Analysis Religion

State Legislatures Increasingly Provide Tax-Payer Funding of Non-Medical Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Robin Marty

Low cost loans, tax credits for pregnancy centers? Anti-choice activists are going far beyond license plates now.

Crisis pregnancy centers, the so-called “abortion alternatives” arm of the anti-choice movement, have a long and complicated history when it comes to deception and subterfuge. Many of the original pregnancy help centers were actually formed to house radical anti-choice activists, providing office space and proximity to medical clinics, so they could easily harass patients arriving for reproductive health care. Randall Terry started his Operation Rescue campaigns working out of a crisis pregnancy center dubbed “Project Life” in New York in 1984, and later Operation Rescue organizer Chris Slattery pushed towards a veneer of legitimacy by introducing the idea of on-site ultrasounds and medical staff.

Regardless of whom is on the staff, however, the fact remains that a key tenet of crisis pregnancy centers is to convince a pregnant woman to continue a pregnancy by any means necessary and, when possible, to proselytize. As C.L Cooper wrote in a 2001 piece for WomensENews:

[B]ased on the centers’ description of themselves and other indications, it appears that religious proselytizing is at the heart of most of the 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers across the country, and the essential service they are delivering appears to be a religious anti-abortion message.

“The most rewarding thing for me personally is when I see a woman not only choose to carry her child, but also choose to make Jesus as the Lord and Savior of her life,” said Sally Rosiek on an October 17 broadcast by Focus on the Family, a religious right anti-abortion organization. Rosiek is the director of a crisis pregnancy center.

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“So it’s evangelical in nature?” asked host James Dobson, the group’s president. “It certainly is,” Rosiek bragged. “The salvation rate for crisis pregnancy centers is higher than churches.” It is, she said, “friendship evangelism.”

It’s been well over a decade since Cooper wrote those words, but the only thing that has changed is that CPCs are no longer subtle about their grab for taxpayer funding and, instead, have become outright aggressive. No longer are they content with the dollars they receive as part of abstinence-only eduction programs or from states like Minnesota which offer them funding in exchange for allegedly “providing support” to women who want to continue unintended pregnancies. Instead, many are looking for new ways to get additional taxpayer support not only in spite of their religious dogma but in some states because of the very issues that would have many taxpayers uncomfortable with them in the first place.

Not content to subsist on benevolent donations, Care Net Pregnancy Center, a deceptive CPC chain with sites in Wisconsin, petitioned the city of Madison for low-interest loans on over half a million dollars the group wanted in order to build a 36-unit apartment building to house women with unintended pregnancies during and for some time after the birth. After concern over the CPCs misleading health care information, the sponsors of the proposal on the city council eventually withdrew their support. Otherwise, the group may have received those funds from the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Community Development Housing Reserve Fund.

Misleading and inaccurate health information was also cited as a concern in the Missouri debate over whether crisis pregnancy centers should be allowed to receive the same tax credits as food banks or organizations that help needy children. Opponents of the bill said no, pointing to the misleading information the groups give out as they try to coerce women out of abortions and birth control. Bill supporters, on the other hand, argued that there was just a disagreement over what “medically accurate” really means in the first place. Mike Lear at MissouriNet reported:

Missouri Catholic Conference spokesman Tyler McClay questioned the definition of what is “medically accurate.”

“I can show you studies that suggest that (abortion is a risk factor for breast cancer),” McClay says. “I can show you studies that say it is not a risk factor. So, I guess the question is, ‘What’s medically accurate?’ That’s going to be difficult to define, I think, in law. That would be my concern with that.”

Even without tax credits for donations, crisis pregnancy centers often are able to take advantage of city, state and federal funding for doing infrastructure work, freeing up their other funds to be used in their proselytizing, as Sofia Resnick reported back in November of 2012. If this was a Planned Parenthood affiliate, there would be charges of fungible funds and indirect supporting by taxpayers for something which they may disagree. But since these are religiously-affiliated organizations, no one makes a peep.

