National Partnership for Women & Families

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Antiabortion-rights group buys former abortion clinic to mislead women seeking abortion care

An antiabortion-rights organization recently purchased an abortion clinic in Virginia to divert women seeking abortion care, the Washington Post reports.

Background

According to the Post, AAA Women for Choice -- a crisis pregnancy center in Manassas, Virginia -- is located next door to a former abortion clinic, the Amethyst Health Center for Women. The abortion clinic, which served about 1,200 women each year, closed last fall.

Property records show that an Indiana-based organization, the Blessed Virgin Mary Foundation, purchased the clinic last September for $360,000. The former owner of Amethyst Health, who wished to remain anonymous, said she never met the buyers. She said she only met with lawyers for the new owners, who said they represented an investment group interested in purchasing medical offices.

AAA Women for Choice's deceptive tactics

Since the purchase, the clinic has remained unchanged aside from a locked front door. Women seeking entrance to the clinic are frequently diverted to the neighboring CPC, according to the Post. Further, Amethyst Heath Center's website and phone number are still in operation, but women who dial the clinic number are redirected to AAA Women for Choice.

Alena Yarmosky of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia said while CPCs often "shadow" abortion clinics in an effort to dissuade women from obtaining abortion care, the tactic of purchasing a former clinic is new.

NARAL employees who made calls to Amethyst Health were told that the CPC was taking calls for the clinic. Women were then required to go through a long process if they wanted to come in for an appointment. According to Yarmosky, AAA Women for Choice asks callers "lots of intimate, personal, medical questions," but "none of that (information) is confidential" because the CPC is not a legitimate medical provider.

According to the Post, women who go in for a session are given a pregnancy test and then taken to an examination room. During an extended period in which women wait for their results, antiabortion-rights advocate Pat Lohman, who operates the center, attempts to dissuade them from obtaining an abortion. Women also receive a questionnaire that includes intimate questions about their sexual history.

The CPC provides women with false or medically unproven claims about the efficacy of condoms, how difficult it is to become pregnant after having an abortion, and links between abortion, birth control and cancer. The staff also shows a video that portrays a graphic and possibly inaccurate depiction of an abortion procedure (Dvorak, Washington Post, 2/4).