John Oliver tackled a controversial topic on Sunday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight. “Tonight’s main story concerns pornography,” he said. “Oh wait, don’t say pornography on TV, sorry. I meant, abortion, our main story is about abortion.”
Oliver wasn’t tackling abortion clinics, though, but “the exact opposite” so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), which masquerade as abortion clinics but try to talk women out of getting an abortion. According to Oliver, CPCs actively try to confuse women about what types of medical options they will have. One CPC staffer said that the “best client you’ll get is one that thinks they are walking into an abortion clinic.” To which Oliver replied, “Maybe Radio Shack should have thought about the strategy of pretending to offer abortions!” After all, it seems to work as a business strategy. According to Oliver, there are 2,700 CPCs versus 1,700 abortion clinics in the country.
CPCs lure women in with misleading information via phone calls and Google searches, and by building offices next door to clinics and parking mobile CPCs in front of clinics. Oliver says that CPCs also lie to women about abortions causing increased risk of breast cancer and suicidal thoughts.
For all they do to prevent women from ending their pregnancy, CPCs will also not give any advice on avoiding pregnancy, Oliver says, claiming that “condoms are ineffective in preventing pregnancy.” Oliver notes that CPCs should love birth control and should be “filling Pez dispensers with birth control pills, giving condoms to trick or treaters, and IUD earrings as hostess gifts.”
Since CPCs are not medical institutions, they don’t have to be regulated and some state governments even fund them. Oliver also notes that it is incredibly easy for religious groups to set up CPCs. To prove his point, he registered his own CPC in New York. He named his mobile crisis pregnancy unit “Vanned Parenthood” and set it up in a real van driven by “Wanda Jo Oliver” played by Rachael Dratch, complete with her very own set of “alternate facts” about abortion.