Care Net is one of the world’s largest and most influential anti-abortion center (AAC) networks, with far-reaching influence across North America that has changed form across its history. Care Net was founded in 1975 and began as an anti-abortion lobbying group in the wake of Roe v. Wade under the name “Christian Action Council” (CAC). After years of lobbying, the organization opened its first AAC in 1983, and in 1999, CAC changed its name to Care Net to appeal to a broader audience.
Today, Care Net has spread widely to operate a network of over 1,200 AACs nationwide, and—along with Heartbeat International and the National Institute for Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA)—maintains the vast majority of AACs in its network as affiliates, saying that it has worked with 2.8 million people in total since 2008. For $125, an AAC can become a Care Net affiliate, wherein it will have access to a premade website with a search engine optimization (SEO) plug-in, marketing resources, and organizational handbooks. Depending on the facility, Care Net’s AACs offer limited diagnostic ultrasound, STI/STD testing, free pregnancy tests, and “information” about pregnancy options. Care Net’s “options counselors” are not licensed by any professional standard and aren’t required to be since Care Net doesn’t provide actual comprehensive reproductive health care; however, Care Net instructs its counselors on how to steer people away from abortion care by using the gospel of Jesus Christ. Care Net is deceptively marketed to appear to offer abortion care or referral—Care Net disputes any trickery by pointing to its fine print.
Some Care Net facilities are labeled as “medical,” while others aren’t. Regardless, because Care Net’s AACs are not actual health care providers and don’t offer billable medical services, Care Net is not subject to HIPAA. Care Net is antagonistic toward efforts to protect its clients’ data. Care Net and its affiliates have spread dangerous information, such as “abortion pill reversal,” which is not supported by science or medically safe. People report being blamed and judged at Care Net facilities. Care Net’s work is based in medical misinformation and disinformation and cherry-picked studies debunked by scientific consensus—to refute its flawed foundation, Care Net positions itself as standing up to the “academic elite.” Since 2012, Care Net has also operated Pregnancy Decision Line, an anti-abortion helpline and AAC directory. Like those of all AACs, Care Net’s operations are inherently unethical, providing pregnant people a limited and biased scope of their options. Care Net’s sole purpose is to deter people away from essential abortion care.
Care Net says it provided over $62 million to people who visited an affiliated AAC or facility in 2018. Per its own 2018 data, Care Net provided, on average, less than $58/person worth in baby and parenting supplies and only around $176/person in medical services. From its own 2019 Texas data, Care Net provided less than $200/person in material support. Despite claiming to be pro-parenting, Care Net’s material support is so small that it is only helpful for short-term binds. Moreover, Care Net’s support is conditioned upon sitting through “Earn While You Learn”-style classes and evangelical proselytizing.
Care Net is an explicitly conservative Evangelical Christian organization, which sees its anti-abortion counseling and religious evangelizing as one in the same. Care Net often works with other AAC networks to share tactics to ensure that pregnant people cannot access comprehensive reproductive health care. In a partnership since 2002, Care Net jointly operates an anti-abortion chat service and hotline with Heartbeat International called Option Line, which is deceptively marketed to appear to offer abortion care and referral. Not subject to HIPAA, Option Line collects the protected/personal health information (PHI) of people trying to seek reproductive health care and resources to be used at the discretion of Heartbeat International and Extend Web Services, in addition to other third parties.
Care Net has been involved in lawsuits challenging laws that try to curtail AACs’ activities, especially those requiring AACs to disclose information on the services they do—and do not—provide.
Care Net’s Explicit Mission Is To End Abortion Care And Proselytize Evangelical Christianity.
Care Net Has Roots In The White Supremacist Religious Right. “Care Net was founded in 1975 as the Christian Action Council by the renowned Dr. Harold O. J. Brown. Care Net’s beginnings were influenced by former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop and Christian scholar, Dr. Francis Schaeffer.” [Care Net, accessed 11/11/22]
Starting In 1978, Care Net Develops The Anti-Abortion Center Business Model. Care Net Then Pivots To Producing As Many AACs As Possible. “In the 1980s, the organization’s mission crystallized into establishing pregnancy centers.” [Care Net, accessed 11/11/22]
Care Net’s Mission Is “To End Abortion” And Convince People To “Embrace Christ.” “Care Net works to end abortion, not primarily through political action but by building a culture where woman [sic] and men receive all the support they need to welcome their children and create their own success stories. We call this approach to abortion the Pro Abundant Life Movement. As pro abundant life people, we embrace Christ, marriage, fatherhood, and work to overturn Roe v Wade in hearts, not just the courts.” [Care Net, accessed 11/11/22]
Care Net’s Making Life Disciples Employs Evangelical Churches To Coerce Congregates Out Of Wanted Abortion Care: “Courts Can Make Abortion Illegal … Only God Through His Church Can Make Abortion Unthinkable.” “Abortion is not only a problem in communities– out there, it’s a problem in the church. We … found that nearly 4 in 10 women who have had abortions were regularly attending church at least once a month at the time of their first abortion. Further, research from the Guttmacher Institute reveals that 54% of women who have abortions identify as Christian. … MLD equips your church to establish a team to walk alongside women and men facing pregnancy decisions and to build a unified, holistic, kingdom response to abortion. It turns your church into a central point of compassion in your community. Moreover, MLD enables your church to form meaningful partnerships with your local pregnancy centers so that you can create ‘kingdom connections’ throughout your community, forming a network of support for people at risk for abortion.” [Making Life Disciples, accessed 11/11/22]
Among Its Proselytizing Resources Are E-Books Advocating For Forced Birth For The Sake Of Marriage And Family Under “God’s Design.” “In Why We Must Be Pro Abundant Life, Care Net President and CEO Roland C. Warren gets to the heart of the abortion issue and explains why ‘overturning Roe’ is a necessary tactic, but not the goal of the pro-life movement. Instead, our goal should be that unborn children are given the gift of life and empowered to experience an abundant life consistent with God’s design. This requires embracing marriage, fatherhood, the sanctity of life, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” [Care Net, accessed 11/11/22]
Care Net Thinks Evangelical Christian Pastors Should Be At Anti-Abortion Centers To Proselytize To Clients. “Jennifer Shelton stared into the empty office spaces across the hall, her mind spinning with the possibilities. ‘Lord, what do You want me to do with this?’ … And that’s when a Holy-Spirit-inspired moment of clarity came that cleared the clutter of other possibilities from her thoughts. Soon, she presented the revelation to her staff and board. ‘What if we use this extra space to invite the pastors into the clinic?’ she queried. ‘We could turn this into an office for them to work out of for the day. That way, they will be available for any fathers of the baby who need pastoral support, but they can also get their regular work done in the downtimes.’ They readily agreed, designed the pastoral office space, and began inviting pastors to come once a month, biweekly, or even weekly for some.” [Care Net, 6/24/21]
Care Net Encourages Anti-Abortion Centers To Attempt To Convert People. “A practicing Muslim couple entered the clinic, determined to abort their baby. Using the specialized training [Real Options] developed to help build trust between the staff and Muslim clients, they presented the gospel to Ahmad* and his wife. He asked a lot of great questions, so Jennifer had an idea, ‘Pastor Rohann* is a former Muslim. Want to talk to him?’ she asked. ‘Yes, I would!’ came his immediate reply. So the pastor met with Ahmad, and a unique relationship formed. Pastor Rohann developed a deep relationship with Ahmad, teaching him the differences between the Quran and Christianity. In time and through personal discipleship, Ahmad prayed to receive Christ. He and his wife chose life for their baby.” [Care Net, 6/24/21]
Care Net’s Intake Materials Ask If The Pregnant Person Is Christian. “Kate Brown of Montpelier, who is active in the movement to preserve reproductive rights, made an appointment at Care Net [Pregnancy Center of Central Vermont] in Barre in late June to learn more about its practices. … Brown said she explored [Care Net’s] online classes, and each was paired with a biblical worksheet. During the intake portion of her appointment, Brown said, she was asked a series of questions, the first of which was ‘Are you Christian?’” [Seven Days, 7/27/22]
Care Net’s Anti-Abortion Center Brochures And Programs Include Evangelical Propaganda And Faith-Based Abstinence-Only Sex Education. “[Care Net Pregnancy Center of Windham County, Vermont,] offers, according to a brochure, a ‘bible centered program’ called ‘Post Abortive Teaching and Healing’ that ‘enables women to process their abortion-related experiences and emotions with the goal of healing and recovery.’ In addition, Care Net conducts an abstinence-only sex-education class called ‘Why Am I Tempted?’ or WAIT.” [Rewire News, 11/29/12]
Care Net Trains Staff And Volunteers To Conceal Its Goals Of Evangelical Conversion. “These organizations and their friendly volunteers may seem innocuous, but the centers are often staffed by evangelical women who lack professional licenses and belong to religious organizations that actively discourage them from recommending contraception, let alone abortion. Two such organizations, Heartbeat International and Care Net, coach staff members to seem credible to ‘abortion-minded’ women by scrubbing their websites, signage and waiting rooms of all evidence of their underlying evangelical goals. Staff members themselves say their centers are most appealing to young women without anywhere else to turn.” [New York Times, 11/12/15]
Care Net Facilities Contain Bibles And Evangelical Pamphlets. “Heiden thought she had found someone impartial to confide in about her options facing an unplanned pregnancy as an unmarried woman without a paycheck. … But something shifted when the angelic woman pulled out a tiny pamphlet with a pink lily on the cover, titled ‘May I Ask You A Question?’ It was a religious tract used to explain the gospel. ‘The moment I saw the Bible, I knew. That was it. There went all objectivity,’ Heiden said. ‘I knew I’d been tricked.’ Nothing on the website of the Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center, in Manassas, Virginia, at the time indicated the organization was religious and anti-abortion, Heiden said.” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/7/19]
A Congressional Report On Federal Funding For Abstinence-Only Education Found Care Net’s Explicit Goal To Be “Sharing The Gospel.” “[D]efending and promoting a culture of life is not just about saving babies of those women that walk into the center that are pregnant and thinking about abortion. … Now obviously when you go into public schools you can’t start talking about Jesus dying on the cross, or you may not get invited back very quickly. But … you’re opening the door to a lot more people that may not normally know of your center, you’re building credibility for your pregnancy center, you’re helping people begin to trust in your pregnancy center, so that if those girls that may have heard your story and didn’t quite take it to heart and end up coming to your pregnancy center, or they have friends or family members that come, that trust is already built, and then you’ve already earned the right to be heard. So people that come into your center that have already heard you, you get the chance to share the Gospel with them, which is the ultimate thing of what we’re doing.” [Rewire News, 3/26/18]
Care Net Views People Cohabitating And Having Sex Outside Of Marriage—Particularly Single Women—As A Moral Problem. “Because 86% of abortions are to unmarried women, a country with a marriage problem is one with an abortion problem. Women who face an unplanned pregnancy without the emotional, relational, and financial support provided by marriage are more likely to turn to abortion as a ‘cure.’” [Care Net, 6/7/19]
Care Net Deceptively Advertises And Markets Its Centers By Pretending To Offer Legitimate, Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care.
