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Contraception. 2014 Dec;90(6):601-5. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2014.07.003. Epub 2014 Jul 12.

Crisis pregnancy center websites: Information, misinformation and disinformation.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. Electronic address: amy_bryant@med.unc.edu.
2
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.
3
Department of Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Most states with 24-h waiting periods prior to abortion provide state resource directories to women seeking abortion. Our objective was to evaluate the information on abortion provided on the websites of crisis pregnancy centers listed in these resource directories.

STUDY DESIGN:

We performed a survey of the websites of crisis pregnancy centers referenced in state resource directories for pregnant women. We searched for these state-provided resource directories online. We contacted state Departments of Health and Human Services for a print copy when a directory could not be found online. The crisis pregnancy center websites were evaluated for the information provided on abortion. Standardized data collection tools were used. Descriptive statistics were generated.

RESULTS:

Resource directories of 12 states were procured. A total of 254 websites referring to 348 crisis pregnancy centers were identified. Overall, a total of 203/254 [80%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 75%-84%] of websites provided at least one false or misleading piece of information. The most common misleading or false information included on the websites were a declared link between abortion and mental health risks (122/254 sites; 48%, 95% CI 42%-54%), preterm birth (54/254; 21%, 95% CI 17%-27%), breast cancer (51/254; 20%, 95% CI 16%-25%) and future infertility (32/254; 13%, 95% CI 9%-17%).

CONCLUSION:

Most crisis pregnancy centers listed in state resource directories for pregnant women provide misleading or false information regarding the risks of abortion. States should not list agencies that provide inaccurate information as resources in their directories.

KEYWORDS:

Abortion; Abortion restrictions; Crisis pregnancy center; Misinformation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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