You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Abortion care in Massachusetts: Worcester, Springfield clinics on Reproductive Equity Now’s list of ‘fake women’s health centers’

MassLive.com logo MassLive.com 6/30/2022 Kiernan Dunlop, masslive.com
Clearway Clinic at 358 Shrewsbury St. in Worcester has been designated a "fake women's health center" by Reproductive Equity Now © Kiernan Dunlop | KDunlop/masslive.com/TNS Clearway Clinic at 358 Shrewsbury St. in Worcester has been designated a "fake women's health center" by Reproductive Equity Now

In the shadow of a three-story Planned Parenthood clinic on Pleasant Street in Worcester there’s a small building with a pink awning touting pregnancy services.

The clinic, Problem Pregnancy, is one of two in Worcester included in a list generated by Reproductive Equity Now of “fake women’s health centers.”

In its guide to abortion care, the advocacy organization advises people to beware of these centers it’s deemed “fake.”

The clinics, also known as crisis pregnancy centers, often set themselves up near abortion clinics and are sometimes funded by organizations “that oppose abortion in any and all circumstances,” Reproductive Equity Now says on its website.

These facilities “oftentimes present themselves as resources for people facing unplanned pregnancies but do not offer the full spectrum of pregnancy care, including abortion care,” Taylor St. Germain, a spokesperson for the advocacy group, told MassLive.

Problem Pregnancy, located at 495 Pleasant St. in Worcester, has been deemed a "fake women's health center," by Reproductive Equity Now © Kiernan Dunlop | KDunlop/masslive.com/TNS Problem Pregnancy, located at 495 Pleasant St. in Worcester, has been deemed a "fake women's health center," by Reproductive Equity Now

“So these clinics deceive and manipulate pregnant people from getting abortion care,” St. Germain said.

A sign standing outside the door of Problem Pregnancy reads “Unexpected Pregnancy? Free Testing & Counseling.”

MassLive contacted Problem Pregnancy several times to ask about the type of services they provide pregnant people.

“You’ve been calling us. You can take us off your list, we don’t do interviews,” a receptionist at Problem Pregnancy told a MassLive reporter who visited the clinic on Thursday.

Problem Pregnancy is the second result when you Google “abortion care Worcester.”

On its website, Problem Pregnancy advises: “If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, make an appointment to visit Problem Pregnancy. We provide free help for women facing unplanned pregnancies in Massachusetts, including free pregnancy tests, limited obstetric ultrasounds and abortion consultations.”

However, in small italicized print at the bottom of the web page it states “Problem Pregnancy does not perform or refer for abortion.”

While not performing or referring patients for abortion, the website has tabs offering a “Free Abortion Consultation,” “Abortion Answers,” “Abortion Pill,” and “Abortion Pressures & Laws,” among other topics related to abortion.

St. Germain said crisis pregnancy centers will advertise online and in print media in ways that might appeal to those who are considering abortions.

“But...they’re typically managed and funded by organizations that oppose abortion under any and all circumstances,” St. Germain said. “And as a result a person with an unintended pregnancy who might be seeking, full options, counseling or abortion referrals can end up in the wrong hands.”

Clearway Clinic is another site listed by Reproductive Equity Now as a “fake women’s health care clinic.” The clinic has offices in Worcester and Springfield.

It is also one of the first results when you google “abortion care Worcester.”

A list of services outside of its Worcester clinic includes pregnancy confirmation, nurse consultation, limited obstetric ultrasound, options counseling and post abortion healing support.

MassLive called the clinic several times and went to the Worcester clinic to ask what services the clinic offers, both over the phone and in person MassLive was advised that CEO Kelly Wilcox had our information. As of Thursday afternoon, Wilcox has not reached out to MassLive.

The clinic, which is incorporated, is designated as a religious entity with the state’s corporations division.

The clinic provides pamphlets outside of its front door. The pamphlet states the clinic is “privately funded through the contributions of hundreds of individuals and organizations.”

One section of the pamphlet is entitled “Abortion Hurts: Clear the Way For Your Future.”

“In addition to pregnancy and medical services, we provide healing programs for men and women experiencing grief or emotional pain from abortion,” the pamphlet reads.

The clinic goes on to say it helps those who are experiencing feelings of loss, guilt, despair or shame because of their abortion.

The pamphlet also says the clinic provides education for patients for all pregnancy outcomes: miscarriage, abortion, adoption & parenting. Then in small print at the bottom of a page it says, “We do not provide or refer abortions.”

On its website Clearway Clinic has a section explaining to its visitors why they should chose it over Planned Parenthood.

Some of the reasoning it provides it that “abortion is never simple” and “the impact of having an abortion is real and we can talk with you about it.”

Reproductive Equity Now introduced the list of “fake” clinics back in New England in April, before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which protected the right to abortion in the nation.

The group released the abortion care guide, which includes the list, St. Germain said, because it wanted to make sure that people from all over the region know where they can access abortions.

“And as people begin to travel to New England to access abortion care, making sure that we had resources in place where they can find legitimate healthcare,” St. Germain said. “Because, you know, a lot of people might be familiar with the crisis pregnancy center in their neighborhood, but if you’re traveling from out of state, it’s hard to tell.”

As many as 26 states are expected to move quickly to ban abortions following the overturning of the 50-year-old precedent.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on June 29 that lawmakers must crack down on crisis pregnancy centers.

In Massachusetts, crisis pregnancy centers outnumber “legitimate reproductive health centers” three to one, according to St. Germain.

“These are deceptive outfits that front for groups that are trying to harass or otherwise frighten people who are pregnant to keep them from seeking an abortion, and they do so under the cover of pretending to offer abortion services,” Warren said during a press conference Wednesday in downtown Boston, before she and U.S. Sen Ed Markey met privately with reproductive health care advocates. “So I’d like to see us talk about how we might move more aggressively to make sure that someone doesn’t face that bait and switch that could be traumatic at a time that that person is already under stress.”

Some cities in the state are looking to crack down on crisis pregnancy centers themselves. On June, Easthampton City Council hosted a public hearing to discuss a proposed ordinance relate to the “deceptive advertising practices of limited service pregnancy centers,” according to the meeting agenda.

Somerville City Council already passed an ordinance banning crisis pregnancy centers on March 24, according to Reproductive Equity Now.

Related Content:

©2022 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit masslive.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From MassLive.com

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon