A disturbing video shot undercover at an abortion advice center in Dublin, Ireland has exposed the misleading and dangerous information that’s often perpetuated by the anti-abortion movement.
The Irish edition of The Times sent a staff member to The Women’s Centre, a Dublin-based abortion advice center for the many women in Ireland who are unsure of what to do once they become pregnant. Abortion is illegal in Ireland, with many women often traveling to the U.K. to have the procedure.
The video begins when the undercover woman sits down with a counselor at the center to discuss her options, and is told egregious lie after egregious lie about the supposed risks of abortion procedures.
Some of the lies that were told involved:
“You go from being pregnant to unpregnant so rapidly your cells become damaged...There will be a breast cancer risk.”
This risk has been denied by medical professionals over and over. Not only has the American Cancer Society discredited this, but in response to The Times’s release of this video, head of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Ireland Dr. Peter Boylan said of the claim, “That is outrageous.”
“[Women who’ve had abortions] have been known to neglect their children or overprotect them, it’s a psychological thing.”
Neglect and overprotecting are two incredibly different things ― but regardless of what the counselor meant, Dr. Boylan also denied there being any connection whatsoever to child abuse and abortion.
“It’s way too late for the pill now because you’re 7 or 8 weeks [pregnant].” Medical abortions ― also known as the abortion pill ― are generally available to women up to their 10th week of pregnancy.
Pain for the fetus
“The reality is a baby in the womb will feel pain considerably more than we would, or a toddler, or a full-term, due to the sensitivity of the developing nervous system.”
A 2005 study of fetal pain published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that “evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester.”
The Women’s Centre in Ireland has, according to The Times, been linked to the Good Counsel Network, a Catholic anti-abortion group. This kind of center is similar to Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, in the United States.
CPCs are often advertised by anti-abortion groups as medical facilities with counseling services for new mothers or women with unexpected pregnancies, when in actuality they are paid for and run by religious anti-abortion groups.
CPCs are also often located in the same neighborhood as abortion clinics, where protestors encourage women to seek help at the CPCs instead of going through with their procedures.
Whether it’s in Ireland, the U.S., or anywhere else in the world, centers like these are hugely troubling for spreading entirely inaccurate information about women’s health.
Read more about The Times and The Women’s Centre here.
Correction: This post originally stated that the advice center investigated by The Times was Reproductive Choices ― the center investigated is actually called The Women’s Centre. Reproductive Choices is a pro-choice advice center on the same street.