Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Is This The Weirdest Crisis Pregnancy Center Ever?

Ok, so, here I am, going about my own business, Googling around to see what sort of crazy crap the Republicans are pulling *today* regarding our collective vaginas, when LOW AND BEHOLD, an advertisement for an organization called "My Choice Chicago" stating, and I quote, "Abortion Chicago Free- It's Your Choice: "You May Not Need An Abortion! Free Ultrasound and Test". 

I had to "re-google" a couple other things to find it again, but please note that 2/3 of the ads in search results for "Abortion Free Chicago" are for CPC's

Though I am loathe to click on such an advertisement, for fear that said click will result in some kind of implicit endorsement of something shady, my curiosity got the better of me. Why, oh why, oh WHY might one not *need* an abortion? Inquiring minds, bitches.

Obviously, My Choice Chicago is one of those "Crisis Pregnancy Centers". If you are not familiar, Crisis Pregnancy Centers are unbelievably shady organizations that pretend to be abortion clinics, but then when a woman shows up looking to obtain an abortion, they attack her with a barrage of crazypants anti-choice lies and try to talk her out of it. There are also several instances in which these organizations have lied to women (either by telling them they're not pregnant in the first place, or by repeatedly "delaying" their "appointment" for an abortion) in order to put them off until the abortion would no longer be legal. Amazingly, these centers are funded by your tax dollars. Which is incredibly frustrating given the huge cuts to organizations that provide actual health services to women. Here are the results of a study NARAL did a while back on 15 different CPC's:

■ 73% of the CPCs investigated repeated the false claim that there
is a link between abortion and an increased risk of developing
breast cancer.
■ 87% of CPCs investigated advised that abortion will lead to severe
mental health problems.
■ 67% highlighted a link between future infertility and abortion
either through personal stories, pamphlets distributed at the CPC
or through their website. In addition, 75% of CPCs investigated
suggested a link between abortion and future miscarriages.
■ One CPC lists their position on abortion explicitly on their
website. For other CPCs, it is only after a woman arrives in-person
at the CPC that their true bias is disclosed.
■ None of CPCs investigated refer women for birth control. In
fact, 67% provided misleading information regarding the risks
associated with birth control and 60% provided medically
inaccurate information about Emergency Contraception (EC).
■ Based on research by NPCMF, the majority (87%) of CPC representatives
were medically untrained volunteers.

So, yeah. Your tax dollars at work! In the few instances in which there has been some kind of legislation to prevent these organizations from lying to women, they have insisted that it is their "first amendment right" to do so. Which is gross. It hasn't worked, but it's still gross. 

So what's different about My Choice Chicago? Remember that little blurb about "You may not need an abortion"?

Well, guess why? On their website is a darling collection of "statistics" stating that 1 in 4 pregnancies will just end in miscarriage anyway! Which, duh, is not true- only 10% of pregnancies are likely to end in miscarriage after the first missed period. But, they are more than happy to provide "testing" to see if you are one of those lucky women who don't need an abortion because the pregnancy will likely end in a miscarriage.

(This is from the Nevada branch, I couldn't find an image for the Chicago one, but it's the exact same thing)

Why, oh why, do I have this sinking feeling that any woman who walks in there looking to get an abortion will be deemed "likely to miscarry" regardless of the actual health of the fetus? Does anyone know a pro-choice, newly pregnant woman who wants to do an undercover investigation? There can be trench coats!

As it turns out, "My Choice Chicago" is part of a much larger network of CPC's called "Enlightened Woman Centers"- all of which have the "You don't need an abortion! You're just going to miscarry anyway!" angle. Do I even have to elaborate on how disturbing that is? Especially because I think we can all understand that not having to go through serious invasive surgery, or pay for said invasive surgery, might seem like bit of a relief. Surgery is scary! I'm still to scared of it to have a breast reduction! I can completely understand why someone might find this appealing on some level, despite how traumatic (and painful, and possibly dangerous) a miscarriage would be. 

Once you get to the fine print, the organization does not state that any of its centers (there are three of them in the Chicago area) actually provide abortions. Which I suppose is a plus. However, the rest of the site seems to explicitly use "pro-choice", kinda feministy language ("It's your choice! This is what Roe v. Wade said! Yay women!), which to me seems intentionally misleading. Not to mention the "Free Abortions!" ad on Google. 

I find this particular CPC far more disturbing than any other I have come across. The likely result of telling women they are going to miscarry when they will not is not only unwanted children, but unwanted, possibly unhealthy children- given the fact that a woman who believes she will miscarry will likely not get the necessary medical treatment. How these people sleep at night is beyond me. 

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