Crisis pregnancy centers netted $1.4 billion in revenue in 2022, memo shows - TAI News
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According to a memo compiled by the organization Reproductive Health and Freedom Watch and shared with the Michigan Independent, 1,469 “crisis pregnancy centers” claimed $1.2 billion in expenses but netted around $1.4 billion in revenue in the 2022 fiscal year and nearly $350 million of that came from government grants.

CPCs are facilities that falsely represent themselves as reproductive health clinics. They are usually religiously affiliated and claim to provide free medical services, but instead often offer misinformation and dissuade pregnant people from having an abortion.

Reproductive Health and Freedom Watch, which closely monitors and exposes misinformation about reproductive and maternal health, collected and analyzed data about the centers using publicly available tax information and then compared it to a public report by the anti-abortion group the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

Jenifer McKenna, the CPC program director at Reproductive Health and Freedom Watch, told the Michigan Independent that the Charlotte Lozier Institute report and others like it “are cited over and over as credible proof that the CPC industry is responding to an increased demand for their services post-Dobbs, and our review of the reports and the available 990 data indicates this is a billion-dollar industry that’s neither serving more women nor expanding services post-Dobbs.”

The Charlotte Lozier Institute reports that it provided nearly $100 million more in value in 2022, the year that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Yet, the number of new clients served by the centers only increased by 0.8%. According to the memo, Lozier has not provided an overall number of clients served by CPCs. 

“The fact that they failed to account for a whopping $1.2 billion the industry reported spending in 2022 is really striking, especially compared to the Charlotte Lozier report, valuing services provided by CPCs in 2022 at only $358 million,” McKenna said. “Why is it costing the CPC industry over a billion dollars to provide less than $360 million in services?”

McKenna pointed out that CPCs increased their medical staff by 21% in 2022 and said: “They’re not providing medical services, yet they’re claiming to meet health care needs. … Why do they need to pay doctors to hand out diapers, baby wipes, and baby outfits? That’s mostly what they’re doing.”

The Charlotte Lozier Institute reported a 4% decrease in pregnancy tests provided to clients and an 8% decrease in what it calls “post-abortion” clients seen. Additionally, it reports a 42% drop in students participating in the CPCs’ abstinence-only until marriage programs, and yet CPCs’ revenue continues to rise. 

“I mean, $1.4 billion is really just astounding, especially when we’re thinking about, in the United States, we have the highest maternal mortality rate of any other higher-income country,” Andrea Swartzendruber, an associate professor at the University of Georgia College of Public Health who tracks CPCs, told the Michigan Independent. “I’m not sure exactly what our federal budget is for maternal mortality. I guess I would be surprised if it reaches a billion dollars this year.”

There are CPCs in nearly every state in the nation, and, according to the memo, 197 of them received government grants — a 257% increase in government grants over 2019. In 2022, the grants totaled $344 million, and $284.4 million went to CPCs, with over $10 million in revenue among them.

Swartzendruber said that CPCs have received federal grant money for a long time.

Under former President Donald Trump, the rules were changed for Title X, a federally funded family planning and preventative health services program for low-income people. The Trump administration’s rule barred providers in the Title X network from discussing referrals for abortion care with patients as they had prior to the rule change and opened the door for CPCs to be government-funded and to counsel clients against abortion.

“And the rule change made crisis pregnancy centers eligible for the very first time in the history of the Title X program,” Swartzendruber said.

Once in office, President Joe Biden’s administration reverted back to the original Title X rules.

In some states, independent reports compiled about CPCs have resulted in cuts to state-funded contracts for the centers, while in others, lawmakers have attempted to provide more funding.

In 2019, Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed funding in the 2020 state budget for the organization Real Alternatives after an independent report found that it had misused state funds. There are 106 CPCs in Michigan.This is an industry that is opaque and unregulated, with a long history of accusations of fraud and deception,” McKenna said. “And it’s becoming a bigger player in the post-Dobbs landscape. And their industry’s own data raises really troubling questions about the services and care it provides and its use of public funds.”

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The Wisconsin Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.