Watchdog: Massachusetts Fake Clinic Illegally Deceives Abortion Patients

By: Amy Littlefield, Rewire, November 9, 2017

A consumer watchdog group has filed a complaint with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey accusing an Attleboro crisis pregnancy center, or fake clinic, of breaking state law by masquerading as an abortion clinic.

The Campaign for Accountability sent the complaint Thursday after Rewire revealed how the website for Attleboro Women’s Health Center offers detailed information about abortion procedures, cost estimates, and appointments “to discuss the abortion methods that may be available to you.”

“The Center appears to be advertising abortion services that it intends not to offer in apparent violation of the law,” Katie O’Connor, legal counsel with the Campaign for Accountability, wrote in the complaint.

O’Connor’s complaint accuses the fake clinic of deceptive business practices and misleading advertising. In addition to “deliberately trying to confuse and deceive” abortion patients, the website has inaccuracies about the purported psychological risks of abortion care and the unproven claim that a medication abortion can be reversed, O’Connor notes.

The complaint also alleges the fake clinic is making unauthorized use of a corporate name. That’s because Attleboro Women’s Health Center shares an address and business hours with Abundant Hope Pregnancy Resource Center, a self-described “Christian pro-life ministry.”

“Massachusetts has really robust consumer protection laws and obviously an attorney general who’s willing to enforce those laws,” O’Connor told Rewire. “We’re hopeful in this pretty egregious case that she would decide to investigate.”

A spokesperson for Healey confirmed the office has received the complaint about Attleboro Women’s Health Center and will review it. The violations detailed in the complaint can carry fines or even imprisonment, but O’Connor said her hope is that Healey’s office stops the fake clinic from deceiving people.

“I think what I would most like to see is the Attleboro Women’s Health Center having a website that more accurately describes what it actually does,” O’Connor said.

Read the rest of the article here.