Medical Standards & Oversight of Pregnancy Resource Centers
By Natasha Smith
Coronavirus, a national crisis, and conversations about essential healthcare have brought pro-life and pro-choice perspectives back into the spotlight. Many are asking if pregnancy centers are medical clinics.
After the government asked to stop all non-elective surgeries and restricted the definition of essential healthcare, some criticized pregnancy centers for staying open while abortion clinics closed. Additionally, pro-life opponents claim that PRCs do not have medical standards and oversight.
To discover the truth, we spoke with the medical director of the Pregnancy Centers of Southwest Florida. Dr. Karysse Trandem, an OB/GYN physician, debunks common criticisms from pro-abortion advocates and highlights the high medical standards of PRCs around the country.
Do PRCs have to comply with state and national licensing and health standards?
Yes! Whether it’s just a pregnancy test, a sexually transmitted infection screen, an ultrasound or counseling, we comply with the national standard of care.* In my clinics, we exceed the baseline for care. Furthermore, we offer a higher standard of care than what is asked for the average [clinic].
* The standard of care is based on the direction and standards of:
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nurses
Are all pregnancy resource centers medical clinics?
We can think of pregnancy resource centers in two categories. First is a category that has a medical clinic attached to it. These clinics offer medical services like pregnancy tests.
The second are pregnancy resource centers that don’t have any medical aspects. They just offer support [and] supplies to moms. [These] pregnancy resource centers are not clinical and don’t have any medical oversight because they aren’t offering any medical tests.
What is the medical standard and oversight of a clinical pregnancy resource center?
[PRCs] offer medical services with a board-certified physician overseeing and speaking with patients. Any PRC that is a medical clinic has a physician over them, and the physician’s license is at stake. [We] follow the national board guidelines. Each state has different requirements and each clinic has to abide by those state rules as well.
Should a woman be concerned if PRC staff are volunteers?
Whether or not people providing services are being paid or not, the services provided at pregnancy resource clinics have to be up to the national medical clinic standards.
[My pregnancy resource clinics] hold to the same standard I would have if I had a private practice. So the way that we run the clinic is sterile. We have protocols and procedures for the nursing staff, the ultrasound and sonography staff, and myself. This is to make sure that we’re offering the highest standard of care.
What is the cost for the care provided at a pregnancy resource center?
[Everything] is subsidized and completely paid for by donors who believe in [the women] and [their] pregnancy. The generosity of our donors ensures patients don’t have to pay for anything. If they go to Planned Parenthood, they do have to pay for their services.
Learn more about the medical clinic standards of PRCS. Watch the full interview with Dr. Trandem.
Read more about how PRCs provide essential healthcare and hear more from Dr. Trandem here.