In fact, Missouri is bending over backwards to ensure that crisis pregnancy centers can both continue receiving any sort of funding they can get from government entities and still fully engage in their religious activities, especially when “counseling” the pregnant. Both the House and Senate have introduced bills stating:

188.125. 1. It is the intent of the general assembly to acknowledge the rights of an alternatives-to-abortion agency and its officers, agents, employees, and volunteers to freely assemble and to freely engage in religious practices and speech without governmental interference, and that the constitutions and laws of the United States and the state of Missouri shall be interpreted, construed, applied, and enforced to fully protect such rights.

       2. A political subdivision of this state is preempted from enacting, adopting, maintaining, or enforcing any order, ordinance, rule, regulation, policy, or other similar measure that prohibits, restricts, limits, controls, directs, interferes with, or otherwise adversely affects an alternatives-to-abortion agency or its officers, agents, employees, or volunteers’ assembly, religious practices, or speech, including but not limited to counseling, referrals, or education of, advertising or information to, or other communications with, clients, patients, other persons, or the public.

So the state would be subsidizing efforts to convert low-income mothers-to-be. It’s a bill so good you almost have to wonder if the crisis pregnancy centers wrote it themselves.

In Idaho, a new bill being pushed would exempt crisis pregnancy centers (but only crisis pregnancy centers, not any place that offers abortions). Idaho Republican Rep. Kelly Packer told a committee hearing that she wrote the bill to exempt crisis pregnancy centers after meeting with Brandi Swindell of Stanton Health Center, who was recently audited and owed thousands in unpaid taxes. Betsy Russell of the Idaho Spokesman-Review reports:

Freshman Rep. Kelly Packer, R-McCammon, said she crafted the bill after meeting Stanton Healthcare’s head, anti-abortion activist Brandi Swindell, who told her the organization had recently been audited and had to pay $6,000 in back sales taxes.

“They unfortunately had not been paying (sales) taxes for seven years,” Packer told the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on Wednesday. “They thought they were already under a tax-exemption umbrella, and found out unfortunately that they weren’t. And that $6,000, though not maybe a lot for the state of Idaho, provides a hardship for their facility.”

According to NPR, the actual purchase was for two ultrasound machines (presumably this machine in 2010 was one of them), but either way, Parker was adamant that the bill applied only to crisis pregnancy centers, no other medical centers, and especially not those who provide abortions. Russell writes:

Packer told the panel, “I’m not sure why some are chosen and some are not, and today I speak primarily for this individual organization rather than the whole group.” Packer said she excluded pregnancy resource centers that perform abortions from the tax break in her bill “because of my personal moral code.” If the bill becomes law, it would add the pregnancy centers to a section of state law that provides sales tax exemptions for a specific list of organizations including the March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society, the Special Olympics and the Idaho Ronald McDonald House.

That the bill was written expressly to help Swindell isn’t in doubt. Whether the bill was written by Packer or someone on the legislative side, or by Swindell or her staff, is a little more fuzzy. Swindell herself obviously takes ownership of the bill, referring to it multiple times on her Facebook page as “our legislation” in recent postings. Her assistant implies a bit more, telling a friend on twitter in early January that she won’t see her in D.C. later that month for the March for Life because “we’re pushing legislation through in ID” at the same time (the bill was initially introduced on January 25th), or tweeting in December that she “went from writing legislation to picking up Brandi’s dry cleaning.”

If Stanton Healthcare did in fact write state legislation, it would by no means be the first anti-choice organization to do so, nor even be the first crisis pregnancy center to write bills directly benefiting themselves. After all, Alpha Center and their lawyer, Harold Cassidy, were believed to have been highly involved in the drafting of the mandatory crisis pregnancy center counseling and 72 hour wait bill in South Dakota, a bill that would greatly increase the number of clients who would go through their doors.

As CPCs continue to pass off inaccurate medical information as a “religious right to free speech,” they are coming up with even more egregious ways to force all taxpayers to fund them, regardless of our personal feelings about their mission or their religious beliefs. If they are now going to be the ones advising or even writing the legislation that will fatten their own wallets while the continue to mislead and discriminate, can someone please propose a “No Taxpayer Funding of Crisis Pregnancy Centers” bill of our own?

Analysis Abortion

‘Pro-Life’ Pence Transfers Money Intended for Vulnerable Households to Anti-Choice Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Jenn Stanley

Donald Trump's running mate has said that "life is winning in Indiana"—and the biggest winner is probably a chain of crisis pregnancy centers that landed a $3.5 million contract in funds originally intended for poor Hoosiers.

