(AP/Orlin Wagner)

British crisis pregnancy center: Abortion increases women's "statistical likelihood of child abuse"

The London center was also found promoting a false link between abortion and breast cancer, among other lies


Katie McDonough
February 11, 2014 4:01AM (UTC)

A crisis pregnancy center in London was caught telling its clients that abortion increases the "statistical likelihood" that women will sexually abuse children, as well as other misleading and blatantly false information about the procedure.

Crisis pregnancy centers in the United States have been exposed for repeatedly giving women misleading and medically inaccurate information about abortion, including promoting a false link between the procedure and breast cancer and complications related to future pregnancies. As revealed by a team of investigative journalists at the Daily Telegraph, this practice is hardly contained to American anti-abortion counseling centers.

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Last month, after receiving information that specific centres were misleading their clients, Telegraph reporters approached the Central London Women's Centre (CLWC) and Alma Pregnancy Advisory Service (APAS), pretending to be pregnant and claiming to be considering an abortion.

One of the undercover reporters was told at the CLWC in London that there is “an increased statistical likelihood of child abuse” because women had to break “natural barriers that are around the child that you don’t cross” in order to terminate a pregnancy.

The same adviser also said that women who had terminations were 25 percent less likely to be able to carry a pregnancy to full term.

At the APAS in Luton, a counsellor warned a reporter about similar “risks”. The adviser, named Moira, told the reporter, “there’s also a link with breast cancer”.

Sarah Wollaston, a member of the Health Select Committee, denounced the practice, and called for a review of crisis pregnancy enters. “Women who go to a centre which purports to give impartial advice that is fundamentally anti-abortion in its stance, but doesn’t openly say so, is totally unacceptable," she told the Telegraph. “Now is the time for the Secretary of State [Jeremy Hunt] to order a review of the whole abortion counselling process."

In West Virginia, Delegate Stephen Skinner has launched a similar investigation into these anti-abortion counseling centers in his state, calling the issue one of reproductive justice -- and consumer protection. "I started asking around about what exactly these clinics do, and, after doing some independent research, discovered there had been lawsuits across the country accusing some of these places of deceptive advertising and misleading consumers," he told Salon.

"We may need to require that they give a full disclosure that they are proselytizing and not giving medical advice," he continued. "That may be where this is going. We have to protect their First Amendment rights, but we have to make sure they are not misleading women who are making very critical decisions about their life and health."


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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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers Reproductive Health Reproductive Rights

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