In a statement released Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) launched an awareness campaign titled “Know Your Options” to combat what he calls “false and misleading advertising” by pro-life organizations seeking to offer women options other than abortion.
“In the face of repeated attacks on access to reproductive health care, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched a public awareness campaign to connect women to comprehensive, confidential and medically accurate reproductive health care services,” the statement reads.
Cuomo said the campaign is meant to respond to reports of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) who he says are “misrepresenting themselves as health centers to dissuade those seeking abortion from going through with that choice.”
“These reports show that CPCs often use false and misleading advertising and offer free services to attract women into their offices, where they then allegedly misinform and mislead those who seek pregnancy-related information,” the statement said.
“These centers' actions may interfere with New Yorkers' constitutionally protected rights to seek reproductive health care and may endanger them by preventing them from receiving medically accurate information.”
In light of President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Cuomo said New York will “fight back” against the federal government in order to protect a woman’s right to “comprehensive, safe and affordable health care.”
“In New York, we refuse to let President Trump and Washington take us backwards and jeopardize the rights of New Yorkers. We are launching this public awareness campaign to combat the insidious spread of misleading, medically inaccurate information about reproductive health and to ensure all New York women know the options they are legally entitled to.”
In addition, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) website accuses CPCs of being “fake health centers” and says they “shame and intentionally mislead women about their reproductive-health-care options to block them from accessing abortion care.”
“Fake health centers try to trick women into entering these facilities by masquerading as full-service women’s health clinics. Some even claim to provide abortion care to get women in the door, and then use lies and manipulation to try to dissuade them from considering abortion.”
In a Facebook post Thursday, pro-life activist Abby Johnson said that there are women who would “never think to darken the door of a pregnancy center” because of the false information spread by the media.
“These are absolutely the primary demographic of women we are trying to reach. We are PROLIFE. We are trying to save babies from dying and women from the pain of abortion. Yes, aside from lying and manipulation, we will do whatever it takes to get that woman in the door, because the life of her child is depending on it.”
In response to the accusations of alleged “manipulation” that critics say happen inside CPCs, Johnson said, “I can say unequivocally that the most manipulation I have ever witnessed was inside the abortion center walls.”
“The goal in the pregnancy center movement is to empower women, not create dependency,” Johnson commented, adding, “So while these centers do provide material assistance, the hope is that the assistance will be temporary. We are trying to offer a hand up, not a hand out.”