VANCOUVER, January 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On December 15th, 2011, CTV News in British Columbia launched a sting operation against the South Fraser Pregnancy Options Centre in Surrey, BC, with the what Executive Director Laura Lansink said was “the hope that our peer-counselor would give false or biased information.”
The Pregnancy Options centres are associated with the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services (CAPSS), a national, non-political, registered Christian charity, committed to equipping pregnancy support services.
CTV sent a woman, named only as “Sheila,” to the Surrey Options centre posing as a legitimate client in distress because of an unplanned pregnancy and asking for help.
Ms Lansink said in a press release that a volunteer peer-counselor was able to see “Sheila” immediately and spent close to an hour talking through the woman’s concerns as well helping her to understand her choices.
“What this peer-counselor didn’t know, however, was that the woman had actually been sent by CTV News and that the woman was secretly recording the entire session,” Ms Lansink said, pointing out that “Sheila” had agreed to, and signed, an agreement of services which says in part: “please turn off all devices with recording capabilities prior to the session. POC Staff and Volunteers do NOT consent to any recorded conversations.”
CTV reports that the volunteer peer-counselor “asked ‘Sheila’ about her background, the circumstances of the pregnancy, and if she had been abused. They offered referrals to hospitals for any sexually transmitted diseases and said that she was not alone struggling with a tough decision.”
The volunteer peer-counselor also referred “Sheila” to a brochure produced by the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services that discusses fetal development, adoption and the risks associated with abortion.
Ms Lansink stated that the CAPSS brochure is an up to date and accurate compilation of medical research that was reviewed and proofread by 25 professional counselors, physicians, and medical researchers across Canada before going to print.
Ms Lansink revealed that on January 5, Mr. Jon Woodward of CTV News called the Centre, saying that he had received a ‘complaint’ from a client who believed the Centre had given her false medical information regarding the risks of abortion.
“In a subsequent phone call he however admitted that it was not a client with a complaint. Instead this person had been sent from CTV News to the Centre with a hidden camera with the intent of exposing our organization for providing supposedly false information,” Ms Lansink said.
Ms Lansink noted that Woodward was given a copy of the CAPSS brochure, “yet he has let us know that he ‘disbelieves’ the studies, research, and information that the brochure cites.”
The CTV report on the sting was aired January 17, reporting that “staff welcomed Sheila and seemed genuinely concerned about her well-being.” However, the report went on to focus on the allegation that crisis pregnancy centres give misinformation.
For example, despite the Options Centre’s clear statement that they are not a medical facility and do not perform or refer for abortions, CTV reported that “Sheila” “pressed (the volunteer peer-counselor) on where an abortion would be available,” then quoted Greg Smith, director of a “sexual health” and abortion referral centre, saying “patients have come to him complaining that rather than being given objective advice, they were steered away from abortion.”
“We hear from time to time that people who have gone to those centres come out enraged,” CTV News reported Smith as saying. “They feel they were given a bait and switch.”
CTV News cited Dr. Wendy Norman of B.C. Women’s Hospital saying that infection after abortion “was uncommon in North American hospitals – about one in every 200 cases,” that uterine perforations ranged “between three in 1,000 to one in 10,000 cases,” and that infertility from abortion “is a mark of an illegal abortion.”
“Abortions performed by physicians and accredited health professionals have been shown indisputably to not have these long term effects,” Norman is quoted to have said.
However, studies carried out in the U.S. and Canada contradict Dr. Norman’s assertions that infection after abortion are about one-half of one percent, and can in fact range up to 17 percent. An American study of the psychological responses of women after abortion also discovered that seventeen per cent of the participants reported physical complications such as bleeding or pelvic infection after their first-trimester abortion. (Major B, et al. Psychological responses of women after first-trimester abortion. Archives of General Psychiatry 2000 August 57(8):777-84, p. 780.)
Information available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 386 deaths from legal abortion in the U.S. between 1973 and 2004. In 2006, the most recent year for which data were available, six women were reported to have died as a result of complications from known legal induced abortions. No reported deaths were associated with known illegal induced abortions. Physical complications mentioned in the CDC report include cervical lacerations and injury, uterine perforations, bleeding, hemorrhage, serious infection, pain, and incomplete abortion in which the fetal remains are left inside the woman’s body.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan issued revised guidelines in 2011 that outline the numerous risks of abortion and the duty of the counseling physician or abortionist to inform any woman contemplating abortion of these risks.
The guidelines state that information provided to women should include not only the “precise nature” of the abortion procedure, but also “the known immediate risks.” The document gives as examples of the immediate risks “uterine perforation, infection, hemorrhage.”
Physicians should also inform women of the “known long-term risks,” including “impact on future fertility, incidence of future spontaneous abortions, ectopic pregnancy and premature birth” as well as “the known psychological risks.”
A 2009 study by Jessica Dolle et al. of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center revealed that U.S. National Cancer Institute researcher Dr. Louise Brinton, well known for claiming that it was “well established” that “abortion is not associated with increased breast cancer risk,” had reversed her position and now admits that abortion and oral contraceptives raise breast cancer risks. The study found an admission from Dr. Brinton and her colleagues that abortion raises breast cancer risk by 40%.
In an update received by LifeSiteNews, Laura Lansink said that while many supporters of the South Fraser Pregnancy Options Centre had suggested she file a formal complaint regarding the tactics used by CTV News, she indicated that this was not a course the crisis pregnancy centre intends to follow.
“At this point we won’t be taking any further action as we want to keep our focus and our energies on what we do best… each day helping the woman that comes to us for help when she has nowhere else to turn,” Ms Lansink said.
For more information visit the South Fraser Pregnancy Options Centre website here.
To contact CTV News British Columbia:
Jon Woodward, ctvbc.ca
Suite 300, 750 Burrard St.
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1X5
Phone: 604 609-6333