Much has been made of Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s record on LGBTQ issues. In 2000, when he was running for U.S. representative, Pence wrote that “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s [sic] as a ‘discreet and insular minority’ [sic] entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.” He also said that funds meant to help people living with HIV or AIDS should no longer be given to organizations that provide HIV prevention services because they “celebrate and encourage” homosexual activity. Instead, he proposed redirecting those funds to anti-LGBTQ “conversion therapy” programs, which have been widely discredited by the medical community as being ineffective and dangerous.

Under Pence, ideology has replaced evidence in many areas of public life. In fact, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has just hired a running mate who, in the past year, has reallocated millions of dollars in public funds intended to provide food and health care for needy families to anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers.

Gov. Pence, who declined multiple requests for an interview with Rewire, has been outspoken about his anti-choice agenda. Currently, Indiana law requires people seeking abortions to receive in-person “counseling” and written information from a physician or other health-care provider 18 hours before the abortion begins. And thanks, in part, to other restrictive laws making it more difficult for clinics to operate, there are currently six abortion providers in Indiana, and none in the northern part of the state. Only four of Indiana’s 92 counties have an abortion provider. All this means that many people in need of abortion care are forced to take significant time off work, arrange child care, and possibly pay for a place to stay overnight in order to obtain it.

This environment is why a contract quietly signed by Pence last fall with the crisis pregnancy center umbrella organization Real Alternatives is so potentially dangerous for Indiana residents seeking abortion: State-subsidized crisis pregnancy centers not only don’t provide abortion but seek to persuade people out of seeking abortion, thus limiting their options.

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“Indiana is committed to the health, safety, and wellbeing [sic] of Hoosier families, women, and children,” reads the first line of the contract between the Indiana State Department of Health and Real Alternatives. The contract, which began on October 1, 2015, allocates $3.5 million over the course of a year for Real Alternatives to use to fund crisis pregnancy centers throughout the state.

Where Funding Comes From

The money for the Real Alternatives contract comes from Indiana’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, a federally funded, state-run program meant to support the most vulnerable households with children. The program was created by the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act signed by former President Bill Clinton. It changed welfare from a federal program that gave money directly to needy families to one that gave money, and a lot of flexibility with how to use it, to the states.

This TANF block grant is supposed to provide low-income families a monthly cash stipend that can be used for rent, child care, and food. But states have wide discretion over these funds: In general, they must use the money to serve families with children, but they can also fund programs meant, for example, to promote marriage. They can also make changes to the requirements for fund eligibility.

As of 2012, to be eligible for cash assistance in Indiana, a household’s maximum monthly earnings could not exceed $377, the fourth-lowest level of qualification of all 50 states, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. Indiana’s program also has some of the lowest maximum payouts to recipients in the country.

Part of this is due to a 2011 work requirement that stripped eligibility from many families. Under the new work requirement, a parent or caretaker receiving assistance needs to be “engaged in work once the State determines the parent or caretaker is ready to engage in work,” or after 24 months of receiving benefits. The maximum time allowed federally for a family to receive assistance is 60 months.

“There was a TANF policy change effective November 2011 that required an up-front job search to be completed at the point of application before we would proceed in authorizing TANF benefits,” Jim Gavin, a spokesman for the state’s Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), told Rewire. “Most [applicants] did not complete the required job search and thus applications were denied.”

Unspent money from the block grant can be carried over to following years. Indiana receives an annual block grant of $206,799,109, but the state hasn’t been using all of it thanks to those low payouts and strict eligibility requirements. The budget for the Real Alternatives contract comes from these carry-over funds.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, TANF is explicitly meant to clothe and feed children, or to create programs that help prevent “non-marital childbearing,” and Indiana’s contract with Real Alternatives does neither. The contract stipulates that Real Alternatives and its subcontractors must “actively promote childbirth instead of abortion.” The funds, the contract says, cannot be used for organizations that will refer clients to abortion providers or promote contraceptives as a way to avoid unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

Parties involved in the contract defended it to Rewire by saying they provide material goods to expecting and new parents, but Rewire obtained documents that showed a much different reality.

