NARAL goes after pro-life pregnancy centers

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia seems to have taken a page right out of Lila Rose’s playbook by conducting an undercover investigation of crisis pregnancy centers in Virginia, presumably hoping to expose them in much the same way that Live Action has exposed shady dealings at abortion clinics:

In its 39-page report, titled “Crisis Pregnancy Centers Revealed,” NARAL Pro-Choice volunteers and workers said they spent a year investigating 52 anti-abortion pregnancy centers in Virginia, finding that 38 do not have medically trained or supervised personnel on staff, and that two-thirds of the centers provided “some degree of medically erroneous information.” The report says 16 trained volunteers went undercover to more than two dozen pregnancy centers and posed as women who were worried they were pregnant, said Emily Polak, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.

“When you’re telling women who are scared about unintended pregnancies that condoms have holes and abortions cause cancer, it’s a public-health threat,” Polak said.

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NARAL should know about “medically erroneous information” — as in the case of this doctor at a Planned Parenthood clinic telling a pregnant woman that having an abortion is “much safer than having a baby.”

To be clear: If NARAL’s report does reveal the spread of misinformation or misuse of funds at crisis pregnancy centers, that’s information the pro-life community should act on. (One of the “centers” mentioned in the Post article does indeed appear to be questionable.) But, of course, part of the debate over abortion hinges on just what exactly “medically erroneous information” is. If a crisis pregnancy center is telling women, “Don’t have an abortion, you’ll get cancer,” that’s one thing; but if it’s pointing out that condoms fail and that studies show a relationship between postponing pregnancy and a higher risk of cancer, that’s quite another. NARAL isn’t exactly impartial on this subject, though they like to make themselves out to be.

The timing of this investigation bears that out: NARAL apparently launched their study after Virginia approved the sale of “Choose Life” license plates last year, some of the proceeds of which go to crisis pregnancy centers in the state. So far, about $10,000 has been raised from the sale of the plates to help women in need — a drop in the bucket compared to NARAL’s annual operating budget in the millions of dollars.

And, of course, NARAL and Planned Parenthood just won a similar campaign against crisis pregnancy centers in Baltimore, requiring them to advertise that they don’t provide abortions — in spite of the fact that there have been no complaints from these centers’ clients about having been misled regarding the services offered:

Anti-abortion groups say NARAL’s efforts are part of a political agenda meant to discredit church-affiliated pregnancy centers, which they say provide counseling and support services at no cost to the public and with little complaint from former clients.

“One has to question, in this economy where many of us are committed to seeing abortion reduced, why anyone would needle or harass faith-based charities that provide practical support and help to pregnant women,” said Hansen, of Care Net.




  • Margaret Cabaniss

    Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at

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