BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced on Wednesday it has initiated a review of its statutory and regulatory obligations related to anti-abortion centers, often called crisis pregnancy centers, after complaints about several of these centers.
DPH says there are 30 crisis pregnancy centers in the state, with only four subject to DPH licensure as they provide what the law defines as medical care. It also says that “if these facilities are providing medical care or advertising services that are consistent with a clinic, DPH maintains a responsibility to oversee the safe provision of medical services and health care in the state.”
The non-licensed centers are frequently “largely staffed by nonmedical individuals or volunteers.” according to DPH. Without legally defined medical care being provided, DPH does not have jurisdiction and cannot oversee the quality of service provided.
The statement also says that DPH may be involved in investigating complaints regarding allegations about provision of inappropriate medical services or staff members performing services without the required credentials, which may be done in collaboration with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office’s Reproductive Justice Unit.
The Worcester City Council discussed potential regulations of crisis pregnancy centers over several meetings in 2023. Councilor eventually voted 7-4 to end debate without taking action.
Complaints about staff at crisis pregnancy centers can be made to the following:
- Bard of Registration in Medicine for physician concerns
- Board of Registration in Nursing for nurse concerns
- Board of Registration of Physician Assistants for physician assistant concerns
- Office of the Attorney General for concerns about potential deceptive practices or misleading information that affects consumers