by Steven Ertelt
July 18, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading national network of pregnancy centers says a new report authored by a pro-abortion congressman is misleading and doesn’t present a full view of what the centers to do help women in a variety of pregnancy situations.
The organization says the report is the latest attack on pregnancy centers by those who don’t want women to know of abortion’s risks and dangers.
Yesterday, pro-abortion Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, authored the report for the committee Democrats and claims "federally funded pregnancy resource centers often mislead pregnant teens about the medical risks of abortion."
Waxman’s report says pregnancy centers wrongly tell pregnant women that abortion can increase the risk of contracting breast cancer, can lead to mental or psychological distress, and can cause future fertility issues.
Kristin Hansen, vice president of communications for Care Net, which provides assistance to more than 975 pregnancy centers nationwide, called Waxman’s report “an attempt to whitewash the risk of abortion on women’s health."
“Because abortion has become so grossly politicized, it is easy for proponents like Rep. Waxman to cite one or two studies on the risks of abortion and call it a day," Hansen explained. "But women’s physical and emotional health hang in the balance. They deserve a comprehensive look at the studies, not election year soundbites."
Hansen said Waxman’s report and support for it from abortion advocacy groups has more to do with the financial loss abortion centers are experiencing because so many women are seeking tangible pregnancy help from centers like hers.
“What’s clear in these attacks is that the multi-million dollar abortion industry is growing increasingly frustrated with the success of pregnancy centers, which, unlike abortion providers, offer a wide range of free services to men and women facing unplanned pregnancy and sexual health-related concerns," Hansen said.
Peggy Hartshorn, the president of Heartbeat International, another nation group that supports pregnancy centers, says Waxman needs to look into problems at abortion centers like Planned Parenthood, which are also federally funded.
“Mr. Waxman seems more intent to waste taxpayer’s money to support his friends, the abortion lobby, by hindering and smearing the good work of life-affirming, faith-based pregnancy centers," she explained.
Using pregnant 17 year-olds posing as pregnancy center clients, the report claims twenty of the 23 pregnancy centers that receive federal funds "mislead" the teenagers.
On the issue of abortion’s link to breast cancer, the pro-abortion Waxman report says eight centers told women that the breast cancer risk is increased.
Yet, that’s what most research studies on the topic show.
A 1996 report published by the British Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health looked at 23 previous studies and found abortion increases the breast cancer risk by 30 percent.
Biochemist Joel Brind of the Baruch College of the City University of New York says abortion exposes women to high levels of estrogen and affects the breast in a negative way, allowing a greater chance of contracting breast cancer.
Waxman’s report also alleges that pregnancy centers are giving women "and misleading information about the effect of abortion on future fertility." Saying that seven pregnancy centers told the teenagers this information, Waxman claims abortions "do not pose an increased risk of infertility."
But research shows that abortion can lead to infertility by increasing the risk of miscarriages.
A 1986 report in the medical journal Epidemiology reveals women with a history of abortion have a greater risk of fetal loss than women who had no previous abortions. Women with two prior pregnancies carried to term and no abortions had the lowest risk, while women with two prior abortions had the highest risk.
Meanwhile, a 1991 British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology article revealed that women with a history of abortion had a 1.5-1.7 times higher risk of ectopic pregnancy than women who had previously carried a pregnancy to term.
The Waxman report also said "pregnancy centers provided false and misleading information about the mental health effects of abortion." It said thirteen centers told the teenage callers that mental health effects from abortion are commonplace.
"Research shows that significant psychological stress after an abortion is no more common than after birth," Waxman suggested.
Yet, recent research from Norway and New Zealand has reported an association between abortion and subsequent mental health problems.
The New Zealand study, published by the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found that mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts, were more likely to occur among women who had an abortion than women who had never been pregnant or pregnant women who did not have an abortion
The Norwegian study, published online by the journal BMC Medicine, compared the experiences of women who had miscarriages with those who had abortions. After 5 years, women who had abortions were more likely to suffer anxiety and intrusive thoughts of the event than women who miscarried.
The Waxman report is an effort to promote Congressional legislation that would limit the free speech rights of pregnancy centers.
Sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, the bill directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a rule prohibiting pregnancy centers from trying to deceive women into thinking they perform abortions.
Maloney did not provide any examples of crisis pregnancy centers falsely advertising abortions when she filed her bill and three groups that represent thousands of pregnancy centers across the country called it an "old recycled" attempt to attack pregnancy centers.