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Crisis Pregnancy Centers are Lying to Pregnant Women in the UK Now

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are Lying to Pregnant Women in the UK Now

An undercover investigation has shown that many so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the UK are giving women misleading and sometimes dangerous misinformation.

Undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph who posed as women considering abortions went to two CPCs and filmed the advice they were given. CPCs are not part of the NHS, are not strictly regulated and technically there is no mandate for the advice they give to be medically sound. What the Daily Telegraph found was that the CPCs in question were giving women highly misleading information.

At one center in London called the Central London Women’s Centre, the undercover reporter was told by a counselor that abortion led to an “increased likelihood of child abuse” should the woman choose to have a child later in her life. The reason given for this was that the procedure somehow violated “Natural barriers that are around the child that you don’t cross.” The same advisor said that she was 25% less likely to have a successful pregnancy in the future if she had an abortion now, something that is not supported be medical science.

The reporter was also handed literature from the American anti-women’s choice and religious conservative group Focus on the Family. That’s right, just as evangelical groups have heavily supported the export of things like ex-gay therapy, there is now evidence that they are helping to undermine women’s choice in countries like the UK.

At both the London center and the other facility in Luton that undercover reporters visited, the women were shown videos by anti-abortion activists in which were made highly inaccurate claims about what abortion does to a woman’s body. At the Luton facility, claims were also made that women are often psychologically damaged and more often than not regret abortions later in life. Unbiased analysis of data shows that neither claim is accurate.

So what to make of this? We might condemn these two clinics but say these are isolated incidents. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case.

A new report out this week by leading women’s choice and education group Education for Choice (EFC) finds that a majority of CPCs are, at the very least, falling short of offering neutral counselling services and many are, with varying degrees of bias, attempting to dissuade women from having abortions.

EFC identified 135 CPCs in the UK and sent undercover analysts in to survey 33 of them. The rest were subjected to background research of both the CPC’s practices and their affiliations. Education for Choice found that the majority were giving incorrect information about abortion, and that there was evidence of biased and even unethical counselling practices. EFC notes a particular concern that these services appear to be targeting younger women.

The EFC notes that even in facilities that are under the management of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, which has strict ethical guidelines to which counselors within its remit must adhere, there were instances where counselors in Care Confidential and Life facilities were breaking professional standards in their abortion-hostile approaches.

Other disturbing findings in the report include that ten centers aped the so called “Post-Abortion Syndrome” diagnosis, a made up disorder that is supposed to resemble PTSD that is cited by anti-abortion groups. For instance, the Acorn Pregnancy Centre in Stockport is reported to have told the undercover investigator: “For a lot of girls it’s a lot like PTSD {Post Traumatic Stress Disorder}, it’s called Post Abortion Syndrome and it can come in varying degrees.”

The EFC also highlight several instances where women were told that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer and potentially cervical cancer. Both of these statements are incorrect as no causal link has ever been established between abortion and an increased cancer risk.

Perhaps particularly concerning for those familiar with anti-choice tactics, two centers in the EFC investigation were found to be offering ultrasound scans, with their promotional materials explicitly saying that these scans were to be used to dissuade women from having abortions. The EFC draws our attention to the Good Counsel Network’s website as it appeared at the time of the investigation, and where it said:

“One Pregnancy Centre in the USA reported that 90% of their clients kept their babies after seeing them on ultrasound… We already can show women video footage of babies being scanned at different stages of pregnancy — but showing them their own baby is an even more profound experience, they can see that their baby is alive and kicking and that he or she is by no means a ‘blob of tissue’”.

Overall, the EFC found poor levels of service, found it incredibly concerning that these services were increasingly receiving referrals from the National Health Service, and that even where services weren’t specifically anti-abortion focused, the quality of care being offered was highly variable.

So what to do about these findings? The EFC makes a raft of recommendations, key among them being a need to be diligent with the oversight mechanisms that are already in place, and a need for those organizations that are providing ethical and impartial advice to distance themselves from wider groups that have agendas, a measure designed to ensure the quality of that care is not compromised. You can read a summary of the EFC’s report and its recommendations here. It should be noted that several commentators have gone further than this and are saying that this points to a need for strict regulation of counseling services like those that CPCs provide.

Speaking in wider terms, we have already seen the significant damage that unfettered and biased CPCs have managed to cause in America, and how under-regulated CPCs form part of an attack on women’s rights that ultimately ends with the compromising or complete eradication of abortion access. The findings presented by both the Telegraph and the EFC should, therefore, be a wake-up call for the UK that religious conservatives have a very effective strategy that poses a real threat to women’s rights, and that they’re already implementing it.

Nothing short of a drastic re-evaluation of these kinds of services, and in particular what agencies and groups can provide them, will be able to help save women from these kinds of predatory groups.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock.

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206 comments

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1:41PM PST on Feb 27, 2014

perhaps we right of choice folks need to take a page from the anti-choice folks. picket their fake abortion clinics.

3:27PM PST on Feb 25, 2014

Darlene,
All you do is avoid the issue.

-Regardless of who created the suffering, why would a benevolent universe ALLOW unmitigated suffering of the innocent (i.e. animals, plants, children)?

-As I pointed out many times, nature is full of suffering, completely independent of humans. Why would a benevolent universe allow that?

-If you have no answers, how can you claim that the universe is benevolent? All the evidence says otherwise.

BTW this is an example of the unmitigated suffering of the innocent that I keep speaking of. Perhaps you would sign and share this petition in an attempt to reduce suffering on earth. I’d appreciate it.
http://www.change.org/petitions/justice-for-toby-toby-s-law

3:24PM PST on Feb 25, 2014

Correction: Genetics play a huge role in our life.


