Attorney General Ellison issues consumer alert about crisis pregnancy centers

CPCs may provide misleading information about abortion and contraception, and often do not provide services they claim to offer; consumers encouraged to contact AG’s Office with concerns or complaints

August 22, 2022 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today issued a consumer alert that warns Minnesotans seeking reproductive health services about the limited services and potentially deceptive nature of certain claims made by some so-called “crisis pregnancy centers.” Abortion remains constitutionally protected and legal in Minnesota. In the wake of the June 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, however, it is more important than ever that Minnesotans seeking reproductive healthcare receive complete, accurate information from trusted sources. 

“The Minnesota constitution guarantees the right to safe and legal abortion. Many crisis pregnancy centers claim to offer comprehensive healthcare, but their purpose is to prevent pregnant people from accessing that right — which sometimes they accomplish by misleading, misinforming, or deceiving people,” said Attorney General Ellison. “All Minnesotans — including pregnant people — deserve to get accurate, medically sound information about their options from providers they can trust. As Minnesota’s chief consumer advocate and legal officer, I want to alert Minnesotans that crisis pregnancy centers often do not offer the services they claim to offer, and that the information about abortion and contraception they offer may be inaccurate or misleading.  

“I encourage anyone who may be pregnant to do their homework and to seek out medically accurate and sound information about their health and their options from licensed healthcare professionals,” Attorney General Ellison concluded. 

In today’s consumer alert, Attorney General Ellison asks patients to do their homework before making an appointment to access abortion care or reproductive healthcare services. Many so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) — which outnumber abortion clinics in Minnesota by an 11:1 ratio, according to a recent study — do not provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare. According to the study, the vast majority of CPCs do not have licensed physicians or registered nurses on staff — including in Minnesota, where only 20% of CPCs claim to have a registered nurse on staff and only 9% claim to have a physician on staff. The study also noted that more than 95% of Minnesota’s CPCs do not provide prenatal or wellness care to pregnant consumers, and a majority do not even provide prenatal referrals.  

Nevertheless, according to the study, nearly half of CPCs in Minnesota offer “non-diagnostic” ultrasounds that serve no medical purpose or benefit, and nearly one-third offer “abortion-pill reversal,” which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has called “unethical” and “not based on science.” The study further found that nearly two-thirds of Minnesota CPCs make false or biased medical claims about abortions.   

Crisis pregnancy centers often target pregnant people who are low-income, who may have less access to healthcare and are more likely to lack health insurance than pregnant people with median or above-median incomes. 

The attorneys general of California and Massachusetts have issued similar consumer warnings about crisis pregnancy centers. Crisis pregnancy centers are not regulated under Minnesota law. 

Consumers should be aware that CPCs are private organizations that seek to prevent people from accessing abortion care as well as contraception. If you are pregnant and looking to understand your healthcare options, you should consult with a licensed healthcare provider. Attorney General Ellison urges anyone with any concerns or information about potentially misleading claims made by any crisis pregnancy center to contact his office by calling (651) 296-3353 (Metro area), (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota), or (800) 627-3529 (Minnesota Relay), or by filing a complaint online.