Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, more scrutiny has been applied to Pregnancy Resource Clinics (or PRCs) across the nation. The pro-abortion movement is fearful, as pro-life Pregnancy Clinics outnumber abortion clinics 3 to 1 across the United States and are prepared to serve more women than ever before.
Patient privacy has been a recent focus of the pro-abortion movement. In July 2022, the Biden Administration issued an executive order to protect access to reproductive healthcare services, which included an emphasis on protecting the patient privacy of pregnant women. Meanwhile, the first article you will see in regards to PRCs and patient privacy in a Google search is a Time article about how PRCs are stealing patient data.
Is this claim true? Despite the popular narrative, Pregnancy Clinics that offer medical support follow the same privacy laws as other medical facilities, adhering to HIPAA law and state regulations. So what do PRCs really do for patients? And where did the idea of patient data collection come from?
PRCs Follow HIPAA Law
There is a general misconception about what Pregnancy Resource Clinics (also called Crisis Pregnancy Centers, CPCs, Pregnancy Help Centers, etc.) are, due to the negative media coverage by pro-abortion advocates. What is the truth about PRCs? They are non-profit organizations that offer free pregnancy services and resources to women and couples.
After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released new HIPAA guidelines relating to abortion and reproductive health care. A concern raised by pro-abortion advocates was that Pregnancy Clinics could use patient data to threaten legal action against women for violating abortion restrictions. However, HIPAA protects patients from law enforcement and prohibits the disclosure of personal health information (PHI) without a court-ordered warrant or subpoena.
Pregnancy Clinics have always followed these established medical processes. While not all Clinics have a medical license, as there are distinctions among PRCs, they must abide by HIPAA compliance along with state regulations and laws.
Pregnancy Clinic Distinctions
Pregnancy Resource Clinics are classified as either medical or non-medical. The Lozier Institute reported that 10,215 licensed medical professionals were involved as either staff or volunteers across 2,131 of approximately 3,000 Pregnancy Clinics located across the United States. These licensed physicians are accountable to all medical board requirements and state laws.
While not all PRCs are medically licensed, these Clinics provide free services and resources such as peer counseling, education, parenting classes, and material resources (diapers and baby clothes). A non-medical Clinic is not required to present a medical license —this would be like asking a local food bank to have a medical license.
Medically-licensed PRCs often have board-certified physicians on staff. A medical license allows PRCs to provide services such as pregnancy testing, ultrasound screenings, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing.
Where Did The Idea Come From?
Of all the services medical or non-medical Pregnancy Clinics provide, none are nearly as invasive as an abortion. However, despite the increased need for medical accountability, many abortion clinics have chosen to ignore state licensing requirements.
For instance, Kermit Gosnell, a Pennsylvania abortionist, ran his abortion facility for decades without licensed or qualified employees. In response to this scandal, a Texas law was passed that required abortionists to admit privileges to a hospital within 30 miles away and required the abortion clinics to meet the minimum health and safety standards of an ambulatory surgical center. In 2016, the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision overturned these regulations, giving abortion clinics more flexibility and less accountability in regard to women’s health.
In April 2022, two Ohio abortion facilities were fined for dumping private patient information along with the remains of aborted children. Each clinic was ordered to pay $7,500 and $5,000 respectively by the Ohio Department of Health. Found amongst biohazard waste were the names and private information of 57 women, including dates of birth, phone numbers, and addresses. Unfortunately, compromising patient privacy is not an uncommon occurrence for many abortion clinics. Live Action, a Pro-Life news outlet, has been investigating abortion clinics mishandling personal health information for years.
The Goal of PRCs Isn’t Changing
PRC’s have been scrutinized since the beginning when the first PRC was opened in response to legalized abortion. The heart behind these Clinics has always been for women, regardless of what the law of the land says. That isn’t changing anytime soon.
The goal of PRCs is to empower women vulnerable to abortion with life-affirming alternatives, readily meeting their patients’ emotional and spiritual needs. While not every PRC functions in a medical capacity, the data suggests PRCs are becoming more equipped to holistically serve pregnant women with medical services alongside material assistance and emotional support.
Now you get to be on the life-giving side of history. Support for PRC’s, adoption, foster care, and protection for life will continue to grow as we stand firm alongside women in the fight for life.