Mass. Ad Campaign Targets Pregnancy Centers

Mass. Ad Campaign Targets Pregnancy Centers

Massachusetts has become the first state to launch a campaign to dissuade pregnant mothers from going to crisis pregnancy centers.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has begun a $1 million taxpayer-funded “public education” campaign encouraging people to avoid crisis pregnancy centers. The ads call pregnancy centers “anti-abortion centers” and accuse them of putting patients’ health at risk, misleading pregnant mothers about their options and deceiving the public that they offer or refer for abortion.

The campaign will appear on social media, billboards, radio and transit. The first ad aired on June 10. This follows a growing trend in recent years of bashing pro-life pregnancy centers by liberal groups and politicians who accuse them of masquerading as “fake clinics.”

Live Action calls the ads a “smear campaign against organizations that provide a lifeline to expectant mothers and young families who need resources and help, all because those centers do not provide abortion.”

The ads direct viewers to a Massachusetts government webpage titled “Avoid Anti-Abortion Centers.” It accuses pregnancy centers of masquerading as medical facilities while they do not offer “comprehensive care,” and tells visitors to “Get care [they] can trust,” linking to an abortion facility search tool.

A linked page titled “About anti-abortion centers” accuses pregnancy centers of being misleading and staffed by untrained volunteers and employees, and gives “warning signs” for recognizing a pregnancy center.

Also called pregnancy resource centers, these pro-life organizations offer free help and resources to pregnant mothers in crisis situations. Most offer free pregnancy testing and ultrasounds, as well as professional counseling, adoption information and baby supplies such as diapers and clothes; and many offer the hope of the Gospel. Abortion advocates claim that pregnancy centers manipulate women by talking them out of aborting their children.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey accused pregnancy centers of having “deceptive and dangerous tactics … to stop people from accessing comprehensive reproductive services.”

Healey has a history of attacking pregnancy resource centers—when she was Massachusetts’ attorney general in 2022, she issued an advisory against pregnancy centers, drawing attention to what she called their “misleading” practices and saying that pregnancy centers “often provide inaccurate and misleading information about abortion and the medical and mental health effects of abortion.”

First Liberty Institute and Massachusetts Family Institute wrote a letter to Healey on behalf of a coalition of pregnancy centers in the state when Healey allegedly refused to enforce the law after several of the centers were vandalized following the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.

“It is outrageous that the Attorney General would target pregnancy centers that offer essential medical services, counseling, along with diapers and knitted baby blankets to women in crisis while allowing dangerous vandals to go free,” Jeremy Dys, attorney with First Liberty, said. “Gen. Healey has a legal obligation to protect all reproductive health facilities, not just the ones she politically favors.”

Jane Cournan, a Republican candidate for state representative for Massachusetts, wrote on X, “Massachusetts is against pregnancy resource centers that try to help needy mothers who want to keep their babies. The [pregnancy centers] I am familiar with are lifesaving to some mothers and children.”

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