Care Net Lures In People Seeking Care By Pretending To Offer Comprehensive And Accurate Information, Only Acknowledging Their Deception In The Fine Print. “[Anti-abortion center] websites feature photos of attractive young women in aviator sunglasses and denim jackets, as well as earnest-sounding questions: ‘Unplanned pregnancy?’ ‘Considering abortion?’ The sites offer assurances of ‘professional healthcare for women’ and ‘caring, compassionate, confidential’ services: pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, parenting classes, peer counseling. ‘Whether you want to learn more about all your pregnancy options, need a supportive place to make a decision, are looking for information on the abortion pill or abortion procedures in Central Vermont — start with us,’ reads the website of Care Net. At the bottom of the page is another message, in smaller text: ‘We do not provide or refer for terminations or emergency contraception.’” [Seven Days, 7/27/22]
Care Net Markets Itself To Appear As Though It Offers Abortion Care. “‘Care Net of Missoula carries out its mission by employing volunteer advocates and relying on private funds for operation,’ the website reads. Though the website also states, ‘We do not offer, recommend or refer for abortions…,’ the ‘title’ that appears on the center’s homepage reads: ‘abortion info: abortion pill, free abortions, free pregnancy tests.’” [Missoula Independent, 2/7/13]
Care Net Uses Keywording And Search Engine Optimization (SEO) To Target As Many People As Possible With Deceptive And False Messaging. “CPCs have to trick women into coming in the door. … CPC ads often use the words ‘options’ or ‘choices,’ as if the centers offer more than one: having the baby. [A NARAL] report notes that ‘Care Net and Heartbeat International spend more than $18,000 per month on pay-per-click advertising campaigns that target women searching for abortion providers,’ hoping that women mistake them for abortion-providing clinics. They even set up shop near actual clinics intending for women to wander in by mistake.” [Rewire News, 3/10/15]
Despite Deceptive Advertising, Care Net Claims Its Lack Of Abortion Services Is Clearly Communicated When Faced With Potential Consequences. “A judge in San Diego ruled yesterday that an anti-abortion center misled women when it advertised free pregnancy tests and pregnancy ‘options counseling.’ The judge said that the center must tell every caller that its counseling is ‘from a Biblical anti-abortion perspective,’ and that it neither performs abortions nor provides abortion referrals. … Judy Brown, legal counsel for Care Net, which operates 465 centers in the United States and Canada, said she did not expect the California ruling to affect her network’s centers. ‘We are a pro-life organization and we don’t provide abortion referrals, but I’m confident, both as a lawyer and as a woman, that we are not doing anything misleading,’ said Ms. Brown, whose group was known until recently as the Christian Action Council.” [New York Times, 4/22/94]
Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers Do Not “Recommend, Provide, Or Refer” Birth Control. “In its materials for becoming a member, Care Net states that an affiliate must agree not to ‘recommend, provide, or refer single women for contraceptives. (married women seeking contraceptive information should be urged to seek counsel, along with their husbands, from their pastor and/or physician.)’” [Rewire News, 5/24/13]
Despite This, Care Net Portrays Itself As Offering All Options. “Though CPCs portray themselves as medical clinics, advertising medical services including an ‘Ask the Doctor’ section and urging women to come in for ‘options counseling,’ they do not provide full options counseling and generally will not refer for abortion care or birth control. In fact, Care Net, the largest network of CPCs in the United States, specifically instructs its CPCs not to give out information about birth control. Most do not mention anywhere on their websites that the CPC will not provide or make referrals for abortions or birth control, but instead claim to provide a ‘nonjudgmental environment’ where ‘each option’ can be explored.” [National Abortion Federation, 2006]
Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers Have A Forced-Birth Doctor Sign Onto Their “Medical” AACs In Order To Legitimize Their Operations. “At the majority of the centers, [executive director of Avow Aimee] Arrambide said, ‘there is no medical oversight.’ In Waco, Care Net has a medical director who weighs in on all “medical decisions,” but who works somewhere else during the day. ‘They don’t provide actual health care,’ said Arrambide. ‘They are trying to entrap people into hearing their rhetoric in an attempt to dissuade people from accessing the abortion care they want or need.’” [The Lily of the Washington Post, 9/4/21]
Apart From These Forced-Birth Medical Directors, No Other Staff Need To Be Licensed Or Medically Trained. “Medical professionals who work at such centers must hold their own medical licenses, but the other employees and the centers themselves do not need licenses, according to Lisa Cox, a spokesperson for the [Missouri] state health department. Crisis pregnancy centers are not among the over 30 types of medical and health-related facilities that the state regulates with monitoring and inspections. Abortion facilities, on the other hand, require state licensure, and need to adhere to state regulations.” [The Kansas City Star, 7/18/22]
Care Net Blatantly Tells Pregnant People Untrue And Debunked Medical Misinformation As A Fearmongering Tactic. “On a page titled ‘Abortion Risks,’ the brochure asserts that ‘the risk of breast cancer almost doubles after one abortion, and rises even further with two or more abortions’ and that ‘approximately 10 percent of women undergoing elective abortion will suffer immediate complications, of which approximately one-fifth are considered life-threatening.’ The pamphlet also cites mental and emotional risks of abortion and includes a page about the unreliability of prenatal testing. … [T]he abortion risks that it describes have been debunked by recent studies, while the information about prenatal testing is based on data more than 35 years old.” [Seven Days, 8/16/22]
General Anti-Abortion Center Practices Demonstrate That Those Walking Into A Care Net AAC Won’t Receive Comprehensive Care, Even With A Medical Director In-Name. “CPCs frequently market themselves as full-service medical clinics and promise to provide free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and comprehensive counseling on all pregnancy-related options. In reality, most CPCs lack medical facility licensing, offer limited medical and social services, and present pregnant people with only two options: parenthood or adoption.” [The Regulatory Review, 10/3/2020]
One Care Net Anti-Abortion Center Employee Tried To Hide Its Materials From A Reporter. “During The Morning Call’s visit to the clinic in early August, a Care Net [of Carbon County] employee tried to prevent a reporter from taking free informational brochures after initially saying they were available to the public. When the reporter asked to browse the brochures’ titles, the employee tried to impede the reporter’s view. After the reporter took a brochure titled ‘You’re Considering an Abortion: What Can Happen to You?,’ the employee tried unsuccessfully to take it back, then requested that the reporter leave the clinic.” [The Morning Call, 8/21/22]
Care Net Justifies Using “Abortion” In Its Materials By Claiming Its Anti-Abortion Centers Provide “After-Abortion Support,” Inaccurately Framing Abortion As A Regrettable Health Care Decision. “Care Net uses keywords related to abortion because the center provides ‘after-abortion support to women who need a place to talk about their experiences and for those experiencing regret,’ and to reach women who may not want the procedure but lack the financial means or support to carry a baby to term, [Director of Care Net Pregnancy of Central Vermont Cindy] Tabor said in the prepared statement.” [Seven Days, 7/27/22]
Care Net Deliberately Targets Young People, Who May Not Be Able To Discern Who Is An Abortion Provider And Who Isn’t. “Each semester, an advertising company called The Campus Special produces a coupon booklet for students at the University of Montana. … In recent years, there’s also been a coupon for a free pregnancy test ‘and/or’ ultrasound. The coupon depicts a forlorn-looking woman and the words, ‘Freedom. Knowledge. Empowerment.’ The coupon is redeemable at the Care Net Pregnancy Support Center of Missoula, and also advertises peer mentors, community referrals and confidential support. It’s this coupon, and advertising like it, that members of UM’s pro-choice movement say should be banned from campus.” [Missoula Independent, 2/7/13]
Care Net Offers Its Anti-Abortion Center Affiliates Website Templates. “Care Net Website Templates are professionally constructed and made affordable for Care Net Affiliates. … The Center Web Designs from Care Net [include an] SSL certificate to protect client data [and a] Sitemap submitted to Google and Yoast SEO plugin installed to boost SEO.” [CareSource, accessed 11/14/22]
Despite Emphasizing Its Fine Print, Care Net’s Purposefully Deceptive Advertising Creates Confusion For Pregnant People. “Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) seeking to dissuade women from abortion often appear in Internet searches for abortion clinics. We aimed to assess whether women can use screenshots from real websites to differentiate between CPCs and abortion clinics. … Websites of CPCs were more difficult for women to correctly identify than those of abortion clinics. Women with limited knowledge about abortion and low health literacy may be particularly susceptible to misidentification of CPC websites.” [Women’s Health Issues, 7/12/21]
Former Care Net President Kurt Entsminger Wrote That Anti-Abortion Center Websites Should Be Designed To Conceal Care Net’s Agenda So As To Not Steer Away “Abortion-Vulnerable” People. “The first thing to remember in designing your website is that abortion-vulnerable women are your target audience. Many pregnancy centers in developing their websites attempt to appeal to multiple audiences. This is understandable. Besides appealing to prospective clients, pregnancy centers have a valid need to communicate their pro-life and evangelical mission to their donors, potential volunteers, and other members of their community. However, these respective audiences will likely have very different perceptions about your center’s mission and services. The information and messages that appeal to women facing unplanned pregnancies are usually far different than the information and messages that you may wish to convey to your donors and the Christian community. The solution is to maintain separate websites.” [Care Net, accessed 11/11/22]
Care Net Says It Purposefully Uses Search Engine Keyword Advertising To Target People Seeking Abortion Care. “The results of this keyword advertising campaign have been very positive. Because of this investment, the Internet is now the number one source of contacts for the Option Line. Since June 2005, the Internet has produced at least 6,300 monthly calls and e-mails to the Option Line and now accounts for more than 60% of all calls and emails received by the Option Line. Each one of these calls or e-mails are referred or patched through to a pregnancy center! Also, compared to other media, the Internet accounts for the highest proportion of abortion-vulnerable clients. Of the women who contact the Option Line from the Internet believing they may be pregnant, about 80% are considering abortion as a pregnancy option.” [Care Net, accessed 11/11/22]
In Operating Its Anti-Abortion Hotline Option Line, Care Net Geographically Targets People Seeking Abortion And Reproductive Care, Using The Keywords “Abortion,” “Abortion Pill,” And “Abortion Methods.”
As Senate Democrats In The 117th Congress Attempt To Regulate Anti-Abortion Centers, Care Net Is Positioning Its Operations As Legitimate. “United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Congresswomen Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), and Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today introduced the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act to crack down on false advertising that crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) employ to dissuade patients from getting the reproductive care they need, including abortion care. This bill directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue rules to prohibit deceptive or misleading advertising related to the provision of abortion services. The bill also authorizes the FTC to enforce these rules and collect penalties from organizations in violation.” [U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, 6/23/22]
In Response, Care Net President And CEO Roland Warren And Chief Outreach Officer Vince DiCaro Said Senator Elizabeth Warren “Must Think That Women Are Stupid In Order To Believe What She Believes.” “After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Senator Elizabeth Warren picked a target to take out her anger against the pro-life movement — pregnancy centers. Why did she choose pregnancy centers? And why is she dead wrong in her wild attacks against these amazing ministries? In this episode of CareCast, Roland and Vince discuss how Senator Warren must think that women are stupid in order to believe what she believes, and why pregnancy centers are irreplaceable Pro Abundant Life ministries in their communities.” [Care Net, 7/28/22]
Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers Spread And Tell Pregnant People Medical Misinformation And Disinformation.
Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers Give Pregnant People Inaccurate Ultrasound Information. “Julie Mullette, a registered nurse and the abortion care coordinator … says ‘it is not an anomaly’ for clients to come to Blue Mountain after first going to Care Net. She says often times those clients are misinformed about the dating of their pregnancy. ‘Some women have the perception that Care Net is a medical facility with a medically trained staff,’ she says. ‘But really their whole reason for existence is to prevent women from having abortions.’” [Missoula Independent, 2/7/13]
Care Net Disseminates Nonexistent Medical Disorders To Portray Abortion Care As Nonessential And Dangerous. “Abortion may cause a high stress reaction. Some may feel relief initially, but it’s often common to suffer symptoms of post-abortion grief and trauma, days, months or even years after the abortion.” [Care Net of Puget Sound, accessed 11/14/22]
Care Net Grossly Pathologizes People’s Myriad Emotional Reactions To Having An Abortion As “Post-Abortion Regret Syndrome,” Exploiting Some People’s Personal Abortion Experiences For Their Forced Birth Movement. “The reality of terminating a life is not something that many can ignore. For numerous women who have an abortion, the decision will not result in empowerment, as pro-choice advocates would have one believe, but in mourning and pain. Mourning the immediate loss of a life unlived, and the pain that may come from experiencing serious mental health repercussions down the road.” [Care Net, 7/19/16]
Pathologizing Negative Abortion Experiences Is A Tactic Employed To Frame Abortion Care As Nonessential And Morally Bad. “CPCs systematically promoted a made-up ‘syndrome’ about ‘post-abortion regret’ instead of the truth: It is women who are denied abortion who regret it, and suffer long-term mental and physical health consequences.” [Ms. Magazine, 4/11/22]
A Care Net Director Lamented Pregnant Minors Receiving Abortion Care. “Kim Triller, executive director of Care Net of Puget Sound, says their work is all the more important. In 2016, more than one-third of the state’s abortions took place on women from King County, the Seattle area where her center is based. Among girls and women up to 19 years of age, Triller noted that one in two pregnancies ended in an abortion. ‘We consider everybody up there (in Seattle) abortion vulnerable,’ she said.” [Pregnancy Help News, 6/3/19]
Care Net’s Anti-Abortion Centers Waste People’s Time With Medical Disinformation. “Nicole called Care Net [in Rapid City, South Dakota]. ‘I didn’t have anywhere else to go,’ she explains. … Inside, a receptionist behind a counter instructed Nicole to provide a urine sample in the bathroom. Then a nurse and a younger woman, about Nicole’s age, brought her to a small room with a couch. For 45 minutes, they showed her Bible verses and pamphlets on adoption and an embryo’s development. Nicole says, ‘The nurse really, really slowed down during the fetal pain part. She said, “Here are the fingertips. The baby feels everything you’re feeling.”’ They told Nicole having an abortion might complicate future pregnancies and cause suicidal thoughts — both common myths. This is B.S., Nicole kept thinking, but you’re trying to make me think it’s true.” [Cosmopolitan, 7/14/15]
Some Care Net Affiliates Have Received Federal Funding—And Used Those Funds To Spread Lies About Contraception And Sex Education. “Both Full Circle Women’s Services and the Women’s Care Center are affiliated with Care Net, a national network of crisis pregnancy centers that prohibits its members from recommending, offering, or referring ‘single women’ for contraception. Whereas proponents of comprehensive sex education encourage teaching teens how to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy and diseases while acknowledging that condoms are not guaranteed to work 100 percent of the time, abstinence-education advocates often claim that teaching about proper condom use offers young people a ‘false sense of security.’” [Rewire News, 5/4/12]
Care Net Affiliates Receiving Federal Funding Misrepresent Contraception’s Effectiveness While Passing Judgment On Women Existing Outside Of Traditional Evangelical Family Formation. “On their websites, Full Circle, Life Choices Pregnancy Resource Center, and the Women’s Care Center cite identical statistics emphasizing what they portray as the lack of effectiveness of condoms. These centers tell readers that ‘consistent’ condom use during vaginal sex reduces the risk of ‘HIV by 85%’; human papillomavirus ‘by 50% or less’; and gonorrhea, Chlamydia, herpes, and syphilis ‘by about 50%.’ The statistics come from various studies compiled by the Medical Institute, a nonprofit organization whose advice for preventing STDs is: ‘Avoid sexual activity if you are single. Be faithful to one uninfected partner for the rest of your life.’” [Rewire News, 5/4/12]
Congressional Aides Posing As Pregnant Teens Were Told Abortion Increases Cancer and Infertility Risk—The Same Medical Disinformation Propagated By Care Net. “Women who consult with pregnancy resource centers often get misleading information about the health risks associated with having an abortion, according to a report issued … by Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee. Congressional aides, posing as pregnant 17-year-olds, called 25 pregnancy centers that have received some federal funding over the past five years. The aides were routinely told of increased risk for cancer, infertility and stress disorders, said the report, which was prepared for Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. … Care Net, an umbrella group for evangelical pregnancy centers across the country, instructs its affiliates to tell callers there is a possibility that abortion can lead to greater risk of breast cancer, according to Molly Ford, an official with the organization. She said there have been several studies that say it does, and several that say it doesn’t.” [The Associated Press, 7/17/06]
Care Net Chief Outreach Officer Vincent DiCaro Contacted The Trump HHS Wanting To Edit An Official FDA Birth Control Guide To Hand Out To People At AACs.
[Correspondence between Care Net Chief Outreach Officer Vincent DiCaro and Trump HHS Outreach Advisor Arina Grossu, obtained 5/5/21]
Care Net Affiliates Advertise “Abortion Pill Reversal,” A Fake Treatment With No Credible Evidence.
Multiple Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers Have Promoted “Abortion Pill Reversal,” Citing Debunked, Non-Peer-Reviewed, For-Profit Studies. “Have you taken the first dose of mifepristone (also known as RU486 or the abortion pill)? Do you regret your decision and wish you could reverse the effects of the abortion pill? The Abortion Pill, aka Mifeprex, mifepristone. The first drug in the protocol is called mifepristone. [Mifepristone] blocks progesterone, which is needed to sustain a growing pregnancy. A new protocol, known as the Abortion Pill Reversal, has been developed that uses natural progesterone to reverse the abortion and rescue the pregnancy. Recent studies have shown a success rate above 60% if the progesterone is started within 72 hours of taking the first abortion pill. It may not be too late!” [Care Net Pregnancy Center of Southern Maryland, accessed 11/11/22]
Care Net Of Puget Sound, Washington, Offers This Misinformation With A Giant “Reverse Your Abortion” Button To Book Appointments. “Did you take the first pill of a medical abortion (Mifeprex or RU-486)? Do you want to reverse your abortion? We are here for you. The reversal is effective, safe and completely natural. Contact us to get connected with a medical professional who can guide you through the reversal process. This is your choice and it may not be too late.” [Care Net of Puget Sound, accessed 11/11/22]
There Is No Way To Reverse An Abortion—“Abortion Pill Reversal” Is Unproven And Unethical. “Many crisis pregnancy centers – particularly those in the Care Net and Heartbeat International networks – also advertise the possibility of an ‘abortion pill reversal.’ The term itself is a misnomer; there is no way to ‘reverse’ an abortion. Still, many centers promote the idea of giving patients progesterone after they take the first of two pills required in medication abortions to undo their abortion. Researchers at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and elsewhere, have stated that prescribing progesterone after the first abortion pill to discontinue the pregnancy is ‘unproven and unethical’ and ‘not supported by science.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/16/22]
“Abortion Pill Reversal” Is An Unethical Scam Anti-Abortion Centers Push In Response To The Increase In Medication Abortions. “Care Net, a multisite organization that says it offers biblical truth alongside ultrasounds and other support during pregnancy — but not abortions or birth control — directs those interested to an international reversal hotline that works with 27 Washington state providers … Critics, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, call the treatment unproven, unethical and possibly dangerous. Abortion opponents nevertheless increasingly promote it as more and more people choose to end their pregnancies by medication. Abortion pills now account for roughly half of U.S. abortions, and that number is expected to go up in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade. Because the pills can be discreetly mailed, some are using them to get around state restrictions. The corresponding touting of reversal treatment has yielded one more flash point in the fever-pitched abortion debate, a quagmire now largely left to state law.” [The Houston Chronicle, 8/21/22]
“Abortion Pill Reversal” Is Not FDA-Approved, And The Studies Behind It Are Not Robust Or IRB-Approved. “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists … says that studies supporting abortion reversal ‘have had … no ethics approval, no control group, under-reporting of data and no reported safety outcomes.’ ‘There is zero science behind it,’ said Dr. Mitchell Creinin, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University of California, Davis. … The Federal Drug Administration said in a statement that it has not approved progesterone for abortion reversal treatment.” [The Houston Chronicle, 8/21/22]
Care Net Actively Coerces, Deceives, Emotionally Manipulates, And Shames Pregnant People.
