Abortion misinformation from crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina

Contraception. 2012 Dec;86(6):752-6. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.06.001. Epub 2012 Jul 6.


Background: This study assessed the accuracy of medical information provided by crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina.

Study design: We performed a secondary data analysis of a "secret shopper survey" performed by a nonprofit organization. Reports from phone calls and visits to crisis pregnancy centers were analyzed for quality and content of medical information provided. Web sites of crisis pregnancy centers in the state were also reviewed.

Results: Thirty-two crisis pregnancy centers were contacted. Nineteen of these were visited. Fourteen centers (44%) offered that they "provide counseling on abortion and its risks." Inaccurate information provided included a link between abortion and breast cancer (16%), infertility (26%) and mental health problems (26%). Of the 36 Web sites identified, 31 (86%) provided false or misleading information, including 26 sites (72%) linking abortion to "post-abortion stress."

Conclusions: Many crisis pregnancy centers give inaccurate medical information regarding the risks of abortion. Overstating risks stigmatizes abortion, seeks to intimidate women and is unethical.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / adverse effects*
  • Abortion, Induced / education
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities* / ethics
  • Communication*
  • Crisis Intervention* / ethics
  • Deception*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services* / ethics
  • North Carolina
  • Patient Education as Topic* / ethics
  • Patient Rights
  • Pregnancy
  • Professional-Patient Relations / ethics
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Women's Rights
  • Workforce