Supervisor Lawson-Remer wants to Shut Down Fake Pregnancy Centers & Deliver More Abortion Education

News Date

Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, a lifelong fighter for reproductive rights, has authored a policy that seeks to shut down “fake and fraudulent Crisis Pregnancy Centers'' in San Diego County using litigation. The Supervisor also wants to create a public education campaign about the harm they can cause, and deliver more information about the reproductive health resources the County of San Diego and its providers offer.

Today, with the support of leaders and medical professionals from Planned Parenthood of Pacific Southwest and reproductive healthcare advocates, Supervisor Lawson-Remer outlined the details of her policy and urged her colleagues to support it.   

“Crisis Pregnancy Centers are harming women and undermining our reproductive freedom, and I want to stop them from operating in San Diego County,” said Supervisor Lawson-Remer. “Passing this policy will make sure our residents are properly informed about the dangers of these fake reproductive health centers, and promote the good work of reputable and qualified providers such as Planned Parenthood. 

“The fraudulent pregnancy centers lure unknowing people into their locations by offering free reproductive health consultations, and then push their anti-abortion agenda. They are hurting people emotionally and physically with their misleading  practices and they must be stopped.”

Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest is a trusted entity in the healthcare space with a mission to ensure broad public access to sexual and reproductive health care through direct service, education and advocacy. 

During today’s press event, Vernita Gutierrez, Vice President External Affairs, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest said, “Everyone should have access to the high-quality health care and medically accurate information they need to make the best decisions for their health, lives, and futures. Most Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not licensed health centers and do not provide the medically-accurate information that pregnant people deserve about all their options. Their goal is to steer people away from accessing abortion care through dangerous misinformation in service of their own political agenda.

Interfering with a person’s decision about whether or when to start a family denies their right to self-determination, undervalues their moral agency, and potentially endangers their physical and emotional well-being. Planned Parenthood’s doors are open to all and we will always be here to provide the care, education, and factual information that people need to make informed decisions in a safe, supportive environment.” 

A person’s reproductive healthcare needs to be taken seriously, and should not be exploited by bad actors who are providing non-factual medical guidance.  

Dr. Toni Marengo, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest said,  “As a medical provider and OB-GYN, I take the health and safety of our communities very seriously. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are dangerous – they are run by volunteers who are not trained medical professionals and spread misinformation about abortion in service of their own political agenda. 

Crisis Pregnancy Centers can create a hostile environment for people who are considering abortion or other reproductive health care options. They engage in deceptive and misleading practices to shame and pressure pregnant people, and do not give them accurate and science-backed information about all of their options. I believe strongly and unequivocally that all people should have access to the care and information they need to make their own decisions about if and when to start a family. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not medical facilities and should not be allowed to operate as such. Our communities deserve factual information and compassionate care, not fake clinics.”

In September 2023, legal action was initiated by California State Attorney General Rob Bonta against two California “Crisis Pregnancy Centers.” News reports indicate there are at least 16 Crisis Pregnancy Centers in San Diego County.

  Supervisor Lawson-Remer’s policy, if passed Tuesday, will:

  • Explore initiating lawsuits against Crisis Pregnancy Centers to shut them down, 

  • Create and implement a public education campaign to increase local awareness around the dangers of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, and 

  • Deliver more information about reproductive health resources, including abortions, to residents. 

Read more about the policy here.

In May 2022, Chairwoman Nora Vargas and Vice Chair Lawson-Remer put forward a resolution at the County which supported enshrining a pregnant person’s right to choose within the California constitution. This resolution foregrounded the importance of an individual’s right to privacy to choose to have an abortion as well as the health impacts and risks of pregnant persons, particularly for individuals living in poverty and people of color who are three times as likely to die in childbirth than white individuals. It committed the County of San Diego to defending and fighting for the right to choose for all who seek care.