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I’ve talked about Crisis Pregnancy Centres before. They range from somewhat vile to ridiculously evil; all of them pretend they’re trying to help people who’ve unexpectedly become pregnant ….

When she learns the woman does not have an appointment but is thinking about it, she ushers her up a long narrow staircase and into a soft-lit room. There is a comfortable couch. There is a coffee table. There are scale models of fetuses nestled into the womb.

This is the counselling room of Aid to Women, a registered charity set up next door to the Cabbagetown Women’s Clinic on Gerrard St. E. and Parliament St. in Toronto. Its website advertises counselling on unplanned pregnancy and information on abortion and its alternatives. The charity also gives away baby clothes, cribs and diapers.

… but in practice do everything they can to steer these people away from abortion, from merely lying…

“I can’t make those decisions for you,” Keet says, but she has some troubling information to share. A woman who has an abortion, she says, puts herself at great risk of developing breast cancer. Terminating a pregnancy is far more dangerous than carrying a baby to term. And she might never be able to get pregnant again.

At one point she says the fetal parts, or “pieces of babies” are sold to medical research. “There was a big truck that was out there. I don’t know if you saw it: a big truck?” she asks, describing untruthfully how the parts are collected in a bin and picked up for sale. She gives a terrifying description of the procedure itself. She shows pictures of an aborted fetus, limbs lying in a bloody mess. She plays with her lip as she watches the woman stare.

… to pretending to be medical centres and claiming government funds. In the USA, they’ve gone as far as pretending to offer abortions so they can delay people past the line of viability.

But I’ve always wondered if this tactic works, though. Persistently lying to people has a way of boomeranging back into your face, and while these shops rely on misrepresentation there’s now a ridiculous number of investigative reports into how they work. Well, my wonderings have been answered.

Of the 2.6 million clients who visited crisis pregnancy centers since 2004, 3.52 percent, or 92,679 people, decided against having an abortion. The statistics come from eKYROS.com, Inc., an anti-choice, Texas-based software company, which says more than 1,200 CPCs use its software to track clients and measure results. […]

The eKYROS software allows CPCs to collect demographic information on clients and categorize them based on a variety of criteria, including whether they are “abortion minded,” “abortion vulnerable,” or “likely to carry“—categories described in a software demo posted online. These categories are key to assessing whether the facilities are achieving what is at the heart of CPCs’ mission: convincing pregnant people to “choose life,” a viewpoint reflecting the largely evangelical Christian ideals of the centers’ religious operators.

And, not surprisingly, those numbers may have been cooked.

Care Net in its most recent annual report said it “saved” 73,000 lives in 2014. eKYROS, however, reported 3,476 births in 2014 from “clients who came to the center with initial intentions of Abortion or Undecided and then changed their mind to carry baby to term and the pregnancy outcome was confirmed as a birth by the center.”

Anti-choice groups typically equate preventing abortions to “saving lives,” so the basis for the 69,524 “lives” discrepancy is unclear.

Kimberly Kelly, who has studied CPCs for a decade and is associate professor of sociology and director of gender studies at Mississippi State University, told Rewire in an interview that the centers frequently count both the pregnant person and the fetus as “saved lives,” essentially double counting.

While it’s heartening that so few people buy into CPC lies, think of all the time and money they waste. Think of the predatory tactics, and the increasing use of taxpayer funds. Their bullshit is actively harming all of us, men and women, and it’s well past time we petitioned to have all CPCs shut down for fraud.

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