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VA Pro-Choice Group: Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers Offer Medically False Info

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By Jonathan Wilson

The abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia says the majority of Crisis Pregnancy Centers across the state give clients inaccurate medical information.

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia conducted a year-long investigation into the 52 Crisis Pregnancy Centers, non-profits established by pro-life supporters that provide services such as pregnancy testing and counseling. NARAL alleges that 35 of the 52 centers shared medically erroneous information with undercover investigators.

The group says 17 different centers told clients abortions dramatically increased the risk of breast cancer, and others claimed most condoms have holes and cannot prevent sexually transmitted disease.

"I think no matter what your stance is on abortion, we all can agree that women shouldn't be lied to," says Tarina Keene, the group's Executive Director.

NARAL is pushing a bill in the state legislature that would require pregnancy centers to post more information about the services they give.

Many centers are eligible for state regulated funding through the "Choose Life" license plate program, which is new this year.

Peggy Hartshorn runs Heartbeat International, the organization in charge of distributing the funding. She says NARAL's report is politically biased.

"It's a type of harassment," she says. "It's to take us away from our real focus of helping women, and providing life affirming services in communities."

Hartshorn says centers receiving funding must agree to provide accurate medical information, and no money has been distributed yet. She also says some studies have shown links between breast cancer and abortion.

The web sites of the Virginia Department of Health, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Cancer Society do not list abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer.

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