Undercover footage reveals more crazy "crisis pregnancy center" lies

"If you have an abortion, you will see that child’s soul again in the future," said one counselor

Published August 7, 2013 6:58PM (EDT)

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli               (AP/Steve Helber)
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (AP/Steve Helber)

Crisis pregnancy centers lie to women, and now there is more audio to prove it.

A counseling session covertly recorded by a reproductive rights advocate from NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia reveals, once again, the kind of dubious information (and baldfaced lies) staff members at these anti-choice centers are passing off as legitimate medical advice.

Excerpts from the exchange (which you can listen to in full here):

  • Condoms are “naturally porous” and do not protect against STDs
  • Women who have taken the birth-control pill for four years prior to their first pregnancy have a 46% increased risk of breast cancer
  • Having an abortion will damage all of your future relationships
  • If you have an abortion, you will see that child’s soul again in the future: “At the end of the world you’re gonna know that was my child that I choose to kill”

Using medical misinformation and anti-choice sermonizing to pressure women out of exercising the full range of their reproductive health options is standard operating procedure at these centers. The audio recorded in Virginia is deeply troubling, but nearly identical to scripts used at these centers elsewhere in the country, as Katie Stack, a 24-year-old reproductive rights advocate, noted in a New York Times editorial about her own experience with a crisis pregnancy counselor in Iowa:

I was cautioned that abortions caused breast cancer, even though the National Cancer Institute has found serious flaws in all research that suggests so. I was warned that I would inevitably suffer from post-abortion stress syndrome, even though the American Psychological Association says there is no evidence of increased mental health problems among women who have an abortion in the first trimester. I was told that I would not hear this information from doctors, because doctors make money performing abortions and would lie about the procedure’s risks.

While the lies told at the Virginia center are not unique, the state's support for crisis pregnancy centers is: attorney general and gubernatorial candidate (and sodomy foe) Ken Cuccinelli has boasted that he “led the fight” to get Virginia to offer "pro-life" license plates to fund these facilities.

NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue hopes Virginia voters will connect the dots between these facilities and Cuccinelli come November, as she noted in a statement: "Cuccinelli’s support of CPCs that lie to women is yet another example of him prioritizing his ideological agenda above his commitment to serve the women and men of Virginia. Does he support lying to women? Does he agree with the completely false claims about women’s health spread by many of these CPCs? Cuccinelli can’t duck these questions forever.”

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Abortion Abortion Rights Crisis Pregnancy Centers Ken Cuccinelli Video Women's Rights