It is estimated that one in seven Ohio women of adult reproductive age has visited a crisis pregnancy center, according to a new study.
In a survey of 2,529 women, nearly 14% said they had never attended a center. Prevalence was more than twice as high among black women and 1.6 times higher among those in the lowest socioeconomic group, an Ohio State University research team found. His study appears in the journal Contraception.
Pregnancy centers in crisis are often supported religious organizations and are designed to deter women with unwanted pregnancies of choosing abortion, even though they are not usually advertised as anti-abortion. In Ohio, where there are more than 100 centers spread across the state, they are funded with state dollars. In 2019, during the time of the survey, the state pledged $ 7.5 million in two years to support the centers. Centers that focus on adoption can also receive funding for the sale of “Choose Life” tuition.
Marketed to teens and pregnant women trying to make a decision about their pregnancies, the centers often provide testing and advice on pregnancy and often offer items such as diapers, formulas, and other baby items. Some centers also offer ultrasounds. Are not medical providers, and are not regulated by the Ohio Medical Board.
“Pregnancy centers in crisis are visited by a large number of women in general and even by more women from populations that are already facing serious barriers reproductive health care, raising concerns that this may serve as another obstacle to health care, “said Robin Rice, lead author of the study and a medical student at Ohio State.
“They look like medical clinics and some women may not know if it’s a medical center or not,” she said.
The new study provides a first snapshot at the population level of the prevalence of interactions with the centers, a measure that could help doctors, reproductive rights advocates and others who want to make sure Ohio women receive the Proper medical care, including said information about all your legal options.
Maria Gallo, co-author of the study and professor of epidemiology at Ohio State, said previous research has found that centers sometimes provide misinformation about reproductive health, which is especially troubling in cases where women they mistakenly think they are visiting one reference professional.
“The state invests millions of dollars in these centers every year, which makes it even more important for pregnant women to be aware of their missions and the fact that they are not medical providers, but typically religious outfits that oppose abortion, ”he said. .
“If these centers attract people who have no other options for pregnancy counseling and care, or don’t know what those options may be, that’s worrying. And if they’re doing medically adjacent procedures, such as pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. , could increase the chances that women will think they are receiving regulated health care when they are not. “
Gallo said the delays in getting it medical care it could cause women not to receive an adequate diagnosis of early pregnancy complications, such as life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.
Rice said it is important for health care providers to understand the scope of these centers and recognize that their patients ’experiences may be colored by the information they receive. Another possible action based on the results of the study: “We could try to establish legitimate state-funded prenatal clinics in those areas that may not have them,” he said.
“Mitigating financial barriers is also important. Crisis pregnancy the centers are free, so we may also want to think of ways to offer free alternative support services that also attract women for convenience and free supplies “.
From a political perspective, Gallo said lawmakers may want to rethink the use of state funds for unregulated organizations that have been shown to provide health misinformation.
Robin Rice et al, Who attends a crisis pregnancy center in Ohio ?, Contraception (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.contraception.2021.05.011
Ohio State University
Citation: Visits to the usual “crisis pregnancy centers” in Ohio (2021, May 27) recovered on May 27, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-crisis-pregnancy-centers-common -ohio.html
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