On Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver took a deep dive into the murky waters of crisis pregnancy centers. These centers are run by anti-abortion organizations, which use a number of slippery practices to convince women to carry their pregnancies to term, even when they are seeking abortions.
Through interview clips, news footage and advertisements, Oliver found that people in charge of some CPCs advocated for deceiving women or made up their own facts. In a a clip Oliver plays from “Jackson,” a Showtime documentary about reproductive health care, a woman in charge of a CPC insists that condoms are only 20 percent effective when it comes to preventing unintended pregnancy. (In practice, 18 out of 100 women experience an unintended pregnancy when their partner wears a condom, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
The woman, Barbara Beavers, the director of Center for Pregnancy Choices, also had some thoughts about how women should be prepared to “die for their babies.”
“We want to appear neutral on the outside,” Abby Johnson, an anti-abortion activist, said in an audio clip played on “Last Week Tonight” from the annual Heartbeat International conference. “The best call, the best client you ever get, is one that thinks they’re walking into an abortion clinic.”
The “Last Week Tonight” host also showed a van that would park in front of an abortion clinic to lure women in for a free sonogram. Once the women entered the van, CPC officials would guilt trip them out of abortions.
Oliver even filed paperwork in New York to create a nonprofit called Our Lady of Choosing Choice so that he could set up his own CPC. He remodeled a van − dubbed Vanned Parenthood − to double as a CPC on wheels, proving that the people who run and operate these centers don’t even need to know how to use an ultrasound machine or have any medical qualifications.
While health-care centers that offer abortions are prohibited from receiving federal funding, some CPCs can and often do receive taxpayer money from states. One NPR report found CPCs were signing clients up for Medicaid. There are more than 3,000 CPCs in the United States, far outnumbering abortion clinics. In 2014, there were less than 800 health clinics that provided abortions.