D076 Addressing the Ongoing Harm of Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring,
That the 80th General Convention denounces the work of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, also known as Pregnancy Resource Centers; and be it further
Resolved, that the 80th General Convention apologizes for the Church’s previous support of Crisis Pregnancy Centers as detailed in Resolution 1994-D105.
Our Church has regretfully been complicit in many horrific practices in the past with regards to unwed mothers and unplanned pregnancies. These include homes for unwed mothers run by The Episcopal Church in a number of dioceses, which often caused lasting harm for mothers and children who were subject to emotional abuse and forced adoption within those facilities.
In the modern era, this practice has shifted to appear within the form of so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” or “Pregnancy Resource Centers.” These centers often misrepresent themselves as medical centers, providing factually incorrect information to pregnant people about pregnancy, abortion, contraception, and fertility (Bryant et al 2014). These centers, in many cases, will offer ultrasounds to pregnant people, without proper and appropriate medical training, potentially delaying entry into prenatal care or obscuring the risk of ectopic pregnancy (Kimport et al 2018). In addition, these centers directly pressure pregnant people to carry unplanned pregnancies to term, using tactics such as stigmatization to force a shift in an individual's plans for their pregnancies (Warren et al 2022). Crisis Pregnancy Centers often provide “free” resources (such as food, clothing, and necessary supplies) to struggling individuals, making those resources contingent upon the pregnant person carrying their pregnancy to term (Kimport 2020).
Crisis Pregnancy Centers are a wolf in sheep’s clothing, purporting to be Christian centers offering love and acceptance to the needy but instead engaging in duplicitous practices to force individuals to carry unplanned pregnancies to term. The Episcopal Church should prayerfully consider the role of these Centers in the broader landscape of reproductive healthcare and repent from our past support.
Bryant et al 2014: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0010782414005654
Kimport et al 2018: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2018.02.016
Warren et al 2022: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S266732152200021X
Kimport 2020: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1363/psrh.12131