Lies and Misinformation

When I told the CPC counselor, who was also the executive director, that there was a history of breast cancer in my family, she told me that I was 400 times more likely to get breast cancer if I had an abortion.”

All of the crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that were investigated gave volunteers false information about abortion. Additionally, almost all of the CPCs gave investigators a book  developed by the state that provides misleading information about fetal development and abortion, titled “A Woman’s Right to Know.” The misinformation in the booklet includes claims that there is a link between breast cancer and abortion and also suggests that abortion causes emotional and psychological trauma.

These were some of the most common lies that we heard from CPCs about abortion:

 

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One CPC volunteer told our investigator that she could not have a medication abortion, RU-486, more than 20 days after implantation, when in fact, medication abortion is legal up to the seventh week of pregnancy. Sadly enough, Texas law also employs misinformation about medication abortion; the requirements force doctors to use outdated FDA protocol when dispensing the pill to patients as opposed to up-to-date evidence-based medical practices. 

Ironically, CPCs also lie and spread misinformation about contraception, discouraging people from taking steps to prevent unintended pregnancy. Abstinence is the only preventative option that any of the CPC counselors discussed with the investigators. The information CPCs provide on condoms and emergency contraception is inaccurate or misleading, and they do not provide information about hormonal or long-term contraception. One of the CPC volunteer counselors told our investigator, “If you’re going to continue  having sex, you’re gonna get pregnant again” instead of discussing contraceptives.  CPCs use dramatic language to scare people out of using condoms and to argue that abstinence is the only “safe” option. While TPCN-funded CPCs are required to not refer clients to abortion providers, there is nothing that says they cannot discuss contraception.

 

The counselor indicated that the size of the rubber model was the size and also had the same body characteristics as the fetus growing in [me]. I even questioned if it looked that developed, to which she responded ‘yes, for the most part,’ then proceeded to read from a pamphlet what the fetus looked like.”

Almost all of the CPCs displayed fetus models in the counseling room or used the models to represent the fetus’s different stages of development. These models are consistently inaccurate and from the earliest representation of pregnancy (six weeks) the models are given the physical features of newborn babies.

The models depict a fetus that simply grows larger throughout pregnancy and does not accurately represent the different stages of development. At one of the CPCs, a volunteer was given a model to take home that she was told looked like her fetus. She was estimated to be eight weeks pregnant and the model is 2.5 inches long. In reality, fetuses are usually around .5 inches long at that stage of pregnancy. The inaccurate fetus models are used to manipulate CPC visitors into thinking that their fetus is farther along in development than it actually is and to dissuade them from having an abortion.

To learn more about the lies and misinformation CPCs give their visitors, visit our Scare Tactics page.