Care Net Encourages Anti-Abortion Centers To Emotionally Manipulate And Coerce Pregnant People Via Ultrasounds. “This study looked at a very specific group of women: those who had already made appointments for abortions. Each woman was assessed based on how certain she was about her decision to abort. Women in high decision certainty, medium decision certainty, and low decision certainty categories were offered the opportunity to view an ultrasound image prior to their abortion. Overall, 42% of these women chose to view the ultrasound image. Eighty-five percent (85%) of the women (12,959) fell into the ‘high decision certainty’ category and almost all in this group aborted regardless of whether they viewed an ultrasound or not.” [Care Net, 12/14/14]
Care Net Wants To Pressure “Medium” And “Low”-Decision-Certainty Pregnant People Into Continuing Their Pregnancies Despite Individual, Personal Health Care Wishes. “[W]e can gain insights from the behavior of the women classified as having medium or low decision certainty. In this study of 15,000 women who showed up for their abortion appointment, 7% were not certain about their decision – that was more than 1,000 women. If a similar percentage of the 1.05 million women getting abortions in the U.S. each year are also uncertain, that’s over 73,000 women! These are the women who can benefit the most from pregnancy center services. In this study, 4.8% of the ‘low and medium decision certainty’ women who chose to have an ultrasound changed their minds and did not abort, as opposed to only 1.3% of those who did not see their baby on ultrasound. Imagine the pressure to go through with the procedure that all of these women must have felt and the tremendous courage it must have taken to say ‘no’ and walk away. Had these women first visited a pregnancy center, would they have even scheduled an abortion?” [Care Net, 12/14/14]
Care Net Wants To Prey On Pregnant People Exploring Their Desired Pregnancy Outcome. “Women visiting a pregnancy center are often still exploring their options … Even the woman who comes to a pregnancy center having already made an appointment for an abortion, has not yet kept that appointment. … Care Net internal statistics indicate that when women who are still in the process of making a pregnancy decision are offered the option to view their baby’s ultrasound image in a supportive pregnancy center environment, they are much more likely to continue their pregnancy.” [Care Net, 12/14/14]
A Pregnant Woman Reported Having A Transvaginal Ultrasound Without Proper Warning And Was Prayed To Without Her Permission. “During the ultrasound, the nurse said the images weren’t clear and she needed to do a transvaginal scan. ‘She didn’t explain anything or say, “We’re going to stick this cone inside you,”’ Nicole says, agitated. The nurse displayed the embryo on a screen, pointed to its features, and printed the images. The younger women prayed over Nicole and asked to be invited to her baby shower.” [Cosmopolitan, 7/14/15]
A Pregnant Person In Fear Of Having An Ectopic Pregnancy Went To A Care Net Facility For Care But Was Instead Given Information About God And Hell. “I went to Care Net because I was afraid that I was having another ectopic pregnancy and I wanted to find out about all of my options, including medication abortion, like the Care Net website says. A ‘nurse’ gave me a pregnancy test and then put me in a room by myself. A volunteer came in and ‘counseled’ me against having an abortion. She asked if I was religious and if I believed in God. She gave me information about Hell. And then she prayed for me. They refused to do an ultrasound exam on me that day but scheduled one in two weeks’ time.” [The Alliance, 2021]
Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers Even Shame Clients Not Interested In Abortion Care For Not Abiding Evangelical Social Code. “‘As a 30 year old woman, I visited a limited service pregnancy center. I went for a simple pregnancy test, but what I got was a lecture about not being married and a long list of intrusive personal questions before the staff at the center would give me my pregnancy test results…And to make matters worse, when I requested my pregnancy test results in writing a few days later, the center refused. The experience was extremely upsetting and also delayed my access to pre-natal care.’ … Adams was one of those women who visited Care Net to get confirmation that she was pregnant – because she wanted to be pregnant. Instead of results, she says she received judgement and delays.” [Rewire News, 2/2/11]
Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers Shame And Proselytize To People Seeking Care. “For Camilla Allison, who was raised in an ultraconservative Protestant community in New Mexico, C.P.C.s were viewed as agents of the church. After she became pregnant at 22, she visited a Care Net center in Albuquerque to get an ultrasound. There a staff member took her to a back room and lectured her. ‘It was almost like a Sunday school lesson, all of the fundamentalist dogma I grew up with. It brought up a lot of old shame in me,’ Ms. Allison said. ‘It was all wrapped up in “Jesus died for your sins. You’ve already sinned, and if you kill your child, you’ll have lifelong trauma.”’” [New York Times, 5/15/22]
After Texas’ S.B. 8, One Staff Member At A Care Net Anti-Abortion Center Said They Don’t Explain To Pregnant People Their Out-Of-State Abortion Options. “Now that S.B. 8 has outlawed abortions after six weeks in Texas, the interception will be easier. Across the state, crisis pregnancy centers are anticipating a surge in patients, as pregnant people, in desperate need of care, have nowhere else to go. … Care Net will discuss S.B. 8 with any patient who continues to ask about abortion once a heartbeat is detected on the ultrasound. Unless the law changes, [head of Waco, Texas, Care Net AAC Deborah] McGregor said, a staff member will inform the patient that abortion is no longer legal. [Unlicensed counselor Julie] Miner says she would discuss adoption, an option she now expects will become much more popular. She would never mention that a woman could access abortion out of state, she said.” [The Lily of the Washington Post, 9/4/21]
Care Net’s Traveling Anti-Abortion Centers Use “Sidewalk Advocates”—An Anti-Abortion Tactic Of Intimidation, Harassment, And Coercion. “[Care Net of Central Texas] utilizes spiritual counselors to address specific needs, separate from the secular needs addressed by medical and other staff members. The mobile outreach program is equipped with a 3D ultrasound and travels with trained sidewalk advocates. The wrap around advertising on the vehicle offers a message of hope to every neighborhood it enters.” [Pregnancy Help News, 5/25/20]
People Who Visit Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers Report Continuous Harassment After Their Appointment. “Nicole says the nurse from Care Net called her every day for two weeks. Then once a month, she called from a restricted number and left messages saying, ‘I just want to chitchat.’ Annoyed, Nicole never answered or complained. The calls kept coming all the way until February — around when she would have delivered.” [Cosmopolitan, 7/14/15]
One Woman Seeking Adoption Counseling At A Care Net Affiliate Was Dismissed And Judged. “It was just before Christmas in 2009 when Arcadia Smith found herself at a Heartbeat and Care Net affiliate near her home in Mississippi. … At the center, Smith and her boyfriend met with a counselor from a third-party adoption agency that works with pregnancy centers. … She remembers the counselor asking, ‘Don’t you love your daughter? Don’t you want to do for this one what you do for your first?’ ‘It’s not that I don’t like this baby — I’m just afraid for the baby,’ Smith recalls saying. Smith says the counselor asked her boyfriend if he was willing [to] coparent. When he said he was, the counselor insisted they had no reason to consider adoption. ‘It shocked me,’ Smith says. ‘I was thinking, But adoption is what you do.’ Smith questioned her boyfriend, saying he might not stick around, regardless of whether they shared a child. But the counselor insisted. ‘It seems like he wants to be there,’ she said, and Smith could always raise the child without him. ‘I’m a single mother myself. I know how it is,’ Smith remembers the counselor saying.” [Cosmopolitan, 7/14/15]
Citing Evangelical Albert Mohler, Care Net Said Pregnant People Don’t Own Their Own Bodies. “From the Supreme Court’s decision it is apparent that policy has replaced morality in our country. In the words of Albert Mohler, abortion as a policy: ‘has become a sacrament of a modern humanistic religion that emphasizes the woman as the single moral arbiter of her body.’” [Care Net, 7/19/16]
Care Net Looks Down On Single Motherhood And Shames Anyone Existing Outside Of A Heteronormative Christian Family Structure. “Most [anti-abortion centers] are affiliated with one or more of three national groups—Care Net, Heartbeat International, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates … Some of the more faith-based centers strongly advise against single motherhood. They counsel the woman to either marry the father or choose adoption.” [Slate, 3/24/11]
Care Net Uses Racist Targeting And Advertising In Its Messaging And Campaigns.
In A Campaign Employing Racist Language, Care Net Deliberately Targeted Black And Latinx Women. “In 2003, Care Net launched a campaign it dubbed the Urban Initiative and established 15 new centers in 13 cities. In 2009, the initiative was renamed the Underserved Outreach Initiative. Regardless of the name of the campaign, the goal is clear: to target African-American and Hispanic women.” [NARAL Pro-Choice America, 12/6/16]
Care Net Stayed True To Its White Supremacist Evangelical Roots With Its Racist “Urban Initiative.” “Care Net–the nation’s largest network of evangelical Christian crisis pregnancy centers–featured a birth announcement of sorts on the website of its 10-year-old Urban Initiative. Under the headline, ‘Plans Underway for Care Net’s Newest Center in Kansas City, Mo.!’ a block of upbeat text described how a predominantly white, suburban nonprofit called Rachel House had ‘made contact’ with ‘various African American pastors and community leaders,’ who helped them ‘plant’ a ‘pregnancy resource center’ in a predominantly [B]lack, poor section of downtown Kansas City. … In its 2011 federal tax filing, Care Net reported spending nearly $1 million trying to ‘educate inner-city communities’ and develop centers in ‘underserved areas.’” [Colorlines, accessed 11/11/22]
This Racist Targeting Of Black Pregnant People And Other Pregnant People Of Color Is Rooted In White Saviorism. “Fueled by a race-baiting, national marketing campaign and the missionary-like evangelism of its affiliates, Care Net has turned the complex reality behind [B]lack abortion rates into a single, fictional story. In that story, poor [B]lack women who have abortions are the unwitting victims of feminists and morally deficient reproductive healthcare providers … Crisis pregnancy centers, in this fable, are the best place those women can go to be saved.” [Colorlines, accessed 11/11/22]
Care Net Sees Themselves As Crusaders While Employing Racist Targeting Tactics. “Care Net and Heartbeat International, the largest of these parasitic organizations, are crusading to expand the reach of the 2,300 crisis pregnancy centers nationwide by aligning themselves with existing youth centers; the hope is to target the women mostly likely to get abortions. … These are truly, truly earnest parasites: ‘We’ve got to save these kids,’ says Steve Fitzhugh, co-founder of the House DC, a teen center partnered with a crisis pregnancy center. (By ‘kids,’ one must assume he means the fetus, not the kid who’s unexpectedly pregnant.)” [Salon, 8/21/06]
Care Net’s Online Messaging Is Racist And Deliberate. “Care Net affiliate centers can purchase a professionally designed web page for $150, choosing from premade templates with names like ‘Celebrate’ (featuring a white woman blowing confetti at the viewer) and ‘Concise’ (geared toward men, with the words ‘We can help you make the best choice—together’), and ‘Concrete’ (showcasing a Black woman with earbuds, posing against a wall of graffiti). [Sociologist Kimberly] Kelly said this type of varied outreach is indicative of an effort to target diverse populations. ‘Fifteen years ago, it was all pretty white girls,’ Kelly says. ‘But now there’s much more of an effort when people are interfacing with their technology, now you see much more variation in the ethnicity of the models they are using.’ Kelly highlighted recent coverage of CPCs referring to themselves as a ‘not-so underground railroad,’ drawing parallels between themselves and those who helped slaves reach freedom. Activists have denounced this kind of strategy as racist and denigrating of Black women’s reproductive health choices.” [Rewire News, 5/12/17]
Care Net Centers Co-Locate Nearby Real Reproductive Health Care Clinics To Deter Pregnant People From Receiving Patient-Centered Reproductive Care.
Like All Anti-Abortion Centers, Care Net Facilities Often Pop Up Adjacent To Or Across The Street From Abortion Clinics. “Situated right across the street from Planned Parenthood, Care Net advertises free ultrasounds and prenatal care on a sign meant to steer people to the left, instead of the right. Once they’re inside, patients are offered white cheddar popcorn in a consultation room adorned with abstract paintings of flowers and trees, where advocates are waiting to persuade them to choose life.” [The Lily of the Washington Post, 9/4/21]
A Waco, Texas, Care Net Anti-Abortion Center Director Purposefully Chased The City’s Planned Parenthood To Open A Care Net Location Next Door. “As chief executive [of the Waco, Texas, Care Net], [Deborah] McGregor has committed herself to being ‘where the women are,’ she says. Planned Parenthood, the only abortion clinic in Waco, has operated out of three different locations since McGregor took the job. Each time, McGregor has moved Care Net, or introduced mobile services, so that they could have a presence right outside. She purchased the current building a year before Planned Parenthood announced its new location, she said. While abortion clinics often purposefully conceal their locations until they open, McGregor got a tip from a pastor. She went down to city hall to check out building plans for a new ambulatory center off Highway 6. ‘It just looked very suspicious,’ she said. She shared her hunch with a couple at her church, who offered a million-dollar donation to buy the building across the street.” [The Lily of the Washington Post, 9/4/21]
Care Net Originated The Tactic Of Setting Up Anti-Abortion Clinics Near College Campuses To Prey On Students. “In the first approach (pioneered on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder and developed by Care Net), a nearby pregnancy center typically sets up a satellite to serve students and establish an on-campus presence. Working with allied students at the university, a formal group with by-laws and members is established through the college and a pregnancy center staff person may function as part of the student group, fulfilling the role of campus director. Office space is provided as is the norm for any student group. The group members go about researching the possible help available for pregnant students such as housing, financial aid, student health insurance/well baby coverage, and child care.” [Heartbeat International, 2018]
Like That Of All Anti-Abortion Centers, Care Net’s Parenting And Economic Support Is Conditional, Patronizing, And Exploitative.
Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers Will Offer The Promise Of Substantive Support … “When patients who want an abortion come to Care Net, their consultations usually take about an hour, said Julie Miner, a care navigator at the facility who counsels patients but is not a licensed counselor. After the patient takes a pregnancy test and tests positive, a staff member or volunteer will bring in a box of free items. If the patient is open to it, McGregor said, they will pull out its contents one by one: a onesie, a stack of diapers, a bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby powder. Miner says she will sit with patients still considering abortion and ‘figure out the why.’ ‘If they are worried about housing or child care or jobs, we can help with all that,’ said Miner. Care Net is one of only a few crisis pregnancy centers in the state that offers short-term housing for pregnant mothers.” [The Lily of The Washington Post, 9/4/21]
… However, These Conditional Resources Are Scant And Come With A High Opportunity Cost. “[S]ome [AACs] provide material resources to women, like diapers and baby clothes. These resources often are limited — not enough to care for a baby in the long term — and come with strings attached, like required attendance at parenting or Bible classes. A large share of women who visit C.P.C.s are not pregnant or are undecided about having an abortion but are parents who in many cases have been failed by a society that does little to help poor mothers. The anti-abortion movement takes advantage of their economic vulnerability.” [New York Times, 5/15/22]
Care Net Uses Time-Wasting And Patronizing “Earn While You Learn” Classes Via BrightCourse To Offer Pregnant People The Bare Minimum Of Resources. “Kate Brown of Montpelier, who is active in the movement to preserve reproductive rights, made an appointment at Care Net [Pregnancy Center of Central Vermont] in Barre in late June to learn more about its practices. She told the center the truth, she said — that she had one child and didn’t want to have any more. In a phone call before her appointment, a staff member mentioned that the center offers free diapers and clothing and that women could receive more items by participating in pregnancy and parenting classes through an online portal called BrightCourse.” [Seven Days, 8/16/22]
The “Earn While You Learn” Model, First Developed By Dinah Monahan, Is Paternalistic And Insulting—And Rooted In The Idea That People Don’t Deserve Care And Resources. “The list of Care Net’s Learn to Earn course names are nearly identical to those offered by Earn While You Learn, a video-based parenting-education program offered at similar anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers across the country. The curriculum was developed by Dinah Monahan, a founder and director of a center in Arizona, and is distributed exclusively by the Christian Heritage House. In promoting the program, the Earn While You Learn website says, ‘Giving things away free only enables our clients and fosters the entitlement mentality.’ Instead, Earn While You Learn helps ‘break cycles of poor parenting, neglect and abuse’ by teaching participants ‘how to be good parents’ in exchange for ‘much needed items for their babies.’ The website also explains how this program reaches ‘abortion-vulnerable’ clients.” [Rewire News, 11/29/12]
“Earn While You Learn” Programs Are Full Of Misinformation And Evangelical Proselytizing. “Earn While You Learn (EWYL) … [stems] from Dinah Monahan’s work in founding and running AACs in Arizona. Monahan claims that her AACs were handing out plenty of free supplies to parents in need but that their parenting classes were not well attended. So, to lure pregnant people to their deceptive classes, Monahan tied receipt of supplies to class attendance. After a year of doing so, Monahan’s AAC devised a complete curriculum for its classes. … The curriculum Monahan developed is full of concerning misinformation, biased assumptions and religious evangelizing.” [Equity Forward, 2021]
Care Net’s “Earn While You Learn” Programs Include Bible Classes. “Care Net’s most troubling offering, as far as USDA officials were concerned, was a rewards-based learning program called ‘Learn to Earn,’ wherein expectant parents had to take a certain number of parenting and Bible study classes in order to receive free baby supplies. (Care Net’s executive director has said the center has since suspended the Bible study requirement.)” [Rewire News, 11/29/12]
Instead Of Providing Resources And Support As They Claim To, Care Net Wants Pregnant People To Waste Their Time To “Earn” Care Net Hand-Me-Downs. “[Care Net of Windham County Executive Director Liz] Chechile sent the USDA several documents about Learn to Earn, which she at one point described as ‘by far’ Care Net’s most popular program. The material explained that if expectant parents attended 12 parenting classes and 12 Bible study classes in a 15-week period, they could earn ‘baby and mommy care necessities’—like baby clothes and baby furniture. If clients completed the required number of classes in the required time frame, they could choose one ‘large item’ from a list. Clients could also choose a ‘medium item’ if their partners attended all of the classes and a ‘small item’ if they and their partners complete all of the homework.” [Rewire News, 11/29/12]
The Head Of A Care Net Anti-Abortion Center In Newport, Tennessee, Described AFAB People’s “Purpose” As Having Babies And Said People Should Bootstrap Themselves Out Of Poverty. “[Wendy] Ramsey runs Options Pregnancy Help Center, a small evangelical Christian nonprofit that provides peer counseling, baby supplies and social services referrals to pregnant women and parents of young children. … It is affiliated with Care Net, one of the three largest networks of such centers in the United States, whose home page calls for action against ‘the pro-choice Left,’ which it says ‘publicly defends infanticide.’ … ‘Circumstances don’t make a woman what she is,’ Ms. Ramsey said. ‘My heart is for women to know their worth,’ she said, ‘that they have a purpose, and that life is not too hard or extreme for them to meet the purpose that they want to do.’” [New York Times, 8/23/19]
Per Its Own Report, Anti-Abortion Centers Like Care Net’s Only Provide A Miniscule Amount Of Less Than $200 Of Support Per Person—Not Nearly Enough For Long-Term Support. “In 2019, pregnancy centers provided services & materials valued at nearly $33 million to the state of Texas, serving 178,724 women, men, youth, & families.” [Care Net and Charlotte Lozier Institute, 10/25/21]
Care Net Jointly Operates Option Line—One Of The Largest Anti-Abortion Hotlines—With Fellow Anti-Abortion Center Network Heartbeat International.
Option Line Is A Joint Venture With AAC Network Heartbeat International. “One of the most potent tools that CPCs have at their disposal is the Option Line, a joint venture between Care Net and Heartbeat International that operates as a 24-hour call center and web tool that transfers or refers women to the nearest CPC. During its first month in operation, the Option Line received approximately 2,000 calls and since then has added instant messaging and email capabilities to its arsenal. Its operators boast that the service answers more than 600 contacts a day and Option Line claims more than two million contacts since 2003. Further, a web search revealed that many CPCs listed by Option Line advertised under headings that could lead women to believe that they provide the full range of reproductive-health services, including abortion care and contraception.” [NARAL Pro-Choice America, 12/6/16]
Option Line Pretends To Present Options For Pregnancy Care But Actually Funnels Pregnant People To Anti-Abortion Counselors. “Option Line is rife with misinformation about abortion and contraception, though it has the appearance of a legitimate medical service, at least aesthetically. (Its logo suspiciously resembles that of Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill.) On every single information page, visitors are referred to [Heartbeat International]-affiliated crisis pregnancy centers in their area, though the true goal of these centers is only vaguely alluded to, often after a wall of official-seeming medical platitudes. ‘These centers don’t perform or refer for abortions, but they have a lot of information about all your options,’ reads a cheery disclaimer at the bottom of a page entitled ‘Considering Abortion.’ ‘Many of them are even able to give you a free ultrasound.’” [Vice News, 5/30/17]
Protected Health Information (PHI) Shared With Option Line Is Not Subject To HIPAA Confidentiality. “If you decide to go to a ‘prolife’ pregnancy center for help, BEWARE of your counselor sharing your pregnancy history and other personal information with outsiders. Instead of keeping information between you and your counselor where it belongs, a large number of pregnancy centers associated with CareNet.org, HeartBeatInternational.org, and OptionLine.org allow the information you trust them with to leave the center and get into the hands of the employees of internet service providers and other people.” [Rewire News, 10/19/09]
Care Net And Heartbeat International Plaster Option Line Ads Across The Country To Attract As Many Calls As Possible. “A sign on [Care Net’s Capitol Hill Crisis Pregnancy Center’s] brick facade reads ‘Pregnant and Scared?’ – the slogan Care Net has placed on 40,000 billboard and bus-shelter ads nationwide, promoting a hotline it runs with Heartbeat International on behalf of their 1,900 affiliated centers.” [Associated Press, 8/21/06]
Research From Privacy International Found Option Line’s Interface To Be Vulnerable To Data Exploitation, Which Would Put The Safety Of Those Inquiring About Abortion At Risk. “Prior to beginning a chat, the Option Line chat interface requires visitors to enter their name, demographic information, location information, as well as if someone is considering an abortion. Only after submitting this personal information does the chat begin. … The intimate nature of what could be discussed in Option Line chats and the personal information that is required to be provided prior to being able to use an Option Line chat, such as name and location information, and information about a person’s mindset, clearly shows how important it is to understand if and how the chat information is shared, including whether that is back to Heartbeat International [and Care Net].” [Privacy International, 4/20]
Personal Data Shared With Care Net Is Vulnerable To Exploitation Since The Anti-Abortion Center Network Is Not Bound By The Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act Of 1996 (HIPAA).
Because AACs Are Not Licensed Health Care Providers, Care Net Has No Obligation To Comply With HIPAA—Despite Handling Sensitive Protected/Personal Health Information (PHI).
