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Deceiving Texas Women with your Tax Dollars (July 2009)
Since its inception in 2005, the Texas Pregnancy Care Network (TPCN) has spent over $8 million in taxpayer funds to run a controversial program designed to impact pregnant Texas women. The TPCN contracts with crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) – unlicensed, unregulated anti-abortion "counseling” centers – to provide non-medical "counseling” services to Texas women.
CPCs in Texas and nationwide have a history of misleading pregnant women and teens by using inaccurate medical information and religious literature. Because these programs are funded by taxpayer dollars, the programs are controversial at best, and at worst endanger women’s health and violate the Federal Charitable Choice Act.
Given continued – and increased – funding for this controversial program, Texas taxpayers should be seriously concerned about the latest data gathered on TPCN-contracted CPCs and the suitability of awarding the TPCN a new contract in August of 2009.
A recent round of investigative visits to taxpayer funded CPCs, found the following:
- Taxpayer-funded CPCs violate standards of the Charitable Choice Act:
- 67% of CPCs visited offered either prayer or religious counseling. Despite federal Charitable Choice Act regulations[i]and the Texas Pregnancy Care Network’s claims that their service providers must "agree not to promote the teaching or philosophy of any religion while providing services to the client,”[ii]
- One center maintains a connection to Care Net, a national organization whose mission is to "promote a culture of life through the delivery of… evangelistic ministry to people facing unplanned pregnancies and related sexual issues.”[iii]
- Taxpayer-funded CPCs endanger women’s health by propagating medical misinformation:
- 100% of the CPCs visited referenced a link between abortion and breast cancer. Even though statements from numerous leading medical organizations[iv], such as the National Cancer Institute, have stated that that there is no relationship between induced abortion and a subsequent higher risk for breast cancer. One center even claimed that a woman’s risk of breast cancer is increased by 35% after an abortion.[v]
- 100% of CPCs visited described a fictional "post-abortion stress” syndrome. The American Psychological Association does not recognize "post-abortion stress syndrome”[vi]and, as reported by Reuters in 2008, "no high-quality study done to date can document that having an abortion causes psychological distress, or a ‘post-abortion syndrome,’”[vii]
- 67% of CPCs visited told investigators that condoms are not effective in stopping the spread of STDs. Despite scientific and medical evidence that condoms are effective in preventing the sexual transmission of STDs[viii], including HIV.
- Though "A Woman’s Right to Know” – state-mandated material – does not recognize the following conditions as possible side effects of an abortion procedure, investigators were told they could face depression, weight gain, anorexia, bulimia and/or suicide as a result of an induced abortion.[ix]
- Taxpayer-funded CPC’s are controversial:
- One center stated that from the moment of conception the embryo is a child – "a fully formed person.”[x]
- A woman was shown pictures of a fetus while a "counselor” explained that the fetus had a heart beat and was beating at the moment. (The woman had not yet taken a pregnancy test).
- One center asked the woman to imagine "putting a vacuum up there” and asked her, "Doesn’t that seem like it would cause damage?”[xi]
- 100% of the CPCs visited told an investigator that, as a result of an abortion, she would have to answer to her relationship with God.
- One center told an investigator that a woman was built to have children—it would be unnatural to terminate a pregnancy because a woman’s purpose is to bear children[xii].
[v] July 13, 2009
[x] July 13, 2009
[xi] July 15, 2009
[xii] July15, 2009