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Crisis pregnancy center tells woman her IUD is "your baby," plus countless other lies

A yearlong investigation confirms yet again that CPCs use a mix of fear-mongering and shame to manipulate women


Jenny Kutner
March 18, 2015 7:49PM (UTC)

Today in totally surprising news that we have never, ever heard before: Crisis pregnancy centers, which are often funded by taxpayer money and have been found time and time again to lie to women, are still lying to women. New results of a yearlong investigation by NARAL Pro-Choice America indicate a disturbing trend among CPCs in California (replicated nationwide) of using whatever means necessary -- slut-shaming, fear-mongering, misinformation and straight-up manipulation -- to prevent pregnant women from having abortions. Surprise, surprise.

The report, which was released last week, concludes that CPCs pose a grave threat to public health by falsely posing as medical clinics when, in reality, they actually delay (or prevent) women from accessing prenatal care. NARAL's investigators visited over a quarter of California's crisis pregnancy centers posing as pregnant women, and found that often, the centers will have no trained medical professionals on the premises.

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The lack of any real medical insight can lead to the dissemination of (totally inconsequential!) inaccurate information, which appears to be one of the centers' primary tools for steering women away from abortion care. In one particularly unnerving example, a CPC staffer told one of the undercover investigators that the investigator's IUD, which showed up on an ultrasound, was actually "your baby."

“No matter what circumstances our investigators were in, the answer was always to continue the pregnancy,” Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California, said in a statement. “The bottom line is that crisis pregnancy centers put their anti-choice agenda ahead of women’s health. They will say anything to keep women from exercising their right to choose abortion care.”

In 91 percent of the centers NARAL visited, CPC staffers told investigators that "having an abortion was linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, infertility, miscarriage, and/or the made-up 'post-abortion depression' that results in suicide." But that's only one practiced scare tactic -- and only one part of CPCs' anti-choice approach. From the report:

One common scare tactic focused on the ability of a woman to
have a healthy pregnancy in the future if she accessed abortion
care. “She told me that for some women, they dilate them too fast
and they might become … not infertile, but in later cases ... they
might miscarry a lot because the cervix might not close up all the
way. So I might have a lot of miscarriages if I aborted the baby.”

Timing is critical when making decisions about an unintended
pregnancy and the CPCs we visited deliberately worked to delay
those decisions. Accessing abortion care early in a pregnancy is
safe, more easily accessible and more affordable. CPCs attempt to
lull women into believing they have as much time as they want to
make a decision. CPC workers tell women that they don’t need to
make a decision because their pregnancy may terminate naturally,
stating that the likelihood of a miscarriage is 30-50 percent. In fact,
the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states
that approximately 15 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.

The findings are worrisome, but altogether unsurprising. At this point, pretty much anyone could come up with their own erroneous counseling for pregnant women on par with the advice doled out at CPCs -- which is why, in honor of the report, NARAL asked a bunch of people on Twitter to do exactly that:

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Jenny Kutner

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