I began my master’s at CU Boulder this year. Like most students, I was handed a small booklet of coupons in the first few weeks of the fall semester. The book featured the expected coupons for slices of pizza, tanning salons, and even a free hot wax for your skis. I then came to a coupon for a free pregnancy test and a free ultrasound.

One of these coupons is not like the others.

The coupon was redeemable at Real Choices Pregnancy Center on Folsom and Grove. No doubt you’ve passed it; it’s in a boxy-looking building, near a sandwich shop, a sushi joint, and Planned Parenthood. The window decals boast the same deal the coupons do: Free Pregnancy Tests and Free Ultrasounds.

Real Choices Pregnancy Center is considered a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) and the name is misleading because you will not be presented with all of your “real choices.” Young college students are attracted to the promise of a free pregnancy test because in the moment when your period is late and you’re terrified and can’t afford a $20 pregnancy test at the pharmacy, you will seek answers anywhere. CPCs attack young women in their most vulnerable states.

CPCs are generally funded by religious institutions and are diametrically opposed to abortions. If you seek guidance from a CPC, you will be presented with options on adoption and various social resources to help you raise a child. If you ask about abortion options, you will be lectured, shamed, and turned away.

The truth about Real Choices needs to be known by all people, especially the transient college students who are possibly becoming sexually active for the first time in their lives. Their religious affiliation and the actual options they provide their clients needs to be explicitly stated, especially on the coupons that are distributed to college students.

Colorado is a pro-choice state and abortions are an integral and important part of health care. That option should be presented to all women who experience unplanned pregnancy, in addition to women who encounter unexpected complications with their pregnancy. CPCs undermine the legislators, activists, and doctors who have fought hard to give women the right to choose in this state. More importantly, they are a clandestine operation to consciously mislead and shame young women.

Liz Marasco lives in Boulder.

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