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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2013
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REFERRING WOMEN TO CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS THAT SHAME, MISLEAD
Updated undercover investigation by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Foundation reveals government support of dangerous anti-choice facilities
Alexandria, VA – A year-long investigation into Virginia’s crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Foundation revealed widespread use of medically-inaccurate information and coercion to dissuade women from considering their full range of reproductive health options, including abortion. The investigation also revealed that, through anti-choice legislation including Virginia’s 2012 mandatory ultrasound requirement and 24-hour waiting period, the Virginia government is working to support, aid, and legitimize the Commonwealth’s CPCs.
NPCVF’s investigative update served as a follow-up to their 2010 CPC investigation and report, and included over 77 phone calls and 10 in-person visits to 56 of the Commonwealth’s 58 CPCs.
"Over the past twelve months we have discovered that the vast majority of Virginia’s crisis pregnancy centers continue to use medical misinformation and lies to mislead the women of the Commonwealth.” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. "Anyone seeking health care services should receive comprehensive, non-judgmental, and factually accurate information – and Virginia women are no exception. It is absolutely wrong to mislead anyone seeking medical care, particularly in a time of crisis.”
Key findings in the 52-page report include:
- 40 CPCs shared medically-inaccurate information that abortion causes long-term psychological damage, including suggesting that women who have abortions can "get eating disorders, become alcoholic, or become drug addicts.”
- 25 CPCs falsely reported a link between abortion, infertility, and later pregnancy complications.
- 18 CPCs shared medically-inaccurate information that abortion causes breast cancer.
Keene continued, "No matter how a person feels about abortion, everyone can agree that women should never be misled when seeking information about pregnancy, birth control, abortion, or sexually transmitted infections. Yet not only is this happening in CPCs across the Commonwealth, but the Virginia Department of Health is actually endorsing this dangerous practice. These centers are a threat to women’s health and they must be treated a such – not legitimized by the highest medical institution in the Commonwealth.”