Why Crisis Pregnancy Centers Are Legal but Unethical

AMA J Ethics. 2018 Mar 1;20(1):269-277. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2018.20.3.pfor1-1803.


Crisis pregnancy centers are organizations that seek to intercept women with unintended pregnancies who might be considering abortion. Their mission is to prevent abortions by persuading women that adoption or parenting is a better option. They strive to give the impression that they are clinical centers, offering legitimate medical services and advice, yet they are exempt from regulatory, licensure, and credentialing oversight that apply to health care facilities. Because the religious ideology of these centers' owners and employees takes priority over the health and well-being of the women seeking care at these centers, women do not receive comprehensive, accurate, evidence-based clinical information about all available options. Although crisis pregnancy centers enjoy First Amendment rights protections, their propagation of misinformation should be regarded as an ethical violation that undermines women's health.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Legal*
  • Access to Information*
  • Adoption
  • Birthing Centers
  • Deception*
  • Decision Making
  • Dissent and Disputes
  • Female
  • Freedom
  • Humans
  • Organizations / ethics*
  • Parturition
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted*
  • Religion and Medicine*