Obria is the most dangerous anti-abortion group you've never heard of


The crisis pregnancy centers provide so-called 'holistic' care that isn't actually based in science.

Obria Group just might be the most dangerous anti-abortion group you've never heard of.

The organization bills itself as a network of "pregnancy centers" and is positioning itself to take the place of Planned Parenthood as the Trump administration guts that group's funding.

However, where Planned Parenthood provides a large scope of health care, ranging from hormonal birth control, to STD treatment, to cancer screenings, to abortion, Obria says it provides "holistic" care — which excludes not only hormonal birth control but condoms and IUDs as well.

Since it refuses to provide condoms, Obria's "care" is utterly ineffectual against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Instead, its staff tells patients to practice abstinence, a method that has been proven not to work, and teaches them about the "risks" of safer-sex behavior. To the extent Obria offers any birth control options at all, it's only that of "fertility awareness" — tracking ovulation, which has been proven to fail nearly a quarter of women who attempt it.

But Obria doesn't stop there. The group also spreads misinformation.

The Southern California branch of Obria brags of having conducted "42 successful abortion pill reversals since 2015." That's an assertion that has no basis in medical fact.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that the idea medication abortions can be reversed is "not based on science." Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't examined whether medication abortion can be reversed.

Where Obria differs from other "crisis pregnancy clinics" is in its branding. The organization has tried to step away from an explicitly religious framing, dropping its former religiously affiliated name, "Birth Choice," in favor of the more neutral-sounding "Obria," which comes from the Latin term "obra," meaning "good works."

It's also tried to tap into millennial culture with an app that lets you talk to an Obria provider via video and references to "holistic" care in place of references to religion.

However, that rebranding is a lie — and a shallow lie at that. Obria's mission statement still refers to "being led by God" at the same time it says it's pursuing an "agenda-free philosophy."

The Obria agenda is quite obvious. The group won't provide abortions. It won't provide birth control. It won't provide comprehensive sex education. It won't teach about safer sex.

It also won't serve a fraction of the people who can no longer get care at Planned Parenthood through Title X. In a 2018 Title X application, Obria said it would see 12,000 patients in California annually. But before being stripped of vital Title X funding, Planned Parenthood routinely saw over 1.6 million Title X patients each year nationwide.

Underneath the thin veneer of "holistic" care, Obria offers essentially the same things anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers have offered for years: an outdated and unsafe worldview.