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NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Report: State's Crisis Pregnancy Centers Mislead Women on Healthcare Options
RALEIGH – This week, the so-called "Woman’s Right to Know” Act goes into effect, and it includes a provision that the state must list anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) on a website for women seeking abortion care. But a study released today from NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation (NPCNCF) shares results from a yearlong undercover investigation of 66 of 122 of these centers operated by anti-choice organizations. The report, "The Truth Revealed: North Carolina’s Crisis Pregnancy Centers,” uncovers a disturbing pattern of deceptive and misleading practices at these unregulated centers.
The investigation, conducted by a team of NPCNCF staff and volunteers from October 2010 to July 2011, included 27 in-person visits, 47 website analyses, and 40 phone calls to 66 of the state’s CPCs. Key findings in the 36-page report include that:
- More than two-thirds of all North Carolina CPCs (44 CPCs) provided medically inaccurate information. Of these, 32 will receive funding through the "Choose Life" license plate program.
- Investigators were told medical inaccuracies including, "The AIDS virus is smaller than the holes in condoms," and "30 percent of women attempt suicide after an abortion."
- In total, 61 out of 66 facilities did not report any medically trained or medically supervised personnel on staff.
- Even in the rare cases of centers that are overseen by medical professionals, there are no regulations in place to ensure that confidentiality is protected and that women will receive medically accurate information and services that meet an appropriate standard of care with respect to all reproductive health options.
"No matter how a person feels about the question of legal abortion, everyone can agree that women should never be misled when seeking information about pregnancy, birth control, abortion, or sexually transmitted infections. Yet it is happening across the state," said Carey Pope, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.
In addition to the Woman’s Right to Know Act, the General Assembly passed a "Choose Life" license plate that makes 60 CPCs in North Carolina eligible to receive state-regulated money every time one of these license plates is purchased.
"Our investigation of CPCs in North Carolina makes clear that our state's leaders cannot ignore how these centers intentionally mislead and misinform women, including those facing unintended pregnancies,” Pope said."We are committed to working with lawmakers to ensure that North Carolinians have access to factually accurate information when making decisions about their health, and that begins with ending the deceptive practices uncovered in our report."
NPCNCF urges lawmakers to develop state oversight measures including requiring CPCs to:
- Practice honest advertising and promotion that begins with disclosing anti-choice bias;
- Make clear that clients will be seen by untrained staff or volunteers;
- Provide medically sound and accurate information and counseling;
- Keep patient confidentiality as is required by legitimate medical and counseling clinics.
For full text of the report, please visit http://www.prochoicenc.org/what-is-choice/cpc/report.shtml or call 919-706-4510 to request a copy.