The results of a somewhat clandestine study by the journal Contraception has revealed that crisis pregnancy centers offer better and more timely service than abortion facilities.

The study, which appears in the journal’s January 2023 issue, used mystery callers in its analysis of 445 crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) and geographically paired abortion facilities. Four trained research assistants conducted phone calls, “posing as patients with an unknown last menstrual period and positive home pregnancy test, seeking pregnancy confirmation and counseling.”

Crisis Pregnancy Centers and Abortion Facilities

The primary outcome sought by the research was the examination of wait time to first available early pregnancy appointment. Secondary outcomes included availability of pregnancy testing and ultrasound, cost, and telephone call characteristics (number of call attempts, call duration, and hold time).

Contraception concluded that pregnancy confirmation is more accessible at CPCs compared to abortion facilities. CPCs were more likely than abortion facilities to provide same-day appointments (68.5% vs 37.2%) and free pregnancy testing (98.0% vs 16.6%). Overall, abortion facilities had longer median wait times for early pregnancy visits.

The study also compared data in states with supportive CPC policy environments. One key finding indicated that pregnancy confirmation access measures had more pronounced delays at abortion facilities versus CPCs in states with non-supportive CPC policy environments.

Michael New, in an article for National Review, noted that the results of the study are especially significant considering the journal has traditionally had “a bias in favor of legal abortion and contraception use.”

“The authors of the Contraception study are academics affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh, and none has a connection with a pro-life group,” said New, a research associate at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. “A liberal academic journal published an analytically rigorous study showing that pregnancy centers offer better and less costly services to women. Overall, this is a great testament to the nearly 3,000 pregnancy help centers in the United States that tirelessly provide life-affirming alternatives to pregnant women every day.”

The study also revealed that abortion facilities were significantly more likely to offer sonographic confirmation of pregnancy compared to CPCs (94.4% vs 66.5%). However, at facilities that offered ultrasounds, the service was less likely to be free of cost at abortion facilities compared to CPCs; The median ultrasound cost at abortion facilities was $162.50, according to the data.

The Contraception study was completed prior to the 2022 Dobbs Supreme Court decision, but the authors note how the implications of the ruling, combined with their data, will impact pro-abortion advocates.

“Our findings (demonstrating that pregnancy confirmation is more accessible at crisis pregnancy centers than at abortion facilities) are predicted to be exacerbated in the wake of abortion clinic closures following the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision,” the authors of the study said. “This highlights the need for improved funding and support for pregnancy confirmation service delivery in medical settings, including abortion facilities.”

For Care Net and its 1,249 affiliated pregnancy centers, the findings in this study may bring encouragement and hope, but should also serve as a clarion call to continued diligence in envisioning “a culture where women and men faced with pregnancy decisions are transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered to choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their families.”