Executive Summary: "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in BC"
Most agencies that counsel pregnant women are actually anti-abortion Christian ministries. Their main goal is to stop women from having abortions. These centres are generally not medical facilities, and most of their counsellors are volunteers who are not medical professionals and have no recognized training in counselling. Some of these centres are called Crisis Pregnancy Centres or CPCs", although many of them have different names. (Our research report uses the term CPCs to refer to all such centres.)
CPCs far outnumber abortion clinics. There are 4,000 CPCs in the United States, compared to about 800 abortion clinics. In Canada, there are about 200 CPCs and roughly 25 abortion clinics. In BC, there are about 30 CPCs and 6 abortion clinics.
Previous studies have shown that most CPCs misinform and try to intimidate women out of having abortions. Women describe being harassed, bullied, and given blatantly false information. Counseling techniques used by CPCs frequently induce anxiety and emotional trauma in women considering abortion. Many women say their confidentiality has been violated, and that mistreatment by CPCs has threatened their health.
We wanted to find out what these centres were doing and saying to women in BC, and whether they were engaging in the same type of deceptive or harmful practices. Indeed, we found that they tend to hide their true agenda from women, and dispense inaccurate information about abortion, some of it dangerous. They usually dont say upfront they are religious, and may disrespect womens spiritual values by trying to impose fundamentalist Christianity. Their counseling techniques may create confusion and stress for women considering abortion. If shes coming to the CPC for post-abortion counseling, the counseling is designed to make a woman feel guilty for killing her baby, requiring her to personify and mourn her fetus before she can obtain forgiveness from God.
We hired a doctor, medical researcher, and counselor to go through a Training Manual used by many CPCs in Canada to train their "counsellors." There were serious inaccuracies and distortions found in many areas. For example, abortion methods are described incompletely and inaccurately, and usually in inflammatory ways. Several methods are described that are not even used in Canada. There is an over-emphasis on later abortion methods, which are always rare. Some other false claims in the manual include:
We conducted various other activities to find out more about CPCs and their influence in communities across BC.