Ohio Legislature Poised to Allocate $5 Million to Deceptive Crisis Pregnancy Centers Despite CfA’s Call for Investigation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 16, 2019
Contact: Bryan Dewan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tomorrow, the Ohio Legislature is expected to pass a state budget bill that allocates $5 million to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). CPCs are fake medical clinics that deliberately mislead pregnant women seeking to have an abortion.
Last year, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog group focused on public accountability, called on then-Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to investigate two Ohio crisis pregnancy centers, Elizabeth’s New Life Center (ENLC) and Heartbeat of Toledo (HT), for engaging in deceptive business practices in violation of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Protection Act (CSPA).
ENLC and HT operate several CPCs. They receive funding through the Ohio Parenting and Pregnancy Program, which distributes funds from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to nonprofit organizations that promote childbirth.
Based on their misleading grant applications, websites, marketing materials, and the strategic location of their offices, it appears both ENLC and HT may be violating Ohio’s consumer protection law. The CSPA prohibits businesses from engaging in unfair and deceptive tactics.
The Ohio Legislature is preparing to pass House Bill 166, which would appropriate $5 million to CPCs like ENLC and HT. In response to the Legislature’s determination to allocate funding for CPCs, CfA Counsel Alice Huling issued the following statement:
Crisis pregnancy centers like Elizabeth’s New Life Center and Heartbeat of Toledo deliberately misrepresent their purpose to mislead pregnant women. People looking for abortion information online are often led to the websites of these fake clinics, which don’t support or provide abortion care despite purposefully using deceptive and confusing language on their advertisements and websites to obscure this fact. Not only are these tactics immoral, but they also may be illegal. CPCs that deliberately mislead women should not be eligible to receive taxpayer dollars. We urge Ohio legislators and Gov. DeWine to remove this funding from House Bill 166 until a full investigation can be conducted.
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.