Real Alternatives is an anti-choice organization run by Kevin Bagatta, a Pennsylvania lawyer who has no known professional experience with medical or mental health services. It helps open, finance, and refer clients to crisis pregnancy centers. The program started in Pennsylvania, where it received a $30 million, five-year grant to support a network of 40 subcontracting crisis pregnancy centers. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called for an audit of the organization between June 2012 and June 2015 after hearing reports of mismanaged funds, and found $485,000 in inappropriate billing. According to the audit, Real Alternatives would not permit DHS to review how the organization used those funds. However, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in April that at least some of the money appears to have been designated for programs outside the state.

Real Alternatives also received an $800,000 contract in Michigan, which inspired Gov. Pence to fund a $1 million yearlong pilot program in northern Indiana in the fall of 2014.

“The widespread success [of the pilot program] and large demand for these services led to the statewide expansion of the program,” reads the current $3.5 million contract. It is unclear what measures the state used to define “success.”

 

“Every Other Baby … Starts With Women’s Care Center”

Real Alternatives has 18 subcontracting centers in Indiana; 15 of them are owned by Women’s Care Center, a chain of crisis pregnancy centers. According to its website, Women’s Care Center serves 25,000 women annually in 23 centers throughout Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Women’s Care Centers in Indiana received 18 percent of their operating budget from state’s Real Alternatives program during the pilot year, October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015, which were mostly reimbursements for counseling and classes throughout pregnancy, rather than goods and services for new parents.

In fact, instead of the dispensation of diapers and food, “the primary purpose of the [Real Alternatives] program is to provide core services consisting of information, sharing education, and counseling that promotes childbirth and assists pregnant women in their decision regarding adoption or parenting,” the most recent contract reads.

The program’s reimbursement system prioritizes these anti-choice classes and counseling sessions: The more they bill for, the more likely they are to get more funding and thus open more clinics.

“This performance driven [sic] reimbursement system rewards vendor service providers who take their program reimbursement and reinvest in their services by opening more centers and hiring more counselors to serve more women in need,” reads the contract.

Classes, which are billed as chastity classes, parenting classes, pregnancy classes, and childbirth classes, are reimbursed at $21.80 per client. Meanwhile, as per the most recent contract, counseling sessions, which are separate from the classes, are reimbursed by the state at minimum rates of $1.09 per minute.

Jenny Hunsberger, vice president of Women’s Care Center, told Rewire that half of all pregnant women in Elkhart, LaPorte, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties, and one in four pregnant women in Allen County, are clients of their centers. To receive any material goods, such as diapers, food, and clothing, she said, all clients must receive this counseling, at no cost to them. Such counseling is billed by the minute for reimbursement.

“When every other baby born [in those counties] starts with Women’s Care Center, that’s a lot of minutes,” Hunsberger told Rewire.

Rewire was unable to verify exactly what is said in those counseling sessions, except that they are meant to encourage clients to carry their pregnancies to term and to help them decide between adoption or child rearing, according to Hunsberger. As mandated by the contract, both counseling and classes must “provide abstinence education as the best and only method of avoiding unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.”

In the first quarter of the new contract alone, Women’s Care Center billed Real Alternatives and, in turn, the state, $239,290.97; about $150,000 of that was for counseling, according to documents obtained by Rewire. In contrast, goods like food, diapers, and other essentials for new parents made up only about 18.5 percent of Women’s Care Center’s first-quarter reimbursements.

Despite the fact that the state is paying for counseling at Women’s Care Center, Rewire was unable to find any licensing for counselors affiliated with the centers. Hunsberger told Rewire that counseling assistants and counselors complete a minimum training of 200 hours overseen by a master’s level counselor, but the counselors and assistants do not all have social work or psychology degrees. Hunsberger wrote in an email to Rewire that “a typical Women’s Care Center is staffed with one or more highly skilled counselors, MSW or equivalent.”

Rewire followed up for more information regarding what “typical” or “equivalent” meant, but Hunsberger declined to answer. A search for licenses for the known counselors at Women’s Care Center’s Indiana locations turned up nothing. The Indiana State Department of Health told Rewire that it does not monitor or regulate the staff at Real Alternatives’ subcontractors, and both Women’s Care Center and Real Alternatives were uncooperative when asked for more information regarding their counseling staff and training.

