NARAL Pro-Choice America has issued a not entirely surprising follow up to its report on so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) in Virginia that should give pause to Rhode Island legislators and citizens who supported the “Choose Life” license plate bill (wisely vetoed by Governor Chafee) that would have provided funds to similar organizations in our own state. NARAL sent women undercover into Virginia CPCs and recorded counselors telling women that “the birth-control pill causes breast cancer and that condoms ‘don’t work.’“
Centers like these receive funding from a variety of sources including “Choose Life” license plates available through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. [Governor] Ken Cuccinelli – whose anti-choice activism has helped shut down legitimate women’s health clinics across the state – has said he was the “proud sponsor” of the legislation behind the license plates when he served in the State Senate.
Highlights from the recording include the following insane lies and admissions:
Condoms are “naturally porous” and do not protect against STDs.
Women who have taken the birth-control pill for four years prior to their first pregnancy have a 46% increased risk of breast cancer.
Having an abortion will damage all of your future relationships.
“I try to talk women out of taking birth control.”
If you have an abortion, you will see that child’s soul again in the future: “At the end of the world you’re gonna know that was my child that I choose to kill.”
Though the audio recordings made by NARAL are new, their previous reports, are not. It has long been well known that CPCs give out medically unreliable and dangerous information. Under the active guidance of Senate President M Teresa Paiva Weed the “Choose Life” license plate legislation was passed in Rhode Island with a last second change in the bill substituting a crisis pregnancy center for the Knights of Columbus while the Senate Committee was in the midst of soliciting public commentary.
This amounts to practical, if not actually illegal legislative misconduct, but importantly this shows that real oversight and commentary was not wanted: Despite knowing how dangerous CPCs are to the health and wellbeing of Rhode Island women, anti-choice legislators pushed this legislation through anyway.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers, are essentially practicing medicine without a license. These places are distributing false and potentially deadly information to young women who are at the most vulnerable point in their lives. Instead of supporting these places with public funding the General Assembly should be looking into ways to hold these centers accountable, and shutting them down if they are in the business of giving out false medical information.
Thankfully, Rhode Island has avoided the pitfall of funding such places… for now.