"Independent" UK Clinics Claim Abortions Cause Child Sexual Abuse and Cancer — False!

Well, this is horrifying: Independent UK clinics have been wrongly informing women during counseling sessions that having abortions can lead them to sexually abuse children and have an increased risk of breast cancer. You read that right. Women are being told that having an abortion will turn them into child sex abusers.

For those of you not familiar with British health care, there over 100 Crisis Pregnancy Centers spread out across the country; they’re privately run, which means they’re not part of the National Health Service, nor are they officially regulated. They’re suspected to be connected to religious groups and modeled on American pro-life services, although these claims have been unsubstantiated. Last month, the Telegraph received a tip that two specific CPCs were giving their clients misleading information. As such, they decided to investigate: A number of Telegraph reporters went undercover and approached both the Central London Women’s Center and Alma Pregnancy Advisory Service, pretending to be pregnant and considering abortions. The reporters were told the following:

  • That there is “an increased statistical likelihood of child abuse” due to the fact that in order to terminate a pregnancy, women have to break “natural barriers that are around the child that you don’t cross”;
  • That women who had abortions were 25 percent less likely to be able to carry any future pregnancies to term;
  • And that there is a link between abortions and breast cancer.

All of this information is incorrect, a fact which has been backed up by Dr. Kate Guthrie, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

A Department of Health spokesman commented, “It is vital that any woman considering an abortion is offered impartial and non-judgmental counseling, accurately advising her of all her options, so that she can make an informed decision.” I don’t live in the UK currently, but no matter where you are, this should go without saying. It’s not even a matter of “pro-life” or “pro-choice” — it’s the fact that inaccurate medical information has the capability of doing massive amounts of harm, both to individuals and to society as a whole.

Clare Murphy, Director of Policy for the NHS-funded British Pregnancy Advisory Service, noted that the organization had seen the “distress that some crisis pregnancy centers can cause women,” stating that CPCs “need to be transparent about who they are and what they believe.” Additionally, former GP-turned-MP Dr. Sarah Wollaston said, “Women who go to a center which purports to give impartial advice that is fundamentally anti-abortion in its stance, but doesn’t openly say so, is totally unacceptable. Now is the time for Secretary of State [Jeremy Hunt] to order a review of the whole abortion counselling process.”

Hunt declined to comment; nor have the two CPCs in question returned the Telegraph’s phone calls or hand-delivered letters asking about their advice, funding structure, or links to religious groups. I hope someone starts talking, though. Because this is a conversation that needs to happen – not just for Britain, but for women everywhere.

Image: Kevin Mayer/Fotolia