Bethany Christian Services and Heartline Pregnancy Center, Real Alternatives’ other Indiana subcontractors, billed the program $380.41 and $404.39 respectively in the first quarter. They billed only for counseling sessions, and not goods or classes.

In a 2011 interview with Philadelphia City Paper, Kevin Bagatta said that Real Alternatives counselors were not required to have a degree.

“We don’t provide medical services. We provide human services,” Bagatta told the City Paper.

There are pregnancy centers in Indiana that provide a full range of referrals for reproductive health care, including for STI testing and abortion. However, they are not eligible for reimbursement under the Real Alternatives contract because they do not maintain an anti-choice mission.

Parker Dockray is the executive director of Backline, an all-options pregnancy resource center. She told Rewire that Backline serves hundreds of Indiana residents each month, and is overwhelmed by demand for diapers and other goods, but it is ineligible for the funding because it will refer women to abortion providers if they choose not to carry a pregnancy to term.

“At a time when so many Hoosier families are struggling to make ends meet, it is irresponsible for the state to divert funds intended to support low-income women and children and give it to organizations that provide biased pregnancy counseling,” Dockray told Rewire. “We wish that Indiana would use this funding to truly support families by providing job training, child care, and other safety net services, rather than using it to promote an anti-abortion agenda.”

“Life Is Winning in Indiana”

Time and again, Bagatta and Hunsberger stressed to Rewire that their organizations do not employ deceitful tactics to get women in the door and to convince them not to have abortions. However, multiple studies have proven that crisis pregnancy centers often lie to women from the moment they search online for an abortion provider through the end of their appointments inside the center.

These studies have also shown that publicly funded crisis pregnancy centers dispense medically inaccurate information to clients. In addition to spreading lies like abortion causing infertility or breast cancer, they are known to give false hopes of miscarriages to people who are pregnant and don’t want to be. A 2015 report by NARAL Pro-Choice America found this practice to be ubiquitous in centers throughout the United States, and Rewire found that Women’s Care Center is no exception. The organization’s website says that as many as 40 percent of pregnancies end in natural miscarriage. While early pregnancy loss is common, it occurs in about 10 percent of known pregnancies, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Crisis pregnancy centers also tend to crop up next to abortion clinics with flashy, deceitful signs that lead many to mistakenly walk into the wrong building. Once inside, clients are encouraged not to have an abortion.

A Google search for “abortion” and “Indianapolis” turns up an ad for the Women’s Care Center as the first result. It reads: “Abortion – Indianapolis – Free Ultrasound before Abortion. Located on 86th and Georgetown. We’re Here to Help – Call Us Today: Abortion, Ultrasound, Locations, Pregnancy.”

Hunsberger denies any deceit on the part of Women’s Care Center.

“Clients who walk in the wrong door are informed that we are not the abortion clinic and that we do not provide abortions,” Hunsberger told Rewire. “Often a woman will choose to stay or return because we provide services that she feels will help her make the best decision for her, including free medical-grade pregnancy tests and ultrasounds which help determine viability and gestational age.”

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky told Rewire that since Women’s Care Center opened on 86th and Georgetown in Indianapolis, many patients looking for its Georgetown Health Center have walked through the “wrong door.”

“We have had patients miss appointments because they went into their building and were kept there so long they missed their scheduled time,” Judi Morrison, vice president of marketing and education, told Rewire.

Sarah Bardol, director of Women’s Care Center’s Indianapolis clinic, told the Criterion Online Edition, a publication of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, that the first day the center was open, a woman and her boyfriend did walk into the “wrong door” hoping to have an abortion.

“The staff of the new Women’s Care Center in Indianapolis, located just yards from the largest abortion provider in the state, hopes for many such ‘wrong-door’ incidents as they seek to help women choose life for their unborn babies,” reported the Criterion Online Edition.

If they submit to counseling, Hoosiers who walk into the “wrong door” and “choose life” can receive up to about $40 in goods over the course their pregnancy and the first year of that child’s life. Perhaps several years ago they may have been eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, but now with the work requirement, they may not qualify.

