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Abortion misinformation from crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina

      Abstract

      Background

      This study assessed the accuracy of medical information provided by crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina.

      Study Design

      We performed a secondary data analysis of a “secret shopper survey” performed by a nonprofit organization. Reports from phone calls and visits to crisis pregnancy centers were analyzed for quality and content of medical information provided. Web sites of crisis pregnancy centers in the state were also reviewed.

      Results

      Thirty-two crisis pregnancy centers were contacted. Nineteen of these were visited. Fourteen centers (44%) offered that they “provide counseling on abortion and its risks.” Inaccurate information provided included a link between abortion and breast cancer (16%), infertility (26%) and mental health problems (26%). Of the 36 Web sites identified, 31 (86%) provided false or misleading information, including 26 sites (72%) linking abortion to “post-abortion stress.”

      Conclusions

      Many crisis pregnancy centers give inaccurate medical information regarding the risks of abortion. Overstating risks stigmatizes abortion, seeks to intimidate women and is unethical.

      Keywords

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      1. United States House of Representatives. Committee on Government Reform-Minority Staff. Special Investigations Division (July 2006). False and misleading health information provided by federally-funded pregnancy resource centers. United States House of Representatives. Available at: http://www.chsourcebook.com/articles/waxman2.pdf.

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