New investigative video shows a crisis pregnancy center counselor telling a client dangerous lies

Katie Stack was disturbed when she got pregnant and visited a clinic close by that turned out to be a crisis pregnancy center, facilities that try to look like abortion clinics that exist to talk people out of accessing abortions. Katie was lied to about her own health, as happens to so many young people. This experience inspired her to investigate these misleading fake clinics:

Though she had an appointment at a Planned Parenthood clinic for an abortion, she visited an Iowa clinic closer to her home. “ The “counseling” that I received included the following,” Stack wrote in a 2011 New York Times Op-Ed. “I was cautioned that abortions caused breast cancer, even though the National Cancer Institute has found serious flaws in all research that suggests so. I was warned that I would inevitably suffer from post-abortion stress syndrome, even though the American Psychological Association says there is no evidence of increased mental health problems among women who have an abortion in the first trimester. I was told that I would not hear this information from doctors, because doctors make money performing abortions and would lie about the procedure’s risks.”

In secretly recorded video below, originally posted on Salon, a counselor at Cleveland’s Womankind is shown trying to convince Katie not to access an abortion. The counselor has apparently never even heard of Plan B, though she does know about something called the morning after pill, which she says causes an abortion. Since the morning after pill is Plan B and prevents pregnancy, I suppose that must be a different morning after pill that only crisis pregnancy centers know about. Katie’s tactics were partially inspired by sting videos shot at abortion clinics:

Of course, the more famous secret recordings in abortion politics are on the right, with Live Action’s stings on Planned Parenthood and independent abortion clinics. Stack says there’s a difference: ”The videos that Live Action puts out are promoting the myths and the fears that the antiabortion movement, such as the idea that abortion clinics cover up sex trafficking. Whereas our work is really much more investigative. We’re not creating unusual scenarios, we’re not looking to prove a particular thesis necessarily. We’re just going in there and letting them talk.”

Salon has not provided a transcript for the video. Dear Salon: you should make transcripts for video content available, it’s an important accessibility issue.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • Timid Atheist

    When I became pregnant I looked in the yellow pages of a city that I’d just moved to two months prior because I was scared, worried and looking for options on what to do. The place I went to turned out to be a crisis pregnancy center, though I had no idea there was a difference between the place I chose and planned parenthood, which the city didn’t have.

    I went with the father of my baby and we were told, immediately, that while it’s a scary time, an unexpected pregnancy is a gift and that we’d be happy and make wonderful parents. The woman talked about her children and how hard, but fulfilling it was. Once her talk was over she herded us to an exam room where she had me used the bathroom and then did a test to check to make sure I really was pregnant. It came up positive and she hurriedly urged me to return in a few weeks to view an ultrasound.

    I returned to see the ultrasound and any thought of doing anything but taking care of my daughter flew out of my head. I do not in the slightest regret taking care of my daughter through pregnancy and after birth. She’s an amazing person and I”m lucky to know her. But the fact that this place gaslighted me into having a pregnancy I wasn’t sure I wanted is not right.

    This needs to be spread far and wide. These places need disclaimers. And anyone with a uterus who becomes pregnant needs to have real options and information.

  • Kristin Kolb

    This is so ridiculous. The biggest issue here is that this is no one’s decision except the person who is pregnant. Your opinions and beliefs should not be interjected into this decision. First, this is not your life. Second, you don’t know her circumstances. Having a child is not easy, and if she does not have the proper help/support, what then? What if she ends up being a sex worker trying to feed and support her child by herself (NOTE: I am not saying there’s anything wrong with sex workers as I am one myself, and I only use this example because I’ve had personal friends that have chosen such a path)? I’m sure your conservative, Christian ideals would be offended in that situation as well.

    And while I agree with the woman’s statement that sex “has consequences and you have to deal with them”, these consequences affect the pregnant woman’s life, not your’s. So how exactly can you sit there and pass judgement like that? I’m sure what I’m saying has been said a thousand times before, but seriously, people have got to stop shoving their personal beliefs down other people’s throats. It is NOT YOUR LIFE.