A chain of crisis pregnancy centers is shifting its strategy to focus on preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place by offering contraception services in cities across Texas.
Crisis pregnancy centers, also referred to as CPCs, are religious groups working to dissuade women from getting abortions. The Source plans to focus on providing health care to women who might not be ready to have a baby.
“We are doing full medical – everything from STI/STD testing, well-woman care,” Andy Schoonover, The Source’s CEO, said. “So, you have your annual checkups. You can get contraception here.”
One of The Source’s clinics is in North Austin – north of 183, right off I-35. The offices are in a one-story building with a gravel path out front. It’s a mostly residential area, surrounded by trees.
Inside, the clinic has modern and bright furnishings. There’s no clear identifier that this is a Christian organization. No crosses. No religious artwork. Schoonover says this is intentional.
“We are a faith-based organization, but we don’t push our faith down anybody’s throat,” he said. “We will ask you if we can pray for you. And if you say no, then we won’t.”
Since kicking long-term providers like Planned Parenthood out of state programs, Texas health officials have increasingly been relying on religious groups and new providers to deliver family-planning services. Women’s health advocates say this shift hasn’t been going well.
Last year, for example, state officials announced the Heidi Group, a Christian anti-abortion company, wasn’t providing the services it was contracted to provide. State officials removed the organization from the program and recently forced it to repay $1.5 million.
Kami Geoffray, CEO of the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas, said there shouldn’t be untested providers in these kinds of programs in the first place.
“If we are funding unqualified health care providers in Texas, we are taking money away from qualified comprehensive health care providers,” she said.
The forced departure of Planned Parenthood has left a huge need in Texas, which was already struggling to provide contraception and screening services to low-income women. The loss of well-established providers has been tough to recover from.
But Schoonover said he thinks groups like his can fill that gap.