By Olivia McDonough

According to Pregnancy Help News, over 97% of pregnancy center clients are report a positive experience. So why are ratings of individual pregnancy centers suddenly dropping?

A new campaign called “ExposeFakeClinics” accuses pregnancy centers of deceiving women, and claims that crisis pregnancy centers are not real clinics because they do not provide a “full range of reproductive options” (meaning abortion). Of course, the irony that abortion clinics often provide pressure for only one “option” is overlooked. To advance the perception of pregnancy centers as “fake” clinics, the site makes untruthful comments about motives and procedures, and gives outright false information about objective facts such as medical licensing. It also makes statements about methods like Natural Family Planning that reveal a grave lack of knowledge, especially for a campaign making such serious accusations. Such inaccuracies are planted throughout several pages to educate women on “fake” clinics, and attempt to convince readers to stay away from them. Unfortunately, the slander does not stop at the website. It is being perpetrated throughout the internet by the campaign’s call for action.

ExposeFakeClinics encourages women who have never been to a crisis pregnancy center to post reviews of individual centers on Yelp, Google+, and Facebook. The site provides the “tips and instructions” needed to “leave reviews that will make the most impact.” It even goes so far as to insist that these are “honest” reviews, though they come from women who have never experienced care from one of these centers. In fact, many of the writers never even make phone calls before submitting poor reviews. In a final disturbing twist, the site encourages participants to grab a bottle of wine and hold a review-a-thon with their friends, as it is “way more fun” that way. As a result, real women suffer.

Although most pregnancy center reviews are positive and are from real clients, small centers with a limited number of reviews need up to fifteen five-star, real client reviews to recover from one attack. Meanwhile, the campaign members are posting about several different pregnancy centers at once, hurting all of them.While this alone could be manageable, the content of the reviews has the potential to cause serious damage. Women cannot receive care if they are turned away by false claims about the medical capabilities of the center or the kindness of the staff. (Keep in mind, real reviewers of the FRPC consistently refer to the staff as “friendly,” “wonderful,” and even “neighborhood moms!”) Everyone deserves the truth about the care that is available to them. This is where you come in!

The first step in combating fake reviews is understanding the truth. Having a knowledge base of real facts about crisis pregnancy centers and what they do is paramount to spreading awareness. Pregnancycentertruth.com is a good place to turn for those confronted with suspicious claims about pregnancy centers. Be wary of reviews that sound scripted, much different from the others, or those that come from a person who has written reviews of several pregnancy centers. The more educated we are, the more likely that a woman in need of help will be able to get the answers she needs.

The second and most important step you can take in fighting this attack on pregnancy centers is spreading the word. We want women to have the truth about their options readily available to them. You can tell your friends about the massive impact pregnancy centers have on their communities (the FRPC alone served over 360 women last year.) Point out the fact that crisis pregnancy centers are committed to building a relationship with their clients and supporting them through their pregnancies and beyond. Again, use Pregnancy Center Truth as a resource to help you counter falsehoods about medical licensing and confidentiality. Finally, and most importantly, if you or someone you know is in need of assistance, do not hesitate to call us! We are here for you.

Of course, you are always welcome to call, whether as a prospective client or as a donor, with questions you have about what we do here. We will always give you clear, honest answers. We are here to help. (540) 635-6181

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