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Undercover research reveals reality of counselling from pro-life agencies

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Summary of story from The Guardian, August 3, 2011

A survey conducted for Education for Choice, a UK pro choice charity, found that women receiving advice from pregnancy counselling centres run by faith-based organisations are subjected to scaremongering, emotive language and inaccurate information.

Crisis pregnancy centres which offer counselling independently of the NHS could take over work performed by organisations such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (see WVoN coverage).

An undercover investigation found evidence in most of the 10 centres run by Christian and anti-abortions groups of poor practice and factually inaccurate advice.

One researcher visited the Life Centre in Convent Garden, London, an organisation recently appointed to the panel advising the government on sexual health.

She was given a pamphlet that incorrectly claimed that 85% of abortions are carried out using vacuum aspiration and that women have “to dispose of the corpse”.

A counsellor on Life’s helpline refused to answer any questions about the physical aspects of abortion, and claimed not to know the names of any abortion providers.

Lisa Hallgarten, director of Education for Choice, said “We felt it was in the public interest to learn more about how these services operate.

“We chose to send in ‘mystery shoppers’ to use services as this is a tried and tested technique in mainstream sexual health provision – commonly used to test how young people friendly a service is and get a real sense of what it feels like to be a service-user.”

  1. Jane Osmond says:

    Yes, this is particularly annoying considering one of the centres mentioned is in my home town. However, it is a good idea to do this – the real story does need exposing.

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