By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D. NRL Director of Education & Research
Editor’s Note: Part One of this three-part series appeared in the August NRL News and is reposted elsewhere here today. Dr. O’Bannon reported on a new study recently published by abortion advocates. Much to their chagrin, that study showed that pregnancy care centers are effective in helping women find alternatives to abortion.
The study, “Pregnancy outcomes after exposure to crisis pregnancy centers among an abortion seeking sample recruited online,” was published July 28 in the online journal PloS ONE. The pro-abortion researchers come from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and the University of California – San Francisco.
Today and tomorrow, he looks at some additional implications of those findings and what it says about the abortion industry and the women they have exploited for so many years. For example, today we examine how they tried to disprove and/or minimize their own findings.
Data gets in the way of spin
Ushma D.Upadhyay and her colleagues reported on the effectiveness of pregnancy care centers (called crisis pregnancy centers in the study), but it is clear they did so grudgingly.
At every turn, they take the opportunity to diminish pregnancy care centers and cast doubt on their own study findings. For example, they claim that unsuspecting women may have been lured by misleading advertising, rehearsing old canards about CPCs manipulating women with false information. This to reach the false conclusion that abortion clinics are “legitimate” medical providers but that CPCs are not.
Their own data stands in the way of this spin.
Who is deceiving whom?
Upadhyay and her team make much of the fact that a large number of women claiming to have visited a CPC actually gave the name of the abortionist or the abortion clinic as the “CPC” they visited. This would, however, seem to imply that it was the abortion clinic, not the pregnancy care center, which was misrepresenting its mission.
In its initial survey, Upadhyay’s team described pregnancy resource centers as places that “offer free counseling to women who are pregnant [and] sometimes also offer services like free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests, but not abortion care.” They also said that “They may also try to talk you out of having an abortion.”
If a woman reads that and then gives the name of an abortion clinic as the “pregnancy resource center” that she visited, then it would have been the abortion clinic, not the CPC, that somehow failed to make clear to her the nature of its business.
Put another way, while pretending to genuinely offer alternatives to abortion–when abortion was clearly the main or often the only “service” it really offered pregnant women– it is the abortion industry that gives the false impression that it offers a broader range of services and assistance than it really provides.
Misinformed about misinformation
The study argues that CPCs give out “inaccurate information on abortion and breast cancer, infertility, and mental health problems.” But a few questions are in order.
For example, who is it that lies about the unborn child’s development, the risks that accompany abortion, or the availability of alternatives?
Who is it that calls a child with a heartbeat, with brainwaves, with developing arms and legs a “clump of tissue?”
Who is it that ignores scientific evidence that a full term pregnancy (versus the shortened pregnancy of abortion) provides women with a protective effect against breast cancer, medical journal articles documenting secondary infertility after surgical abortion, or fails to mention the hemorrhages, the infections that often accompany chemical abortion, or the dangerous ectopic pregnancies that often go undetected after women have taken these abortion pills?
Who is it that, instead of offering a woman help, only offer to sell her an abortion, pushing the idea that abortion will solve all her problems. (Of course, it never does.)
The clinic simply takes her baby–and her money–then abandons her. She is left in the same awful circumstances, the same bad relationship as before, just poorer and emptier than when she started.
A lack of medical expertise
Upadhyay and colleagues are not above trying to play the “medical card.” They depict their industry as the one with the scientists, the reproductive health care experts, professionals committed to medical care while attempting to cast CPCs and their supporters as religious amateurs dabbling in medical matters they don’t really understand.
The study characterizes CPCs as “generally religiously-affiliated non-profits” whose real mission is trying to talk women out of abortions. They are contrasted with “abortion providers” or “other legitimate medical providers” who (we are supposed to believe) have women’s “reproductive health” as their primary concern.
But the truth is that some of today’s CPCs may have more medically trained personnel on site that many abortion clinics. And we should note the trend with more pregnancy care centers offering more comprehensive services is taking place at the same time that abortion giant Planned Parenthood, which does more abortions every year, is actually seeing a long term decline in its non-abortion services.
Many of today’s CPCs have licensed ultrasound technicians. They may employ a nurse or other trained counselors, and often have contractual connections with a local doctor, etc. More and more pregnancy care centers are offering full prenatal care in addition to pregnancy coaching, parenting, financial, and other training.
Meanwhile, many of those abortion clinics that Upadhyay and team consider “legitimate medical providers” keep angling to reduce expensive medical staff, drop surgical abortions for chemical abortions that do not require physicians, or try to win state approval for non-physicians to perform these “procedures.”
With the advent of chemical abortions and telemedicine, many clinics are assigning staff with little or no formal medical training to give out abortion pills or manage online sales of abortion drugs. Any actual medical staff may be far down the line, maybe only at a regional office. Increasingly, they never actually meet any of these women in person.
Where is help to be found?
The only time these abortion-prone women may speak to someone with real medical training would be when talking to a nurse on a telephone hotline. The extent of that medical “help” could be simply referring them to their local Emergency Room. The personnel there would very likely be doctors who are not affiliated with the abortion clinic in any way and thus likely unaware of the actual cause of the woman’s distress.
It offers quite a contrast to help those women might obtain at the local pregnancy care center. Their trained staff typically remains with a woman throughout her pregnancy and beyond, making sure her needs are met, and assisting her and her child to receive the care, medical and otherwise, that they may need.
When they get that sort of care (as Upadhyay and her team’s study shows), many of these women will choose to carry their baby to a successful delivery.
Editor’s note. The conclusion of Dr. O’Bannon’s three-part series will appear Friday.