So-called “crisis pregnancy centers” claim to offer support to young women facing tough choices, but a new campaign from NARAL Pro-Choice America reveals the rampant misinformation spread by CPCs. The centers, operated by right-wing activists, try to talk women out of using birth control and having abortions.
NARAL called on women to divulge their experiences at CPCs; one woman was told that college would be free if she had a baby. Another was told that her boyfriend would dump her if she had an abortion, and another woman was told that as a “native person,” she should be “more in tune with the natural world.”
In an undercover investigation of a Virginia CPC in August, one counselor was caught on tape spewing blatantly false information. She told a patient that birth control increases the risk of breast cancer by 48 percent, that birth control contains carcinogens, and that birth control causes an unintentional abortion if you become pregnant while taking it.
Despite spouting lie after lie, the counselor tried her hardest to convince the patient of her truthfulness. “I’m not lying to you, sweetie — why would I lie to you? I’m not asking you to give me anything here,” she said. “We’re a pregnancy health and education center.”
At one point, the counselor said, “If you’re not married, why are you having sex? That’s why you feel like you have to put these hormones in your body — the more you have sex, the more chance you have of getting pregnant … Confined to a marriage, of course, sex is expected — you believe in God, that’s the whole plan of God.”
NARAL has partnered with the Feminist Majority Foundation as well as college organizations to run a weeklong campaign exposing CPCs. “Women who seek information about their health-care options deserve honest information — not lies and scare tactics,” said NARAL president Ilyse Hogue. “'Crisis pregnancy centers' (CPCs) are fake clinics set up by anti-choice organizations with a mission to deceive and shame women to deter them considering abortion. “