Original Article

Patient Experiences at California Crisis Pregnancy Centers: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Online Crowd-Sourced Reviews, 2010–2019

Authors: Elaine Chan, MD, Yelena Korotkaya, MD, MPH, Vadim Osadchiy, MD, Aparna Sridhar, MD, MPH


Objectives: Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are nonprofit antiabortion organizations that claim provision of pregnancy resources. With the Reproduction Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act repealed, CPCs are no longer mandated to share information on state-funded family planning and abortion services. As patients increasingly seek healthcare guidance online, we evaluated crowd-sourced reviews of CPCs using the social networking site Yelp.

Methods: CPCs were identified with the CPC Map, a geo-based location resource. Of California’s 145 CPCs, 84% had Yelp pages, and 619 reviews (2010–2019) were extracted. Thematic codes were individually applied to 220 excerpts and then analyzed in detail using thematic analysis to capture emergent themes related to motivations for and experiences of CPCs. To ensure thematic saturation, we applied a natural language-processing technique called the meaning extraction method to computationally derive themes of discussion from all of the extracted posts.

Results: Motivations to seek care from CPCs included pregnancy confirmation, gaps in healthcare coverage, parenting and emotional support, and abortion care. A review of experiences reveal that CPC faith-based practice garnered both positive- and negative-based experiences. Reviewers also articulated inaccurate medical information, lack of transparency, and reduced options at CPCs.

Conclusions: This is the first study to analyze California CPCs using a social media platform. Pregnant patients turn to social media to share experiences about pregnancy resources, to find healthcare providers, and to increase transparency of services. This content provides valuable insight into the concerns of pregnant patients and offers an intimate view of California CPCs at a time when no federal regulations are in place.
Posted in: Pregnancy23

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