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Europe Must Act Against US-Backed “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”

Summary:
When undercover reporters, posing as vulnerable pregnant women, were sent into the centers in 18 countries across Europe, Africa, and Latin America, they consistently received wildly misleading and false information about abortion and contraception. And what openDemocracy’s investigation found is likely just the tip of the iceberg. LONDON – In Europe, if you go to a public hospital seeking medical advice, you expect accurate, science-based information. You expect the staff attending you to be professionally trained and certified. You’d have similar expectations on university campuses, in schools, women’s shelters, or other state-run facilities, right?  Europe Must Recognize China for What It Is

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When undercover reporters, posing as vulnerable pregnant women, were sent into the centers in 18 countries across Europe, Africa, and Latin America, they consistently received wildly misleading and false information about abortion and contraception. And what openDemocracy’s investigation found is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

LONDON – In Europe, if you go to a public hospital seeking medical advice, you expect accurate, science-based information. You expect the staff attending you to be professionally trained and certified. You’d have similar expectations on university campuses, in schools, women’s shelters, or other state-run facilities, right? 

Think again. In a new report, the global news site openDemocracy reveals how women and girls are being given “misinformation and manipulation” on an extraordinary scale in “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) around the world.

Supported by powerful American activists with close ties to President Donald Trump’s administration, and often made to look like health clinics, many of these centers claim to offer pregnant women unbiased “advice.” In fact, staff aim to dissuade women from having legal abortions, and in some cases, from accessing contraception.

In the first investigation of its kind, openDemocracy mapped the global spending, networks, and activities of two influential anti-abortion groups based in the United States, Heartbeat International and Human Life International. Together, they have spent $13 million around the world since 2007 and have funded and trained hundreds of organizations globally.

We sent undercover reporters, posing as vulnerable pregnant women, into Heartbeat-affiliated CPCs in 18 countries around the world, where they consistently received wildly misleading and false information. Abortion can increase cancer risks. A woman needs consent from a partner to have one. Hospitals will not treat medical complications. Women will suffer from a widely debunked “post-abortion syndrome.”

We also sent a reporter to get Heartbeat training, available online or in-person globally. Our reporter was taught to encourage women to delay abortion and emergency contraception. In these trainings, they also claim that condoms aren't effective at preventing pregnancy, and to tell women that abortion increases risk of abuse of other children and could “turn” partners gay.

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