In May 2017, pro-life blogger Patricia Maloney, who operated Run with Life, released a report called “Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada Deceitful on Crisis Pregnancy Centres.” This report is a critique of a report written in 2016 entitled “Review of Crisis Pregnancy Centre Websites in Canada” by ARCC’s founder Joyce Arthur, in which Arthur attempted to show that most of the 180 identified crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs) in Canada have a hidden Christian agenda which causes them to misinform women and be deceptive in how they market themselves on their websites. Maloney states near the beginning of her report that Arthur’s report is “flawed and disingenuous” and that it “seems to be her way of being vindictive towards those who don’t share her abortion beliefs.”
The first flaw that Maloney points out in Arthur’s report is that it identifies an incorrect number of CPCs in Canada. For example, Arthur’s report claims that 56 of the CPCs are Birthright centres, when actually there are only 26 Birthright centres in Canada. Additionally, the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services (CAPSS) has seven more affiliate centres than the 60 that Arthur identifies in her report.
Maloney’s report critiques Arthur’s most crucial complaint against CPC websites, which is that they apparently give out misleading information on abortion and its risks. Maloney states in her report that abortion-related information from CPCs are very often sourced from medical professionals, including abortionists. For example, CAPSS’s client brochures, which discuss the physical risks of abortion, come from pro-abortion sources at Women’s College Hospital (Toronto), Brampton Women’s Clinic, B.C. Women’s Hospital, and many others.
Likewise, Maloney uses CAPSS’s client brochures to respond to Arthur’s dislike about how CPCs apparently overstress the link between abortion and breast cancer on patients. She does this by showing that the client brochure for CAPSS explicitly states that this link is controversial and that out of 73 studies on the link, 56 showed a positive relationship and seventeen showed no link.
Maloney also critiques Arthur’s claim that 48 per cent of CPC websites discuss ‘Post-abortion Syndrome’ which is not a medically recognized term. Upon reviewing the websites, Maloney found that only two CPCs specifically mention post-abortion syndrome and that the term was no longer used on either site by the time Maloney published her report. The vast majority of CPCs refer to “post-abortion grief” or “post-abortion stress” when discussing the emotional pain that some post-abortive women feel. CAPSS intentionally avoids the term “post-abortion syndrome” due to it being a labeling misnomer, and has even sent Arthur and ARCC a written hard-copy of a statement saying so.
Maloney also rebuts Arthur’s claim that a vast number of CPCs are deceptive by pointing to what CAPSS and Birthright say about themselves on their websites. CAPSS clearly states that they do not refer for abortions and that they are there to give aid and information, and Birthright states exactly what their philosophy is on their website as well as what services they offer (abortion referral is not on the list). Maloney says there is obviously no attempt by these CPCs to hide what they are.
Maloney then looks at Arthur’s allegations that CPCs pretend to be medical facilities. Maloney examined the websites of each of the CPC websites, and found that out of the 99 individual websites, 77 explicitly stated either that they were not medical clinics, or that they would refer patients to medical care, indicating they themselves do not offer medical care.
Maloney also answers Arthur’s claim that most CPCs are Christian enterprises. Maloney quoted CAPSS’s Core Document, which states that CAPSS will neither impose their religion on their clients nor discriminate against their clients in any way. Birthright’s website says the same thing, and additionally will not even ask the religious views of potential volunteers, according to an interview Maloney had with a Birthright representative.
Rebecca Peters, communications liaison for CAPSS, also responded to Arthur’s accusations against CPCs. In response to the accusation that CPCs are pushing their faith on their patients Maloney wrote: “Most local pregnancy care centres are faith-based. But what does that mean? Quite simply, it means that everything they do is based on their love for God and the truth of the Bible – that all life has value. That’s it. Everyone that works at a centre, whether staff or volunteer, shares these beliefs. They don’t preach them.”
In response to the accusation that CPCs misinform women she wrote: “Pregnancy care centres offer medically accurate information on all three options available to a woman when she is pregnant – abortion, adoption, and parenting. The information is presented in a straightforward and unbiased way, because centres believe that when given accurate information, women are smart enough and fully capable of making the best decision for themselves.”