The Virginia chapter of the National Organization for Women, along with other progressive organizations, sponsored demonstrations throughout Virginia protesting state-sponsored funding of eighteen so-called crisis pregnancy centers in Virginia. Virginia NOW President Connie Hannah stated that “NOW deplores funding for fake clinics that claim to promote women’s health but actually promote an anti-choice agenda.” Virginia NOW charges that crisis pregnancy centers are actually anti-choice operating bases that spread false information about abortion and act principally to convert women to fundamentalist Christianity. Virginia, however, is not the only state to allocate government funds to crisis pregnancy centers. According to NOW LDEF and NARAL, South Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Missouri have all supplied state funds to crisis pregnancy centers, and several crisis pregnancy centers received abstinence-only education grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this year.
Anti-choice groups, like the American Life League, sponsor crisis pregnancy centers throughout the nation, and many crisis pregnancy centers are religiously based, advertising themselves as Christian or evangelical ministries and causing some to express concern that government funding may be overstepping the line between church and state. Women have also complained about services rendered at crisis pregnancy centers, indicating that they were subject to undue pressure not to abort, emotional trauma, and deceptive advertising. Between 1983 and 1996, nineteen lawsuits were filed against crisis pregnancy centers in nine states.