Anti-abortion counselling agencies in Canada often present misinformation on their websites or fail to disclose their anti-choice or religious agenda to prospective clients, according to a new study published by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. However, crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs) are not medical facilities; most are Christian ministries, they generally will not refer clients for abortion or contraception, and many promote misinformation about abortion. In Canada, they are not subject to regulatory oversight and 68% of them are registered charities.
This study identified 180 such centres across Canada, of which 166 had websites. Some findings:
- 48% listed negative psychological consequences of abortion on their websites, primarily in the context of “post-abortion syndrome”, which is not medically recognised.
- 5% of websites claimed a link between abortion and breast cancer, which has been scientifically rejected.
- 9% of websites cited other medical risks of abortion that were exaggerated or not scientifically proven.
- 60% failed to disclose that they don’t refer for abortion or contraception.
- 96% revealed a religious affiliation or agenda on their websites, but only 24% were upfront about it. Often, religious references were sparse or hidden on Donation pages.
- 24% of websites promoted sexual abstinence as the ideal solution for unmarried women.
- At least 35% offered a conservative sex education programme to youth or local schools and communities – including to public schools in many cases.
- Over a quarter of the websites over-emphasised adoption at the expense of other options, but rarely mentioned any negative effects it may have.
The authors call for regulation of these anti-abortion centres to ensure that women are not misled or harmed, particularly women seeking abortion care; are required to inform clients about the services they do and do not offer; are denied public funding and have their charitable tax status revoked.
STUDY: Review of “Crisis Pregnancy Centre” Websites in Canada