June 26th, 2013

Irin Carmon at Salon writes:

In a secretly recorded video (embedded at the bottom of this story), a young woman named Kate, 19, tells a counselor at Cleveland’s Womankind “maternal and prenatal care” center, “Usually we use condoms, but yesterday we didn’t.” She’s taken a pregnancy test, but is told it is probably too soon. Then Kate asks, “Like, I know there’s a pill you can take to not get pregnant. And I don’t know if you have to go to the doctor?”

After some confusion, the counselor replies inaccurately, “It sounds like the morning after pill. If you have intercourse and then take this pill and it causes a period to come on or something, or bleeding. It’s like having kind of an abortion.” She adds, “That could harm you. It really could harm you … You could hemorrhage from anything like that.”

“Kate” is Katie Stack, a 24-year-old pro-choice activist and patients’ advocate at an Ohio abortion clinic, though she gave the counselor a different last name. Stack is also a founder of the Crisis Project, which films undercover video at crisis pregnancy centers like Cleveland’s Womankind and records the often medically suspect advice given there. And Womankind is one of thousands of clinics across the country that seek to dissuade women from having abortions. Unlike many of those centers, which gauzily gloss over whether they’re actually clinics, it actually offers prenatal care from medical professionals, but that doesn’t mean it dispenses accurate information.

Whether the counselor was misinformed or intentionally misleading, her advice on emergency contraception was false.

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