While Rod Bruinooge’s proposed bill lays bare the coerced context of so-called “free choice,” crisis pregnancy centres around the country help women who think they have no way to make the decision they really want: to keep their children. These centres offer expectant mothers vital information about the mental and physical consequences of abortion (which they are usually denied by the medical establishment), as well as the material assistance they need to choose life.

These centres, however, have recently come under strenuous attack on several fronts. The pro-abortion movement has produced a number of “studies” and “documentaries” which attempt to discredit these centres and stop the good work they do. Predictably, there is no shortage of zealous reporters willing to follow their lead, making such centres the antagonists of their own exposés.

In August, a particularly odious example of such activist journalism appeared on the front page of The Toronto Star. The author of this piece, Joanne Smith posed as an expectant mother to eight Toronto-area crisis pregnancy centres and reported what was told by the counselors.

To Smith’s evident alarm, these counselors advised her informant that an abortion is not a harmless procedure, but one which could have serious consequences, and Smith devotes a large portion of her article to the refutation of this claim. A pedantic “fact check” after her article drives the point home: although crisis pregnancy centre counselors tell women that they may experience symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome, no less a body than the American Psychological Association has not given its imprimatur to this illness. Thus, abortion can have no adverse consequences because the “experts” have spoken – never mind the first-hand experience and testimonials of women suffering from the aftermath of abortion, or the numerous studies that back them up.

That women may be deeply emotionally scarred by their abortion is a fact Smith may find distasteful, but it is one that she should not ignore. Rather than dismissing the counselors who work in crisis pregnancy centres as deceitful ideologues, Smith ought to have delved deeper into their work. The real story here is the surprising success of these centres, a success which is not, as some blinkered reporters believe, due to misinformation or scare-tactics. The amazing success of many of these centres – which are often understaffed and under-funded – is due to the apprehension that women have about abortion. Too many women who choose to have an abortion do not make this choice freely, and suffer for it later.

Some intrepid reporter might want to find out why.