ExposeFakeClinics.com encourages abortion activists to write negative reviews for pregnancy help organizations on sites such as Google and Yelp, whether they have interacted with the organization or not.
Driven by the Abortion Access Hackathon and Abortion Access Front (formerly known as Lady Parts Justice League), along with more than 50 partner organizations across the country, Expose Fake Clinics is a "national campaign created to tell the truth about phony, anti-abortion 'clinics.'"
The trouble is that the site is full of inaccuracies.
Tweet This: Interesting that #ExposeFakeClinics encourages "fake reviews" to combat "fake clinics." #irony
From their site:
Fake women's health centers do NOT provide abortions, nor do they provide non-judgmental options counseling (which, btw, all abortion providers do!). Yet, these fake clinics advertise using phrases like "abortion counseling" or "pregnancy resources" to try to trick people seeking information about the full range of reproductive health options into walking through their doors. Through Google, Yelp and other review sites, you can combat this misinformation. Download the toolkit below and get reviewing! The toolkit has all the tips and instructions you need to leave reviews that will make the most impact.
The toolkit they provide includes word choices and tips for increasing the value of the review while noting that they must be honest. "You must be honest and legit, otherwise credibility flies out the door." They were right on that one.
Pregnancy help organizations do, in fact, provide "abortion counseling" and "pregnancy resources" whereas abortion clinics do not provide any pregnancy support, putting into question the idea that abortion clinics offer a "full range of reproductive health options."
The website is designed to sabotage the pregnancy help movement. While encouraging people to "grab a bottle of wine and get your feminist book club together to organize a fun REVIEW-A-THON!" they do pose a threat to the help and support women need in a desperate time by purposely posting fake reviews.
Last week, centers in Texas found themselves as the target of the latest review-a-thon. Notice the timeline. All the reviews were done on the same day to the same organizations:
This is not a new strategy to minimize the effectiveness of pregnancy help organizations, but rather one that is being revitalized. Just last month, West Virginia's Women's March initiated a similar campaign against pregnancy centers.
The good news is that many women and men have positively reviewed these same organizations giving 5-star reviews based on their actual experiences with them, not a script from a website. So, while five women may be taking a night to slander pregnancy centers, with 60 positive reviews recommending Heart of Texas, the effects weren't as mighty as they hoped.
While attacks on pregnancy help organizations are nothing new, they are sure to increase as we near a new election season.