NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has issued 34 subpoenas in a new wave of investigations into the safety and accuracy of so-called services being provided by crisis pregnancy centers in New York State. Citing complaints from state residents, Spitzer issued the subpoenas, reminding those groups under investigation that they are legally bound to explain the services they do and do not provide and are prohibited from practicing medicine without a license, meaning that they cannot administer pregnancy tests or write prescriptions.
Anti-choice groups, such as the American Life League, sponsor crisis pregnancy centers throughout the nation, and many are religiously based. Virginia, South Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania provide government funding of such centers. Not only does this raise concerns about the separation of church and state, but also whether state funds are being used to provide deceiving and ill-advised services. Beyond New York, many other women have also complained about services rendered at crisis pregnancy centers, indicating that they were subject to undue pressure not to have an abortion, that they were emotionally traumatized, and that they were the victims of deceptive advertising. Between 1983 and 1996, nineteen lawsuits were filed against crisis pregnancy centers in nine states. There are currently more than 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers nationwide.