Columnists
True Options in Sherman: Crisis Pregnancy Center or fake clinic?
By Randi Lynn Tanglen
Nov 20, 2018
Print this page
Email this article

It recently came to my attention that many of my friends and acquaintances believed they could access free women’s health services through True Options Pregnancy Center located at 105 West Pecan Street in Sherman. Indeed, if you google “abortion Sherman,” True Options is the first site that comes up.

But True Options is not a medical provider. It is a faith-based, non-medical facility that does not offer women’s reproductive and sexual health services or pre-natal care. It does not provide regulated medical procedures such as abortion or access to family planning and birth control. Similar “crisis pregnancy centers” throughout the state require Christian counseling and prayer in exchange for referrals for sonograms and sexually transmitted disease testing from pre-selected providers. It is not clear from its website if clients at True Options must undergo Christian counseling or where and how medical services are referred.

Here’s what we do know. According to its IRS 990 tax filing, True Options is a non-profit organization that received $323,527 in grants and contributions in 2016. Director Sharon Teague earned a salary of $45,000. In total, $215,635, or 66.65% of its revenue, went toward “salaries, other compensation, and employee benefits.” Also listed on this 990 form are the True Options board members: David Pedigo (chairman), Robin Willis (vice chairman), Vance Reynolds (treasurer), Sharon Younts (secretary), Shanan Bailey, Jennifer Gage, Ann Harris, and Jan Myers. True Options is affiliated with the Christian, pro-life activist organizations CareNet and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.

The American Medical Association’s Journal of Medical Ethics reports that “Crisis pregnancy centers are organizations that seek to intercept women with unintended pregnancies who might be considering abortion.” Such centers “strive to give the impression that they are clinical centers, offering legitimate medical services and advice, yet they are exempt from regulatory, licensure, and credentialing oversight that apply to health care facilities.” Due to such misrepresentation, NARAL Pro-Choice America calls these crisis pregnancy centers “fake health centers” or “fake clinics.”  There are 167 “fake health centers” in Texas, including True Options.

Up until very recently, the Texas State Health and Human Services Commission funded several crisis pregnancy centers (although not True Options) through the anti-abortion organization “The Heidi Group.” This past fall, this state funding was withdrawn due to the ineffectiveness of the crisis pregnancy centers subsidized through The Heidi Group.

True Options in Sherman is housed in the law office building of Siebman and Forrest. According to the True Options Facebook page, many businesses in the community supported a recent fundraiser, including CJs Coffee, LeCrone Law Firm, Dean Gilbert Reality, Landmark Bank, and Laurel E. Boutique. I hope that with more information about the nature of organizations like True Options, these local businesses—and their patrons—can decide if they would like to continue supporting a “fake clinic.”

And with more information, the women in our community can educate themselves on the issue of non-medical facilities like True Options and decide what is best for them and their health care needs. Unfortunately, choices are limited because a clinic that did provide regulated medical services, Planned Parenthood, closed in 2011 due to legislative funding cuts. To offer alternatives to fake health centers, local politicians and leaders in the Texoma region’s thriving medical community should work together to offer more regulated medical resources for women’s reproductive and sexual health.