Since Anti-Abortion Center Services Are Generally Free, Provided Services Would Not Qualify As HIPAA Transactions. “Because CPCs generally lack medical licenses and offer their services free of charge, they are often exempt from federal and state regulations governing medical ethics and patient privacy, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In addition, although some staff at CPCs dress in scrubs or white coats, they are typically volunteers without formal medical training who may fail to disclose if the CPC is not a licensed medical facility.” [The Regulatory Review, 10/3/2020]
With Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Removing A Constitutional Right To Abortion, This Unprotected Data Is Even More Vulnerable To Exploitation … “Pregnancy centers, many of which are affiliated with national anti-abortion advocacy groups, including Care Net and Heartbeat International, collect personal data from the millions of women they interact with every year in person, by telephone, and through online chats. This data includes sexual and reproductive histories, test results, ultrasound photos, and information shared during consultations, parenting classes, or counseling sessions, which some pregnancy centers require before they provide aid, like diapers. Because most centers are not licensed medical clinics and offer services for free, privacy lawyers tell TIME that they are not legally bound by federal health data privacy laws.” [Time, 6/22/22]
… Especially Amidst Extremist Efforts Targeting Those Seeking Abortions. “[T]hese largely unregulated databases could be exploited in the wake of conservative efforts to criminalize abortion. Lawmakers in three states have already passed laws allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers, or in two states, anyone who aids in an abortion; other proposed bills target the pregnant woman herself. Pregnancy centers’ databases could be used as evidence in both launching and pursuing such legal actions. Because pregnancy centers often focus on outreach to women of color in urban areas, according to their own strategy reports, their clients are already disproportionately more likely to be surveilled and scrutinized by law enforcement.” [Time, 6/22/22]
At Non-Medical Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers, The Legal Privilege And Responsibility Of Confidentiality Does Not Apply To Information Disclosed To An Unlicensed Staff Member. “In most states, the conversations individuals have with their own medical professionals attorneys, clergy, or licensed professional counselors are legally privileged and may not be disclosed, except in rare circumstances. While this legal privilege and responsibility does not apply to interactions between clients and unlicensed personnel at non-medical centers, all team members have an ethical obligation to keep promises of confidentiality made by the center to clients.” [Care Net, 2017]
Previous Equity Forward Research Found That Care Net’s Former President Was Glad HIPAA Did Not Apply To Anti-Abortion Centers When The Law First Went Into Effect. “The good news for pregnancy centers is that most are not covered by these new federal requirements. If your pregnancy center is not a health care provider, [the] new HIPAA privacy rules should have no application to your procedures and practices. Moreover, even if your center offers limited medical services such as ultrasounds or STD testing, it may be exempt from the requirements of HIPAA so long as it does not engage in electronic transactions related to insurance claims and payments.” [Equity Forward, 11/2021]
Today, Official Care Net Medical Policy Says They Are Not Legally Bound To Protect PHI. “You may ask that we limit how we use or disclose your PHI [private health information]. We will consider your request, but we are not legally bound to agree to your restrictions.” [Recovered screenshot of a paywalled Care Net manual, Equity Forward, 11/2021]
Care Net Tries To Obfuscate Its Lack Of HIPAA Compliance With An Optional, Internally Set “Commitment Of Care And Competence.” “Despite looking like legitimate clinics, most CPCs are not licensed, and their staff are not licensed medical professionals. CPCs that are not licensed medical clinics cannot legally be held to the privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which could lead to violations of client privacy. For example, client information might not be kept confidential, and information about pregnancy or abortion intentions might be shared with people outside the clinic. Some CPCs have adopted a ‘Commitment of Care and Competence’ statement that is provided by umbrella organizations, such as Heartbeat International and Care Net. This statement includes provisions on patient confidentiality and accurate clinical information; however, adoption of these guidelines is optional and adherence is not regulated or enforced.” [American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, 3/2018]
Care Net Addressed The AMA Journal Of Ethics Article But Failed To Explain How It Regulates PHI Among Its Hundreds Of Affiliates Without Federal Legal Enforcement. “The article attempts to scare its readers by claiming that pregnancy centers’ non-compliance with HIPAA provisions could lead to ‘violations of client privacy.’ The authors state, ‘For example, client information might not be kept confidential….’ This is an entirely hypothetical statement, with no basis in fact. Most centers do not meet the legal definition of a covered entity under the HIPAA regulation because they do not furnish, bill, or are paid for health care in the normal course of business and do not transmit health information in electronic form in connection with a transaction for which a HIPAA standard has been adopted by HHS.” [Care Net, 1/17/19]
Care Net Claims Its Centers Voluntarily Comply With HIPAA, Despite Explicitly Stating Care Net Is Not Legally Bound To Protect PHI And Doesn’t Have To Meet A Client’s Patient Privacy Requests In Its 2017 “Understanding Client Care” Handbook. “However, centers readily comply with all applicable confidentiality and HIPAA regulations that apply to many abortion clinics, retail clinics, and other physician’s offices. Care Net pregnancy centers agree to respect client/patient privacy, and medical centers adhere to and distribute a notice of privacy practices modeled on HIPAA.” [Care Net, 1/17/19]
Care Net, Like Other Anti-Abortion Center Networks, Uses Anti-Abortion-Specific Online Centralized Data Platforms To Collect And Share Client And Personal Health Information. “When pregnant women agree to share their information with CPC volunteers, many do not realize their local CPC is affiliated with global anti-abortion organizations with which their information may be shared. Four anti-abortion organizations dominate the global CPC industry — Heartbeat International, CareNet, Obria, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates. They ‘tag team in directing key CPC tactics, including digital tactics, and promote them industry-wide,’ says [The Alliance Program Director Jenifer] McKenna. To facilitate the sharing of private patient information, the CPC industry has developed sophisticated data technology platforms to collect, share, and access client information, such as eKYROS and Next Level Center Management Solution, according to [Legal Voice Senior Attorney Kim] Clark.” [Women’s Media Center, 12/15/21]
Next Level Center Management Solution Was Developed By Care Net Peer Heartbeat International. “Next Level was developed by Heartbeat International, which markets the software to their 700+ pregnancy center affiliates. On their website, Next Level boasts that its software enables CPCs to access clients’ private information and share it with the broader anti-abortion movement. … ‘Large anti-abortion organizations are using crisis pregnancy centers to collect vast amounts of personal information about pregnant people and are positioned to use the big data they are collecting, without oversight or accountability,’ says McKenna.” [Women’s Media Center, 12/15/21]
Care Net Is A Partner Of eKYROS, A Software Company That Maintains Digital Dossiers On People Who Interact With Anti-Abortion Centers And Hotlines. “While many anti-abortion center sites claim to keep data confidential, there is no oversight binding them to these assurances. … Centers also incessantly call former clients to keep tabs on them, which raises similar concerns. ‘eKYROS links CPCs to centralized call centers run by [Heartbeat International] and Care Net (another major anti-abortion group steering the CPC industry) that also feed client data into a central database,’ McKenna said.” [Prism, 8/24/22]
Care Net Celebrated Texas’ S.B. 8 And Was Concerned That Pregnant People Were Fleeing Texas To Receive Abortion Care.
A Care Net Blog Celebrated That Texas’ S.B. 8 Law Limited Access To Critical Reproductive And Abortion Care. “On May 19, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that takes an innovative approach to save lives. And, after almost nine months in action—the numbers seem to show that it’s working.” [Care Net, 8/17/22]
The Same Blog Said That Care Net Facilities In Neighboring States Should Gear Up Resources To Deter Pregnant People From Seeking Out-Of-State Abortion Care Amidst Dire Legal And Safety Concerns. “But a bleak reality may hide beneath the Texas numbers. Neighboring states, like Louisiana, are showing an increase in abortions. … Care Net affiliates across the state of Texas need support now more than ever, as do centers in neighboring states who may see an increase in their client load. These centers must ramp up their resources to care for women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies. If you live in Texas or close to its border in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, or New Mexico, consider ways to support a center in your area.” [Care Net, 8/17/22]
One Care Net Blog Tried To Make A Claim For The Anti-Abortion “Fetal Personhood” Argument Through Transphobic Reasoning.
A Dangerous Transphobic Care Net Blog Concluded That The Fight For Transgender Rights Means Society Doesn’t Understand Abortion. “Stories [of affirming one’s gender] … are merely symptoms of the widespread effects of a society that embraces no absolute truth, except the absolute truth that there are no absolutes. Gender, age, race, and height, are all results of self-expression. It should be no wonder that such a society has difficulty determining when life begins. After all, the child in the womb can’t easily be interviewed to ask what its expression is. Meanwhile, we can interview the mother.” [Care Net, 5/3/16]
At The Start Of The COVID-19 Pandemic, Care Net Said That Abortion Care Is Nonessential In A Textbook Bad-Faith Argument.
Care Net Was One Of Many Anti-Abortion Center Networks That Used COVID-19 As A Fundraising Opportunity, Trying To Divert More People From Real Reproductive Health Care During The Pandemic. “Virginia-based Care Net, which oversees about 1,100 centers, evoked the pandemic in a fundraising appeal, noting that unplanned pregnancies may rise during isolation and ‘our centers need to find creative ways to serve these parents and empower them to choose life.’” [Associated Press, 4/13/20]
A Care Net Blog Questioned Why Abortion Care Was Necessary During The COVID-19 Pandemic. “As our nation’s activity screeches to a halt to stop the spread of COVID-19, I find it curious that some Planned Parenthood facilities are still open and performing abortions. Specialists of all kinds have been asked to stop seeing patients, while citizens are asked to postpone all elective surgeries so we can preserve sorely needed medical equipment like masks and gowns. But abortion services continue? … Why couldn’t Planned Parenthood close their doors across the country? Donate their masks and gowns to the crisis—just like the dentists?” [Care Net, 3/24/20]
Care Net Thinks Critical Reproductive And Abortion Care Is Nonessential. “Last week, the National Abortion Federation announced the following: ‘During this public health crisis, pregnancy care, including abortion care, remains an essential health service.’ Calling abortion a ‘time-sensitive service,’ the NAF argues that deferring abortion to a later time is unacceptable, as abortion is an ‘essential business.’ Even a headline [from Vox] says, ‘Advocates say all abortions are essential.’ … But doesn’t this contradict much of what the industry promotes? Haven’t we been told that abortion is about ‘choice’? If so, then abortion seems to clearly fall in the elective procedure category.” [Care Net, 3/24/20]
Care Net Bizarrely Argues That Abortion Isn’t A Real Medical Procedure. “The obvious question is: How can abortion be a necessary medical procedure? But, digging deeper than that, maybe the question should be: Is abortion truly a medical procedure at all? … Should Planned Parenthood stay open to provide abortions during a global pandemic? If Planned Parenthood’s best argument is that abortions are always necessary, then that begs the question: Are women really choosing abortion or are they forced into abortion through desperate, non-medical circumstances?” [Care Net, 3/24/20]
Care Net’s Disinformation Fueled Anti-Abortion Protests. “Amid debate about whether abortion is an essential service, anti-abortion protesters have mobilized outside numerous clinics — in some cases triggering confrontations with police over whether they’re violating social-distancing rules. In North Carolina, eight of about 50 protesters were arrested April 4 after refusing to disperse outside a clinic in Charlotte. Even as many businesses close temporarily, anti-abortion pregnancy centers remain open.” [Associated Press, 4/13/20]
President And CEO
Roland Warren has been the president and CEO of Care Net since 2012, after serving as president of the National Fatherhood Initiative—which has supported Care Net’s anti-abortion ideology—and working in corporate roles. Warren’s anti-abortion work, both at Care Net and previously, has particularly focused on the role of men and fathers in parenthood. Warren is focused on the role of men in coercing and manipulating a pregnant person’s own reproductive health care decision; similarly, he believes people should live within traditional marriage and family structures and is obsessed with single mothers and people who have children out of wedlock. Warren released a statement on behalf of Care Net praising the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. Warren equates the reproductive justice slogan “my body, my choice” to the states’ rights argument of the Confederate South during the abolition of slavery. When explaining why Care Net does not provide or believe in contraception, Warren said Care Net is “uphold[ing] God’s design and principles for sex and marriage and … transform[ing] people’s lives through the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Warren has shared transphobia through tweets. He has spoken at events held by the hate group Family Research Council and has been interviewed by the hate group Focus on the Family. As Warren runs a business that proselytizes fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity, he doesn’t believe that Christian pastors can be pro-choice and affirming of abortion care. Warren has equated abortion care to the “Nazis’ treatment of the Jews.”
