Austin Women's Health Center Blog&Inspiration

Pro-choice Care: Dating Ultrasounds and Options Counseling at AWHC

December 29, 2022
doctor and patient speaking about ultrasound near me

Texas, did you recently Google search “ultrasound near me” and feel confused by the results you were seeing? The search results are littered with crisis pregnancy centers mixed in with legitimate clinic results. It’s no wonder these options are confusing!

Here is everything you need to know.

At Austin Women’s Health Center, we have always been unequivocally pro-choice about every medical service we offer. So what does it mean to provide pro-choice health care? First, we offer evidence-based care that is medically informed, and we will always support what you decide to do with your body. 

RELATED: Avoiding Crisis Pregnancy Centers

How, exactly, does pro-choice care show up at our center? We are the only legitimate medical center in Austin, Texas, that offers same or next-day ultrasound appointments through our early pregnancy assessment clinic. Most clinics require you to wait until the 8-10 week mark before receiving your first ultrasound. In early pregnancy, we know time is of the essence to help aid in your decision or need for advance care.

Because of most clinics’ timing restrictions on when someone can receive an ultrasound, if someone should experience cramping or bleeding, their only option is to head to an emergency room for prompt care unless they already see an OB-GYN. At AWHC, we welcome patients to see us for ultrasounds on the same or the next day. As a result, they contact us for care and save on the stress and financial burden of going to the ER.

But what exactly is pro-choice care? It’s comprehensive reproductive care with the belief that you should have the ability to make choices about your body. Pro-choice care can include deciding to continue or discontinue a pregnancy, receiving an IUD, removing an IUD, and deciding to try and get pregnant, or find a contraceptive method that works for you. You should always be able to choose the information and resources to make an informed decision about your health. At AWHC, we are proud to provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare information, resources, and services. 

Dating Ultrasounds and Options Counseling

Since the fall of Roe v. Wade, some providers in states with abortion restrictions have been unclear about what they can tell patients about options. At AWHC, we will advise you about abortion restrictions in Texas, the closest states to receive care elsewhere, your choices, and any available funding options and resources.

We help you to make an informed decision based on your needs, relevant medical requirements, and choice.

A dating ultrasound, or dating scan, estimates how far along you are in a pregnancy. Accurate dating of pregnancy is vital, and according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), receiving a dating scan can positively impact pregnancy outcomes.

A dating ultrasound also measures the fetus or embryo development in the first trimester. The ultrasound can also identify the location of a pregnancy, which is essential in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition where a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. In the case of ectopic pregnancy, immediate medical care is required as the fallopian tubes cannot sustain a pregnancy and risk rupturing, which is life-threatening. 

Pro-Choice Options Counseling Versus CPCs

Due to the dismantling of Roe, the threat of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) is escalating. CPCs are anti-abortion centers disguised as medical facilities even though they are not legitimate providers. Texas has over 200 CPCs. These centers advertise free services, but there’s often a catch, such as watching anti-abortion videos or attending bible study to receive the resources. CPCs use deceptive strategies, such as setting up their locations next to actual medical facilities to dissuade people from entering abortion clinics. In a post-Roe era, there is cause for concern about how CPCs will use client data. Those who work at CPCs are typically not medical providers but volunteers. People usually end up at CPCs due to the free resources advertised, without knowing that these locations are always anti-abortion and anti-choice.

RELATED: Benefits of Visiting an Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic

Even if it is free, receiving an ultrasound at a CPC often comes with a cost. For example, CPC volunteers have been found to lie about the length of pregnancy so that someone cannot obtain an abortion. In addition, when people do receive ultrasounds at CPC, they are not always accurate. This can be particularly dangerous for someone with health risks or an ectopic pregnancy who thinks they are receiving adequate medical care.

In Texas, people may be looking for a dating ultrasound to plan to visit a nearby state where they might still qualify for abortion care, depending on how far along they are. Any type of inaccuracy is dangerous, especially if there is a risk involved with the pregnancy. For example, one CPC told a patient that they were ten weeks gestational age—that patient subsequently went to an abortion clinic and found they were 20 weeks. When you Google “ultrasound near me” or “free ultrasound in Texas,” you’ll see CPCs in the search results.

Google now labels  “clinics” with this qualification: “provides abortion or “does not provide abortion,” – so make sure you know before you go!

google search results on ultrasound near me
CPCs advertise free sonograms and confidential support. However, because many CPCs are not licensed medical facilities, they are not bound by HIPPA, and CPCs may not protect your confidentiality. Further, during an ultrasound at a CPC, the volunteer may use stigmatizing language, such as calling the fetus or embryo a “baby,” intending to manipulate a patient’s emotions.

While CPCs advertise options counseling, they have an anti-abortion agenda. During counseling, CPCs have been found to offer a range of false information. Common lies told by CPCs are that abortion gives you breast cancer, that it affects your ability to get pregnant in the future, or that it can cause psychological damage. These claims are damaging and untrue.

We only provide medically accurate information and are proud to offer pro-choice pregnancy options counseling. In addition, we have funding options available if you require an ultrasound and have financial constraints. 

We will always respect your choice and autonomy, whether through options counseling, your ultrasound appointment, or any of our other services.