Taking the morning after pill is equivalent to having an abortion. Emergency contraception typically causes dangerous hemorrhaging, can damage the cervix, and often lands women in the hospital. It’s not a good idea to buy emergency contraception over the counter. Choosing abortion is emotionally damaging to women.
Those are just a few of the falsehoods that women receive from counselors at so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) — right-wing front groups that advocate an anti-abortion agenda. When 24-year-old activist Katie recently went undercover at a CPC in Cleveland, OH, she recorded an employee who told her all of that misleading information about her options after she said she had recently had unprotected sex.
Posing as a 19-year-old who was interested in information about “a pill you can take to not get pregnant” because she had just had sex without a condom, the pro-choice activist solicited advice from Cleveland’s Womakind, just one of approximately 2,500 of these right-wing organizations across the country. She was told that the morning after pill is “like having kind of an abortion” (it’s not) and it’s very dangerous to her health (it isn’t).
Warning Katie against the potential harm that could result from her decision to have sex outside of marriage, the CPC employee told her, “Harming yourself would be having an abortion. Or taking the pill after. Because sometimes taking a pill like that could cause more bleeding than what you think. It would only take you to the emergency room and you having to take care of what’s happening. A lot of those things, you probably could read online, on the Internet, the risks in taking something like that would be. There’s risks in anything. It could leave damage to the cervix, it could mean hemorrhaging.”
Watch it, via Salon:
This isn’t an isolated incident. Katie works to expose the tactics that CPCs use to mislead vulnerable women across the country — and she was inspired to start doing this undercover work after she experienced those tactics firsthand. As a junior in college who found out she had unintentionally become pregnant, Katie sought counseling from a clinic in Iowa that warned her about abortion’s (false) link to breast cancer and asked her about her relationship to Jesus Christ.
Other investigations into CPCs have revealed much of the same findings. Even though these groups often present themselves as viable alternatives to women’s health clinics like Planned Parenthood, they don’t actually provide the full range of services — and they emotionally manipulate potentially vulnerable women who are seeking truthful information about their reproductive health options. Nevertheless, some anti-abortion lawmakers in states like Texas and Ohio have advocated to allocate state funds to CPCs instead of Planned Parenthood.
NOTE: This post has been updated to remove identifying details about Katie upon her request.