In a February 2016 interview with National Right to Life, one of the nation’s most prominent anti-choice groups, Gov. Pence said, “Life is winning in Indiana.” Though Pence was referring to the Real Alternatives contract, and the wave of anti-choice legislation sweeping through the state, it’s not clear what “life is winning” actually means. The state’s opioid epidemic claimed 1,172 lives in 2014, a statistically significant increase from the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV infections have spread dramatically throughout the state, in part because of Pence’s unwillingness to support medically sound prevention practices. Indiana’s infant mortality rate is above the national average, and infant mortality among Black babies is even higher. And Pence has reduced access to prevention services such as those offered by Planned Parenthood through budget cuts and unnecessary regulations—while increasing spending on anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers.

Gov. Pence’s track record shows that these policies are no mistake. The medical and financial needs of his most vulnerable constituents have taken a backseat to religious ideology throughout his time in office. He has literally reallocated money for poor Hoosiers to fund anti-choice organizations. In his tenure as both a congressman and a governor, he’s proven that whether on a national or state level, he’s willing to put “pro-life” over quality-of-life for his constituents.

News Abortion

Leading Anti-Choice ‘Expert’ Suggests Women Turn to Crisis Pregnancy Centers to Cope With Abortion Restrictions

Ally Boguhn

Though crisis pregnancy centers often lie to women to persuade them not get an abortion, Priscilla Coleman suggested that people dealing with the additional financial and geographical barriers imposed by waiting periods turn to those organizations for help.

A leading anti-choice “expert” suggested during an interview with Rewire at the National Right to Life Convention last week that women should turn to crisis pregnancy centers to cope with the barriers to abortion care, including obstacles she helped create.

Priscilla Coleman, one of the “False Witnesses” previously featured on Rewire for her egregious falsehoods about the supposed link between abortion and mental health, said that the “scientific information” she provides in her speaking engagements and through her nonprofit, the World Expert Consortium for Abortion Research and Education (WECARE), has helped get anti-choice bills passed in states, particularly South Dakota.

Though her work has been widely discredited by the scientific and medical community, Coleman has nonetheless frequently appeared as an “expert witness” in trials and hearings. As Coleman told Rewire, she is “not a medical doctor” but has nonetheless “been really involved for ten years now with South Dakota” and its anti-choice legislation. This included the South Dakota Informed Consent Law (HB 1166), and what she deemed to be an “anti-coercion bill,” seemingly referring to HB 1217, which requires that a woman seeking an abortion wait 72 hours and visit a crisis pregnancy center prior to the abortion.

Coleman acknowledged that the anti-choice laws in the state such as the waiting period had created barriers to care, as “women have to … get a hotel, you know, or find a way back” to clinics.

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“And that’s the complaint on the other side, that it’s making access more difficult,” Coleman went on, “but as all the data out there is showing the long-term effects of abortion, spending three more days to make the decision is in the women’s best interest, no matter what side you’re on.”

When pressed to respond to those who note that anti-choice restrictions make accessing abortion more difficult, Coleman replied that she “would just say that it’s worth a three-day hotel room and … if you’re going to pay for an abortion, allow an extra couple hundred dollars … to take some time because it has lifetime implications.”

Coleman, however, struggled to account for how one might come up with that money.

“Well, they’re somehow coming up with the money for the abortion,” said Coleman. “I’m not familiar enough with fees and things, but my understanding is that most women, no matter how poor they are, still have to pay for the procedure. Is that correct?”

Though crisis pregnancy centers often lie to women to persuade them not get an abortion, Coleman suggested that those dealing with the additional financial and geographical barriers imposed by waiting periods turn to those organizations for help.

“I’m sure that if they contacted crisis pregnancy centers … women could find a place to stay for a couple of days,” said Coleman. “I’m sure that many people affiliated with those centers would be happy to house the women in their own home if there is a room for them.”

The other anti-choice law Coleman connected herself with, HB 1166, uses the same falsehoods she claims her research supports. South Dakota’s so-called informed consent law requires doctors to receive consent prior to performing an abortion, and mandates that physicians provide those seeking care with written information that, among other things, falsely claims there is a connection between abortion and both “depression and related psychological distress” and “increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide.”

Coleman “served as an expert in South Dakota” after Planned Parenthood affiliates challenged the legislation, according to WECARE’s website.

As the Guttmacher Institute explains, all states already require patients consent prior to receiving medical care, and materials provided by the states that require mandated abortion counseling often offer “information that is irrelevant or misleading.”