According to one of Virginia’s leading abortion rights groups, close to 70 percent of the state’s “crisis” pregnancy centers told patients that having an abortion leads to psychological damage, alcoholism, drug addiction and eating disorders.
The year-long survey also found that 40 percent of crisis centers in the state tell patients that abortions can cause infertility and pregnancy complications. Some centers even told patients that abortions can lead to breast cancer.
The survey, conducted from June 2012 to June 2013 by the NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Foundation, said that crisis centers, many of which are affiliated with pro-life organizations, “increasingly target groups that are the most underserved by the current health-care system and are therefore the most vulnerable to the misinformation [crisis centers] provide.”
The director of Virginia’s Office of Family Health Services, Lauri Kalanges, said that many of the crisis centers in question are not medically endorsed by the state. The clinics have simply met the minimum requirements to provide free ultrasounds.
According to the report, volunteers for NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia found that many of the crisis centers wouldn’t discuss the services they provide over the phone, with one of the volunteers even saying that she was incorrectly told that state law “mandated” a visit to such a facility before seeking an abortion. Others said that clinics attempted to dissuade them from having abortions by showing them gruesome pictures of the procedure.
According to Rosemary Codding, the director of Falls Church Healthcare Center, a patient told her that a crisis center had given her a picture of a sonogram with the words “Hi dad” printed on it.
“More intimidation right there,” Codding said.