3:24PM PST on Feb 25, 2014

“Rainbow: I don't understand how teaching that ALL life is sacred has anything to do with ritualistic killing.”
First what you are teaching is just fantasy. And second what you are basing it on is a misinterpretation of ancient cultures.

“Genetics are the expression of our spirits and can be changed by better choices. We are much more than our RNA and DNA.”
Genetics play a huge role in or life. While we might be able to overcome them with science and medicine we will never escape them.

“Suba: Many people today especially young people are choosing to be vegans”
Veganism is a weird cult. For every person that adopts it, five abandon it. It kills people [an unnatural diet], children and animals. Also far more vegan/vegetarians suffer from mental illness [9 out of 10] then omnis. The diet doesn’t cause the illness. Just people with pathologies are obsessed about body image, perfection, cleanliness, poison etc.

3:23PM PST on Feb 25, 2014

“In a benevolent Universe we are one in billions of planets.”
I’m going to say what we’re all thinking: this one is loooooony.

First of all, what “benevolent universe”. Everything is made to decay, die and suffer. Even the universe is collapsing in on itself.

“Psychopaths and those that abuse others have made their choices and it often from abuse that people make evil choices because no one has taught them otherwise.”
I’ll say this slowly so you can understand. Abuse doesn’t create abuse. People are born like that. Do you know how many children I’ve known who are unbelievably cruel and come from a loving environment?

“No human being has the right to harm life that means animals and other humans.”
This one wouldn’t last long in the real world. Try walking in a bad neighborhood with that attitude. Either you’ll wind up a plaything and dumped in a river or trafficked to Eastern Europe for a new career. And why don’t people have the right to defend themselves? And just to live you have to kill others. What are you going to do, suck on a rock and starve?

11:35AM PST on Feb 25, 2014

My finished thoughts are there are many light workers on the planet at this time and lots of information. Ask the Universe and see what book comes into your space if you want your questions answered. There are many more experienced and more eloquent than myself in explaining sacred, spiritual teachings.

11:32AM PST on Feb 25, 2014

Suba: Ultimately the Universe is benevolent - we are in the very early stages of learning where we have had other lives and are returning here to planet Earth to see reflected back to us what our choices are that we have made. We have created the suffering and we can change it. With a higher and different consciousness we do not know what kind of planet that we would be living on. Free will gives us the opportunity to explore both the energy of creation and destruction. What is happened here on Earth is that many people have chosen to control creation rather than to learn about it and live in balance and harmony. From what I understand in Spirit and higher dimensions we can create immediately - what we think manifests. Imagine if what we thought manifested immediately here! The mystery and magic of the world is that we are the magicians - are we going to create well or badly? All life is energy and vibration that changes in accordance to our consciousness - right now we are in a very low state of consciousness because we desire to control and have life bow to our wishes rather than find the place of sacred balance. Life in higher dimensions and other planets is nothing like here on Earth. There are also even darker places than us. Everything is light and vibration and we are the authors of our experiences. If you don't like your life change it but if one thinks only of themselves there will be consequences. Again I recommend spiritual teachings - right now there are many ligh

10:58AM PST on Feb 25, 2014

Typo correction :)
It is also illogical for a benevolent universe to MANDATE its inhabitants to eat each other to survive, instead of providing a less traumatic alternative.

9:19AM PST on Feb 25, 2014

Darlene,
Veganism by no means avoids killing. In addition to all the plants killed, the number of animals killed during crop production is far more than the animals killed in small-scale free range animal farming. Regardless of what we choose to eat, they ALL come directly from living beings, and still more living beings are indirectly killed in the production of that food.

"Sacred balance is that death gives life and that life gives rebirth."

True, but death and suffering are not the same. My repeated point you never addressed is that: It is illogical for a BENEVOLENT universe to allow continuous and unjust suffering of the most vulnerable, for choices made by others. It is also illogical for a benevolent universe to MANDATE its inhabitants to each each other to survive, instead of providing a less traumatic alternative.

Again I completely agree with the lifestyle you advocate, where we strive to minimize/eliminate pain to all around us. However we can very well do that with OPEN eyes, without the delusion of a benevolent universe. (To claim everything is unicorns & rainbows is just a false way to make oneself feel better. Doesn't really help those who are suffering.)

It's up to US to help those in need. If the universe were benevolent, there would be no suffering in the first place, and we wouldn't NEED to work so hard to minimize suffering.

8:09AM PST on Feb 25, 2014

Suba: Many people today especially young people are choosing to be vegans. This could be the conscious future of people deciding not to eat animals. Humans do not have to eat meat to survive. This is again a choice. Sacred balance is that death gives life and that life gives rebirth. We have become unbalanced by unnecessary killing. An animal does not slaughter an entire species like humans did with the buffalo. There is sacred balance. We do not know what happens to us when we go back to Spirit. We are in the lowest level of learning of how to create and how to care about life. We cannot answer all these tough questions but when pursuing a spiritual path doors open that show possibilities of higher state of existing. Now we humans waste food, animals do not. I acknowledge the gift of the plants for energy, do not eat meat and am making a conscious effort to live as best as I can on planet Earth. I can see where we can improve greatly but we are a collective and it will take many more people to see and know life is sacred before we can improve matters here on Earth. Growing hemp would solve many of our issues. There has been work done by Tesla about free energy that would cut out the use of fossil fuels that are contaminating our planet so much. I only know that I will do whatever I can to appreciate and honour the sacred balance on our planet and open to higher ways of living both on Earth and when I return to Spirit. The cycles of life and death and suffering and grief are

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