Silly Photos-11Last week, NARAL Pro-Choice America released a new “investigative report” claiming that community-based pregnancy centers are “dangerous.” 

Unsurprisingly, pro-choice advocacy media are trumpeting their claims without question or verification.

This report rehashes biased and anecdotal claims made in prior state NARAL reports. Such reports frequently serve as the foundation for advocacy journalism, such as a documentary-style film which Care Net’s Roland Warren responded to last year (The Misconception Deception).

Click to tweet: Pregnancy centers cannot be trusted, but the abortion industry can? Credible? @NARAL 

Lies or Inconvenient Truths?

Following a well established pattern, NARAL’s report characterizes information about the risks of abortion as “lies,” even when they are well established facts. Any abortion-related risk that the abortion industry disputes is labeled “misinformation” by NARAL. 

In a fundraising email sent on March 19th, Ilyse Hogue urges donations so NARAL can stop pregnancy centers:

“Abortion scars your uterus and causes breast cancer. You won’t be able to have children. You’ll be suicidal.
Those are the lies that women are being told every day at anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs)–fake clinics set up to shame and confuse women seeking abortion care.
Over the last year, we’ve conducted an in-depth undercover investigation into these fake clinics, and what we’ve found is shocking: a consistent pattern of blatant lies and misinformation.”

No woman should be told that she will develop any specific complication if she has an abortion. However, women need accurate information, not merely a well polished sales pitch, before they undergo a potentially life altering procedure. Women deserve to know about the documented risks of abortion, including risks that are rare or disputed.

For example, uterine scarring is not pregnancy center misinformation. Ilyse Hogue should know that a rare complication of curettage (D&C) abortions is uterine scarring, known as Asherman’s Syndrome. Suction, rather than the currette, is commonly used to remove fetal parts during abortion today, making this an uncommon complication of an infrequently used abortion method. 

Similarly, increased suicide risk after abortion is not a lie. Some studies say there is no increased risk of emotional problems following abortion (APA, 2009), while other studies (Finland, 2014Washington Times, 2012) definitely do show an elevated risk of mental health complications, including suicide. While it is challenging to determine the extent of the long-term risks associated with abortion, evidence does suggest that abortion does not reduce mental health risks for women who become pregnant unexpectedly, and may actually increase those risks slightly (BYD, 152).

Our Response

In a dramatic press release accompanying the release of NARAL’s report, Ilyse Hogue is quoted as saying: 

 “Pregnant women absolutely need objective, accurate information and superior services in order to make the best decision. Crisis pregnancy centers offer the exact opposite of that.”

Her implication is that while pregnancy centers cannot be trusted, the abortion industry can. We just couldn’t let NARAL’s exaggerated claims, outright myths, and dangerous distortions go unanswered.

Click to tweet: Pregnancy centers cannot be trusted, but the abortion industry can? Credible? @NARAL 

Our new slide deck, “5 Persistent Myths: How Abortion Industry Propoganda Continues to Target Pregnancy Centers,” responds with the facts you need.

What Centers Can Do

Following best practice recommendations is always a key defense against false accusations, such as those sometimes leveled against the highly professional and ethical practices of Care Net pregnancy centers. 

Pregnancy center leaders should not be intimidated by NARAL’s latest report. Instead, they should read the report and take time to familiarize themselves and their teams with the claims made by NARAL. 

Click to tweet: Community pregnancy centers are under attack b/c empowered & educated women often choose life.

Pregnancy center supporters should know that attacks, such as those in this report, are not occuring because Care Net centers are doing anything wrong. Centers educate and empower women to make informed pregnancy decisions. The result? Many women realize they will have the support they need to purse their dreams and be a good parent. 

Adapted from “New NARAL Report Targets Pregnancy Centers,” originally published in Care Net’s private affiliate community.