limited services pregnancy centers; and adding a new Chapter 7.32 to the Seattle Municipal Code, CB120399, Chapter 7.32 (2022) https://seattle.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=11115639&GUID=FB8D857A-721C-496F-85B8-6B72D678EFB0
  8. Franz, J. (2023, January 6). Seattle City Council passes legislation to prohibit deceptive practices of ’crisis pregnancy centers’. Seattle City Council Blog. https://council.seattle.gov/2022/09/06/seattle-city-council-passes-legislation-to-prohibit-deceptive-practices-of-crisis-pregnancy-centers/
  9. American Academy of Family Physicians. (2022). Policy finder. AMA Policy Finder. https://policysearch.ama-assn.org/policyfinder/detail/truth?uri=%2FAMADoc%2FHOD.xml-0-3697.xml
  10. Kindy, K. (2023, September 14). Partisan battle grows over state funding for antiabortion centers. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/09/14/gop-lawmakers-crisis-pregnancy-centers-state-funding/