Chief Outreach Officer
Vincent DiCaro is Care Net’s chief outreach officer and is involved in its strategic messaging. DiCaro amplified disinformation from the edited smear campaign against Planned Parenthood by the anti-choice front Center for Medical Progress. DiCaro once contacted the Trump HHS asking for the FDA’s official birth control and contraception information to be edited so that Care Net could give biased, inaccurate information to people at their anti-abortion centers. DiCaro wants churches to coerce pregnant congregates out of wanted abortion care. He has argued that pregnant people shouldn’t be in control of their own bodies.
Founder Of The Christian Action Council
Dr. Harold O.J. Brown
Care Net Operates A 24-Hour Call Center As A Joint Venture With AAC Network Heartbeat International. “One of the most potent tools that CPCs have at their disposal is the Option Line, a joint venture between Care Net and Heartbeat International that operates as a 24-hour call center and web tool that transfers or refers women to the nearest CPC. During its first month in operation, the Option Line received approximately 2,000 calls and since then has added instant messaging and email capabilities to its arsenal. Its operators boast that the service answers more than 600 contacts a day and Option Line claims more than two million contacts since 2003. Further, a web search revealed that many CPCs listed by Option Line advertised under headings that could lead women to believe that they provide the full range of reproductive-health care services, including abortion care and contraception.” [NARAL Pro-Choice America, 12/6/16]
Alliance Defending Freedom
A Care Net Affiliate Is At The Center Of An Alliance Defending Freedom Lawsuit Opposing A Connecticut Law That Sought To Require Medical Transparency For AACs. “Citing a violation of the First Amendment, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative advocacy group, has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new Connecticut law designed to prevent deceptive advertising at crisis pregnancy centers. The law, passed this spring, is intended to stop centers from distributing misleading information about abortion and other services and from inaccurately marketing themselves as medical facilities. … The ADF filed suit in federal court Tuesday on behalf of a New London crisis pregnancy center called Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center of Southeastern Connecticut.” [The Hartford Courant, 10/13/21]
In Its Early Stages, Care Net Held Anti-Abortion Boycotts.
While Operating As Christian Action Council, Care Net Organized Boycotts Directed At Corporations Who Donated To Planned Parenthood. “[A] national boycott, this one launched by the now-defunct conservative protestant umbrella group Christian Action Council, which later morphed into the Care Net crisis pregnancy center organization … aimed at corporations that donated to Planned Parenthood: American Express, Prudential insurance, Citicorp, and others. No philanthropic gift was too small to land a company on the list: American Express had given $7,500 out of $16 million in donations in 1989.” [Rewire News, 5/23/19]
Care Net Has Been Able To Nudge Its Way Into The White House.
Care Net, Along With Concerned Women For America And The Family Research Council, Were Able To Get An Early Meeting With The Obama Administration. “Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council will meet with Joshua DuBois, the man who leads the administration’s office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Wendy Wright, the president of CWA reached out to the Obama administration and they responded by inviting CWA and some of these other conservative Evangelical groups to The White House. The meeting plans to focus on the need to reduce abortions in the country and on responsible fatherhood programs. Also present at the meeting will be Tom McClusky, Senior Vice-President of the Family Research Council as well as representatives from the Christian Medical Association and Care Net, a pro-life Evangelical pregnancy crisis group.” [Right Wing Watch, 3/16/09]
Care Net Submitted Feedback To The U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services Under The Trump Administration, Asking The HHS To Make “The Reduction Of Abortion An Official, Stated Goal.” “We advised the HHS to advance the goal of reducing abortion: by encouraging health care providers to discuss abortion risks with patients, by conducting research on post-abortive outcomes, and by educating the public on abortion alternatives.” [Care Net, 11/13/17]
Care Net Is Gleefully Capitalizing On The Chaos Caused By The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Decision.
In The Wake Of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Removing A Constitutional Right To Abortion, Care Net Is Eager To Capitalize On People’s Health Care Confusion And Anxiety. “For all who value the sanctity of human life, today marks a monumental day in our efforts to protect the unborn. In upholding Mississippi’s pro-life law and overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has paved the way for states to make laws regulating abortion based on the values of their own citizens. But changed laws don’t equal changed hearts, and the Supreme Court can’t outlaw unplanned, unexpected, and unexpectedly complicated pregnancies. Accordingly, regardless of how the laws of our land play out over the next several years, women and men will continue to face tough pregnancy decisions. In an environment in which abortion is more difficult to access, Care Net’s work has become more critical than ever.” [Care Net, 6/24/22]
Care Net, Like All AAC Networks, Is Not A Substitute For Real Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care And Social Services—Despite Trying To Market Themselves As Such. “Critics say the centers are ill-prepared to serve as a meaningful social safety net. ‘We know they are inadequate, and we know they are not ready,’ said Katrina Kimport, an associate professor with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco. … Though many clients are grateful for things like free diapers and baby clothes, ‘the scale of need far exceeds what the centers were able to provide for them,’ she said. ‘We’re talking about prenatal vitamins and they don’t have stable housing.’” [New York Times, 5/11/22]
In The Wake Of Texas’ Abortion Ban, Care Net Is Trying To Position Itself As The Successor To Comprehensive Reproductive Health Clinics, Which It Is Not.
Care Net Celebrated The Signing of Texas’ S.B. 8. “Texas bill SB 8, signed into law on May 19th, seeks to advance a value shared by many Texans and reflected in Care Net’s mission statement: ‘that every human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection.’” [Care Net, 8/31/21]
In The Wake Of Texas’ Abortion Ban, Care Net Is Inaccurately Positioning Itself As A Substitute For Abortion Care. “Care Net, a Christian pro-life group that has 82 affiliated pregnancy centers in Texas, says its centers are seeing an increase in call volume of between 30 and 40 percent. Some of its centers are seeing 33 percent more clients for appointments, Care Net President Roland Warren told The Texan.” [The Texan, 9/23/21]
Care Net Is Using S.B. 8 As An Opportunity To Prey On People Navigating Reproductive Care Amidst Texas’ Abortion Ban. “Texas pregnancy centers are absolutely heroic. In 2019 alone, they provided women, men, youth, and families with $8.8 million in services that empower healthy choices. Regardless of changes in law or court decisions, I am confident that these centers will be here for any woman or couple facing decisions related to an unexpected or unexpectedly difficult pregnancy.” [Care Net, 8/31/21]
Care Net Said Its Facilities In Neighboring States Should Gear Up Resources To Deter Pregnant People From Seeking Out-Of-State Abortion Care Amidst Dire Legal And Safety Concerns. “But a bleak reality may hide beneath the Texas numbers. Neighboring states, like Louisiana, are showing an increase in abortions. … Care Net affiliates across the state of Texas need support now more than ever, as do centers in neighboring states who may see an increase in their client load. These centers must ramp up their resources to care for women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies. If you live in Texas or close to its border in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, or New Mexico, consider ways to support a center in your area.” [Care Net, 8/17/22]
Anti-Choice State Governments Use Care Net Anti-Abortion Centers To Give Pregnant People Inaccurate Information About The “Risks Of Abortion.”
A Wisconsin Teen, Who Had To Seek A Judicial Bypass To Receive Abortion Care, Was Told She Had To Seek “Counseling” From A Care Net Anti-Abortion Center. “The teen, who had already decided she wanted to terminate the pregnancy and whose legal guardian approved of the decision, sought a judicial bypass solely because her grandmother—her legal guardian—was too ill to actually accompany her to get the abortion. The public defender assigned to the case gave one last order to the teen. First she had to go get ‘counseling’ from a crisis pregnancy center.” [Rewire News, 2/11/13]
Despite Acknowledging Care Net Is An Anti-Abortion Front, The Pregnant Teen Was Still Told She Needed Care Net “Counseling.” “Tia told [Public Defender Nancy] Vue she wanted an abortion. Vue told Tia she first needed to get counseling. In a subsequent call Vue referred Tia to Care Net Pregnancy Center of Dane County. Tia wrote the center’s phone number down on her hand. Tia’s social worker was taken aback when she learned of the referral to Care Net, a faith-based crisis pregnancy center that opposes abortion. ‘I was alarmed at the idea that she was being sent to an anti-choice agency,’ says the social worker, who also requested anonymity to protect the student’s identity. … When Tia later asked Vue if she knew Care Net was an anti-abortion group, Vue said she did, but said it offers resources and options to minors.” [Isthmus, 2/7/13]
In South Dakota, Care Net Was Among AACs An Anti-Abortion State Law Required Pregnant People To Go To For Coercive “Counseling.” “The state’s new law requires women seeking abortions to first participate in one free counseling session at a pregnancy help center, defined as an organization that does not offer abortion referrals but works ‘to educate, counsel and otherwise assist women (to keep) their relationship with their unborn children.’ The centers would determine whether a woman is being pressured to have an abortion, and provide information to help her give birth and keep a child. … [A]bortion rights supporters say no other state has such stringent counseling requirements and the law encourages coercion against abortion and amounts to yet another obstacle to obtaining a legal abortion.” [Associated Press, 6/26/11]
Care Net’s Spreading Of “Abortion Pill Reversal” Misinformation Has Contributed To State Legislatures Introducing Anti-Science, Anti-Abortion Required Counseling Bills, Including Those Of South Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, And Wisconsin. “Many crisis pregnancy centers – particularly those in the Care Net and Heartbeat International networks – also advertise the possibility of an ‘abortion pill reversal.’ The term itself is a misnomer; there is no way to ‘reverse’ an abortion. … ‘It’s a very problematic type of medical misinformation,’ [OB-GYN Dr. Jonas] Swartz said. ‘A couple states are even requiring that doctors providing abortions counsel (patients) about abortion reversal, which is a non-evidence-based practice.’ Such a bill was passed in the Wisconsin Legislature but vetoed by [Governor Tony] Evers last December. OB-GYNs from across the state testified to the lack of medical evidence to behind abortion pill reversal.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/16/22]
Rhode Island State Legislators Proposed A Bill That Would Funnel Money To Care Net By Selling “Choose Life” License Plates Through The DMV. “[S]ix Senate Democrats sponsored a bill this year that would authorize the DMV to start selling license plates reading ‘Choose Life.’ The money generated by this bill, which is modeled on similar laws that originated in deep red states, would be channeled to Care Net – another crisis pregnancy center.” [The Providence Journal, 7/3/22]
Care Net’s Agenda Has Been Bankrolled By Private Funds.
