Crisis pregnancy centers, also known as CPCs have been around for about as long as abortion has been legal in the U.S. Their basic goal is to try and dissuade women from having abortions by showing them all the options available to a pregnant woman; they offer emotional and sometimes financial support. Many of these centers are run by volunteers who genuinely want to help confused and frightened women in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
Unfortunately many more of them, anywhere from 67%-87%; give false medical information and use intimidation techniques to frighten women into believing abortions are dangerous. In 2006 a congressional investigation into CPCs receiving federal funding found that 87% provide false or misleading information. An investigation done by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia found that 67% of the CPCs in the state provide medically inaccurate information. Examples include: the risk of breast cancer increases if you have an abortion; as do your chances of developing a psychological disorder and all condoms have holes in them that will cause you to contract HIV if you have pre-marital sex. This is all information that has been debunked by current research.
In 2003 the U.S. National Cancer Institute found that “having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.” In 2010, a study done by Julia Stienberg (UC- San Francisco) and Lawrence Finer (Guttmacher Institute) states that “no significant relationship was found between abortion history and anxiety disorders.” According to the Center for Disease Control latex condoms are in fact, “highly effective at preventing heterosexual transmission of HIV.” Giving out such blatantly inaccurate information serves no real purpose except to scare women into believing what the volunteers of the centers believe.
Giving out such invalid information is not only deceitful, it is downright dangerous. Most of these centers do not disclose upfront that they are not medical professionals. A woman who goes to one of these centers could mistake the information provided to them as coming from a reliable medical source and may not seek out a real OB/GYN until much later in their pregnancy. This puts them at risk for consequences from unknown complications. All women deserve access to reliable, accurate, and professional medical advice regardless of their pre-disposition to choose abortion, parenting or adoption and these centers fail to provide it; this makes them a danger to women’s health.
Sources: Stienberg, J, & Finer, L. (2010). Examining the association of abortion history and current mental health: A reanalysis of the National Comorbidity Survey using a common-risk-factors model. Social Science and Medicine, 72(1), 72-82.
NARAL Pro-choice Virginia.. (2010, January 20). Crisis pregnancy centers revealed. Retrieved fromhttp://www.naralva.org/assets/files/cpcsrevealed.pdf