Monday, February 26, 2007
TIme Magazine recently reported on so-called "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" (CPCs), which exist to dissuade pregnant women from choosing abortion, and which often do so through misleading and coercive tactics. From the article:
The centers are typically Christian charities, often under the umbrella of one of three national groups: Care Net, Heartbeat International and the U.S. National Institute of Family and Life Advocates. No one can say precisely how many pregnancy centers there are, since some aren't affiliated with any national group. Care Net puts the figure at around 2,300, though that does not include traditional maternity homes, adoption agencies or Catholic Charities. Care Net and Heartbeat International also operate Option Line, a 24/7 call center based in Columbus, Ohio, that women can contact for information and referral to a CPC near them. Last year Care Net spent $4 million on marketing, including more than $2 million on billboards alone (PREGNANT AND SCARED? 1-800-395-HELP. WE'RE HERE 24/7). The Internet has become a tool for outreach as well. Care Net has got into bidding wars with abortion providers over who would receive top placement in the sponsored-links sections on Yahoo! and Google when someone searches for abortion.
. . . The latest trend is to convert pregnancy centers into health clinics that offer free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. What they will not offer is referral for birth control. Married clients wanting information on contraception are referred to their own doctor or pastor. But, as Wood explains, most clients are unmarried, and "the Bible clearly states that sex outside of marriage is against God's will for our lives."
A report by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) last year
found that an overwhelming majority (87 percent) of CPCs reached in the investigation provided misleading, medically inaccurate information about abortion. CPCs often withhold essential, medically accurate reproductive health information from women who are led to believe that they are visiting a neutral and objective medical facility. Despite the fact that the women who come to them are clearly sexually active and at risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection, CPCs lecture them about abstinence instead of explaining contraception, if they provide any sexual health information at all.
(Via Planned Parenthood's press release on the Waxman Report.) Read the press release from the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, chaired by Waxman.
The CPC in Time Magazine's story tries to come across as different, but there are troubling signs even in the carefully crafted picture its director presents. Her summary of the purported medical risks of abortion is particularly alarming:
If a woman is "abortion minded," Wilson says, "then we go over the medical risks--and there's research for this, even though the other side says there's not." She ticks off grim possibilities with fervor: "The research is that breast cancer is more prevalent. You have the rupture of the uterus. Infection is major. The risk of ectopic pregnancy is greater later on." It is this discussion of risk that most enrages defenders of abortion rights, especially doctors who routinely see terrified women who come in for an abortion after hearing such warnings and ask over and over, "Am I going to die?"
For information about the safety of abortion, read:
American Cancer Society factsheet on abortion and breast cancer (concluding that, "[a]t the present time, the scientific evidence does not support a causal association between induced abortion and breast cancer")
Guttmacher Institute: Safety of Abortion
Guttmacher Institute: Abortion and Mental Health: Myths and Realities