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The Investigations

From April 2018 – October 2019, NARAL Virginia conducted investigative surveys to build upon our knowledge of Virginia’s fake clinics. Upon completion of web-based research to identify all active facilities in the Commonwealth, NARAL Virginia conducted an additional intensive review with volunteer investigators. We conducted 15 in-person visits and 38 phone calls to 40 confirmed centers. All fake clinic websites and social media presences were also investigated, if applicable. In August 2020, one month after the Reproductive Health Protection Act went into effect, NARAL Virginia completed an additional six calls representing 15 different fake clinic locations.

These investigations expand upon our previously published report, “Crisis Pregnancy Centers Revealed, Part II,” which was made available to the public in June 2013. You can read the full report here.


NARAL Virginia trained 18 volunteer investigators and guided them in their visits and phone calls to these centers. All investigators were first instructed to call and obtain information over the phone. Then a select number of centers were identified for in-person visits based upon proximity to an investigator’s residence. Each volunteer visited the center with a partner for both safety and research reasons. All volunteers were trained by NARAL Virginia staff to prepare for their visit. Training included role plays question-and-answer sessions, narrative worksheets, and survey materials to obtain the most comprehensive information available. Fake clinics not accessible for a visit were called by phone.

A standard survey was used to ensure uniformity in reported findings. Investigators were asked to track a variety of topics, including information shared with clients, procedural methods, paperwork and confidentiality, and observations of the center’s physical structure. The survey also asked investigators to report any specific experiences or conversations not otherwise captured in the survey.

To document investigators’ conversations, they were instructed to record audio of their fake clinic phone calls and visits with the investigator’s consent (Virginia law states that a conversation may be recorded if one party consents). These audio recordings were later transcribed by NARAL Virginia staff.

Investigators were instructed to record their findings on their survey immediately after the interaction to ensure the most accurate recollection. Results of the visits and phone calls were sent directly to NARAL Virginia, where information was compiled, tracked, transcribed, and maintained with strict confidentiality. All investigators were asked to keep their work and the investigation confidential until the public release of this information by NARAL Virginia.


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[26] “Considering CareNet? A Guide to Becoming a CareNet Affiliate.” CareNet. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

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