The Government Reform Minority Office released a report yesterday documenting the misinformation that many federally funded so-called pregnancy resource centers are distributing to teenagers. The study (PDF) by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) found that 87 percent of the clinics provided false or misleading information about the effects of abortion on physical, reproductive, and mental health. Several of these centers falsely claimed that there was a link between breast cancer, future fertility, and depression and abortion. In order to conduct the study, female investigators posing as 17-year-old girls facing unwanted pregnancy contacted 25 clinics.
According to Waxman’s report, pregnancy resource centers or “crisis pregnancy centers” receive over $30 million in federal funding. They are often anti-abortion and do not offer abortion services or referrals to abortion providers, and frequently withhold this information. The report finds that they may “mask their pro-life mission in order to attract Ôabortion-vulnerable clients'” – usually by advertising under “abortion centers” in telephone books and by not making their anti-choice position public.
Recently, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced legislation to regulate crisis pregnancy centers. Her bill aims to eliminate deceptive advertising in order for women to get access to accurate information and all available services. Rep. Waxman’s report is further evidence that crisis pregnancy centers need better and stronger regulation.