Date of Award

Spring 2022

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Shan-Estelle Brown

Committee Member

Dr. Rachel Newcomb

Committee Member

Dr. Ashley Kistler


Anti-abortion pregnancy centers, also known as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), are nonprofit organizations that target pregnant women and aim to dissuade them from considering abortion. In the U.S., CPCs are increasing in prevalence, accumulating government/state funding and support, and becoming more medicalized. Medicalization includes offering limited medical services, such as pregnancy testing, limited ultrasounds, and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). CPCs are largely unlicensed and unregulated, frequently advertising in misleading ways and providing inaccurate health information. The goal of this research is to (1) understand how CPCs in Central Florida utilize rhetorical strategies to frame their services and health information as credible, legitimize their work, and discourage abortion, and (2) understand the role of faith in the services CPCs provide and in establishing identity and community among staff and volunteers at CPCs. A thematic analysis of fifteen client-facing CPC websites in Central Florida was conducted to identify the rhetorical strategies CPCs use to position themselves as credible. Additionally, two semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals who volunteer and work at CPCs in Central Florida, and three with individuals who are reproductive justice advocates in Florida. This research is informed by critical medical anthropology, activist anthropology, and reproductive justice. The main findings were that CPCs use strategies of promotion, space, and language use to frame their services as credible. CPCs do this by sharing health misinformation and promoting abstinence and reducing the credibility of abortion clinics/providers and ways to control reproductive health. Faith has a significant role in the ways in which CPCs frame their services and establish identity and community through the framework of lived religion. This research provides evidence to how CPCs operate in Central Florida and areas for improvement in delivery of services and evaluation, and potential regulation of the accuracy of information and services CPCs provide.

Rights Holder

Isabel Cristina Adamus