Care Net Has Received Private Funds From Wealthy Anti-Abortion Conservatives. “The Thirteen Foundation and Heavenly Father’s Foundation have donated a combined $1.1 million to Heartbeat International; the Thirteen Foundation has donated an additional $450,000 to Care Net. Heartbeat International and Care Net are prominent anti-choice organizations, functioning as umbrella groups with [a] network of affiliated fake clinics.” [Rewire News, 6/6/18]
Care Net Has Received Funds From The Tax-Exempt California Community Foundation—Allowing The Philanthropic Foundation’s Private Donors To Bankroll Anti-Abortion Centers. “Care Net and Heartbeat International have both received funding from community foundations … with the California Community Foundation giving a total of $220,200 between 2011 and 2014 to Care Net.” [Rewire News, 10/27/16]
Care Net Pads Anti-Abortion Centers Already Receiving State Alternatives To Abortion Funding.
In States Where Care Net Is Not A Subcontractor Of An Alternatives To Abortion Program, It Still Supplements Some Anti-Abortion Centers Receiving Tax And TANF Dollars With Its Own Private Funds. “In Columbus, all centers receive support from national anti-abortion organizations Care Net and Heartbeat International. Combined, these groups brought in roughly $10 million in 2018 and 2019, which they allocate to local centers across the nation. Crisis pregnancy centers in Ohio do not need state funding. Yet, they continue to receive taxpayer funds to support their dangerous mission, including $7.5 million from the 2019 state budget. Even more damaging, the budget funding comes from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families federal block grant, a program intended to provide direct financial aid to families facing economic hardship.” [The Columbus Dispatch, 10/25/21]
Care Net Shares Its Strategies With Its Affiliates And Other Anti-Abortion Centers At Conferences.
Care Net’s National Conference, Sponsored By Choose Life Marketing And Hate Group Focus On The Family, Instructs On How To Proselytize To Pregnant People At Anti-Abortion Centers. “More than 1,600 pregnancy center staff and volunteers gathered to sharpen their skills for reaching out with Christ’s compassion to women and men considering abortion.” [Care Net, accessed 11/14/22]
Individual Anti-Abortion Centers Have Misused Public Money To Attend Care Net Conferences Containing Religious Propaganda And Proselytizing. “‘The specific religious content is definitely overshadowed by non-religious content,’ [Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship State Director Bobbie Meyer] wrote. ‘Only this year, in advertising the 2018 Care Net conference theme: Each One Reach One, Uniting Evangelism & Discipleship did the balance of content definitely shift. We had already decided that could not be supported by grant funds in 2018-2019.’ In a statement to Rewire.News, [the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services] said it had prohibited reimbursement for all Heartbeat and Care Net national conferences because of the ‘difficulty in accurately gauging the non-allowable portions.’ But the change had only become effective in the 2019 budget year.” [Rewire News, 7/11/19]
Tennessee Care Net Affiliates Got Money To Teach Abstinence-Only Sex Education.
Tennessee Care Net Affiliates Received Federal Funding To Teach Abstinence-Only Sex Education, Propagating Medical Misinformation In The Process. “A total of about $650,000 of [abstinence-only] money was awarded to the three CPCs: Full Circle Women’s Services in Athens, Life Choices Pregnancy Support Center in Dyersburg, and Women’s Care Center of Rhea County, Inc., in Dayton. … When they’re not teaching teens not to have sex, these centers are seeing women – sometimes teens – facing unplanned, and often unwelcomed, pregnancies. … Whereas proponents of comprehensive sex education encourage teaching teens how to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy and diseases while acknowledging that condoms are not guaranteed to work 100 percent of the time, abstinence-education advocates often claim that teaching about proper condom use offers young people a ‘false sense of security.’” [Rewire News, 5/4/12]
Care Net Held Continuing Education Courses For Nurses Based In Anti-Abortion Myths And Lies.
Care Net Lied To The State Of California’s Board Of Registered Nursing About The Unscientific, Anti-Choice Subject Matter Of Its Continuing Education Courses. “Continuing education credits are required of nurses and doctors to maintain licensure in California. … Rewire reviewed the state-approved applications of three organizations—Heartbeat International, Care Net, and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates—and found the providers failed to disclose to the board the medically questionable subjects they taught to nurses.” [Rewire News, 2/16/16]
Exploiting Lax State Oversight, Care Net Taught Courses About The “Fetal Pain” Myth—An Unscientific Claim Used To Dehumanize Abortion Care. “Care Net, another national anti-choice organization approved to teach CE classes to nurses, offered the class, ‘Fetal Pain: What’s the Evidence?’ in San Diego last year. … Dr. Sandra Christiansen taught ‘Fetal Pain: What’s the Evidence?’ in San Diego; her name also appeared on Care Net’s nine-year-old state application to teach classes. But the application did not list the fetal pain class, making it difficult to evaluate the content of Christiansen’s classes for nurses. What is clear is that Christiansen gave testimony two years ago in support of Maryland’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, an attempt to ban abortion care after 20 weeks.” [Rewire News, 2/26/16]
Legal And Financial
Care Net Has Been Involved In Several Lawsuits And Has Submitted Amicus Briefs To High-Profile Cases Resulting In Decisions That Corrode Abortion Rights.
In NIFLA v. Becerra, Care Net Filed An Amicus Brief In Opposition To California’s FACT Act, Which Would Have Required Basic Levels Of Medical Transparency For Anti-Abortion Centers. “Brief Of Amicus Curiae Care Net In Support Of Petitioners … This Court should grant the petition and reverse the Ninth Circuit to protect the speech rights of pro-life, pregnancy resource centers. … This Court should also grant the petition and reverse the Ninth Circuit to protect the religious rights of pro-life, pregnancy resource centers.” [SCOTUSBlog, 4/16/17]
Care Net’s NIFLA v. Becerra Amicus Brief Contributed To The SCOTUS Decision That California’s FACT Act Violated Anti-Abortion Centers’ Free Speech. “[C]risis pregnancy centers do not have to inform women that they are entitled to state-funded medical procedures, including abortions. Women who visit the centers, which are typically run by conservative, anti-abortion organizations, may not even be informed that the facilities are not licensed to practice medicine. In short, women facing unplanned pregnancies no longer have to be made aware of their rights.” [NBC News, 6/28/18]
In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Care Net Filed An Amicus Brief In Support Of Overturning Roe And Casey. “Brief of Amici Curiae Care Net, A National Affiliation Organization Of 1,200 Pregnancy Help Centers, And Alpha Center, A South Dakota Registered Pregnancy Help Center, In Support Of Petitioners … An Abortion is the Employment of a Medical Procedure to Achieve a Non-Medical Objective: The Termination of the Pregnant Mother’s Constitutionally Protected Relationship with Her Child, By Terminating the Life of a Whole, Separate, Unique, Living Human Being. … An Abortion is Not the Exercise of a Right; It is the Waiver, Surrender and Termination of One of the Most Important Fundamental Intrinsic Rights a Mother Has in All of Life; Roe and Casey Have Operated to Destroy that Right. … Because Roe and Casey are Used to Prohibit the States from Providing any Meaningful Protection of the Pregnant Mothers’ Interests, the Mother’s Due Process and Equal Protection Rights Are Being Violated.” [SCOTUSBlog, 7/29/21]
A Care Net Affiliate Is At The Center Of An Alliance Defending Freedom Lawsuit Opposing A Connecticut Law That Sought To Require Medical Transparency For Anti-Abortion Centers. “Citing a violation of the First Amendment, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative advocacy group, has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new Connecticut law designed to prevent deceptive advertising at crisis pregnancy centers. The law, passed this spring, is intended to stop centers from distributing misleading information about abortion and other services and from inaccurately marketing themselves as medical facilities. … The ADF filed suit in federal court Tuesday on behalf of a New London crisis pregnancy center called Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center of Southeastern Connecticut.” [The Hartford Courant, 10/13/21]
A Vermont Care Net Anti-Abortion Center, With The Help Of Alliance Defending Freedom, Sued The USDA When It Rejected The AAC’s Application For A Federal Building Loan. “Should taxpayer funds be used to help a ‘Christ-centered ministry’ buy and renovate a building in which it will offer Bible instruction and other services aimed at preventing abortion? That’s the question at the center of a lawsuit filed by Care Net Pregnancy Center of Windham County, Vermont, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rejected the center’s application for a federal building loan. … Backed by the Alliance Defending Freedom—an influential Christian conservative legal group—and a New Hampshire law firm, Care Net is arguing that the USDA’s actions violated the Fair Housing Act and its constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection under the law. In October, a federal judge ordered a USDA hearing officer to consider these arguments in deciding whether Care Net should get the loan.” [Rewire News, 11/29/12]
The Vermont Care Net AAC Tried To Get A USDA Community Facilities Loan To Proselytize And Incentivize Religion Through Its “Earn To Learn” Program. “Two main issues led the USDA’s Rural Development department to deny the request. One factor was that Care Net—which, as an affiliate of the national Care Net organization, must certify that its primary mission ‘is to share the truth and love of Jesus Christ in conjunction with a ministry to those facing pregnancy related issues’—intended to host Bible study and other religious classes in the facility that was to be purchased with the USDA loan. A second, related issue was that Care Net’s ‘Learn to Earn’ program appeared to be incentivizing religion by requiring that expectant parents take both Bible study classes and parenting classes in order to earn material rewards like baby clothes and furniture.” [Rewire News, 11/29/12]
Represented By The Alliance Defending Freedom, Care Net Was Among The Plaintiffs In Calvary Road Baptist Church v. Herring That Sued Virginia Over LGBTQIA+ Anti-Discrimination Protections. “The plaintiffs in this case ‘allege that they are all “Bible-based ministries,” specifically: churches (Cavalry Road Baptist Church and Community Fellowship Church), schools (Community Christian Academy and the schools associated with both churches), and a “nonprofit corporation that supports a network of…pregnancy centers” (Care Net). The Plaintiffs explain in their briefs that they ‘believe that “marriage has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman”…[they] also believe that “God creates each human uniquely and immutably male or female” and that “transgender conduct…is sinful and outside of God’s will…[adding that] [s]ame-sex marriage” and “transgender ideology” both “conflict” with plaintiffs’ “biblical views on marriage and sexuality.”’” [EIN Presswire, 12/7/20]
When Planned Parenthood Of South Dakota Sued The State’s Anti-Abortion Law, Care Net Was Allowed To Take Discovery And Question Witnesses Alongside The Defendants. “Often, anti-coercion policies are introduced as part of a package of restrictions and regulations and either dictate that an abortion provider must screen women for coercion … South Dakota’s new law, which was passed last year and modified this year, goes far beyond simply mandating that the abortion doctor screen for coercion. If the law survives the legal challenge, women will have to wait 72 hours after they schedule the abortion, meaning they will have to make two trips to the state’s only abortion clinic in Sioux Falls, which provides abortions once a week on average. During that waiting period, women will have to submit to an interview at one of three state-sanctioned ‘pregnancy help centers,’ all of which are faith-based and are vocally opposed to abortion. … The Alpha Center and Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center in Rapid City had entered the case as ‘intervenors’ – meaning that alongside the defendants, these centers could take discovery and question witnesses. Those very same centers are once again intervenors in the current lawsuit.” [Rewire News, 8/30/12]