Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Why Joyce Arthur's "report" is harmful to BC CPCs

Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Because there are a lot of falsehoods out there.

For instance, Joyce Arthur's signature "report", Exposing Crisis Pregnancy centres in BC, is a good example of inaccuracies, deceptions and misinformation.

Yet surprisingly, there are actually people writing, who refer to this "research" as if it is a credible source of information.

Now Brian Norton from Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services (CAPSS) has written a rebuttal to Arthur's "report".

Norton begins his rebuttal:
The report makes numerous claims that are not based in fact or reality. The following are some blatant examples (before we discuss the most serious allegations).  
The report alleges the Birthright drop-in centre in Vernon, British Columbia, shows graphic videos to clients. “When women have gone to the local Birthright office, some have had to wait an hour and a half before being given a pregnancy test, during which time they were put into a room to watch anti-abortion videos like the ‘Silent Scream’” (p. 11).13 On doing a fact check with Birthright headquarters, I learned there is no Birthright in Vernon and there never has been.14  
The report continues: “[In Powell River the Prolife Society] … houses one of the fundamentalist Christian CPCs that uses high pressure techniques and is connected to the larger network of North American CPCs” (p. 11). There is in fact no CPC in Powell River and there never has been.15  
The report makes statements about other non-existent centres in BC (pp. 45-46).
16 One so-called CPC is a secular parenting support group. Another CPC is actually a Christian adoption agency.  
Another purported CPC is somebody’s home. For two other listed CPCs the premises do not exist.17

The report not only refers to non-existent pregnancy centres in our province, but everywhere. 
There are 117 CPCs in Canada.18 The report nearly doubles this to “about 200 CPCs” (p. 3). 

In the United States there are some 2,500 CPCs. 
19 According to an American CPC association, “Usually our opponents will use 3,000 locations which seems a purposeful overstatement.”20 The report rounds this up to “4,000” (p. 3).  
Regarding abortion clinics, The New York Times estimates there are some 1,800 US clinics.21

The report rounds this down to 800 (p. 3) sourcing the National Abortion Federation (p. 19).  
The NAF reference – footnoted in the report as “800 clinics” – actually says “2,000 clinics”.22  
Furthermore, the report is riddled with inaccurate ‘throwaway’ remarks.
23 (See footnote.)

Read Brian Norton's entire rebuttal to Arthur's damaging "report".

Norton identifies eight serious allegations in Arthur's report, along with 12 silly allegations. Norton did actual research in writing his rebuttal. And unlike Arthur, he didn't get $27,400 from the Status of Women to do it.

If Arthur wants to make things up, that's one thing. But when other people start referencing her "research" well that's another thing entirely. And that's the real problem with her harmful "report". Other people refer to it.

Here are a list of professional people and organizations who reference Arthur's work.

1) Dr. Sam Rowlands MB BS, MD, LLM, FRCGP, FFSRH, DRCOG (UK abortion rights advocate).

"Dr Sam Rowlands, Honorary Associate Professor at the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Warwick Medical School and organiser of this conference at the RSM, discussed the key sources of ‘misinformation’ that are popularised in relation to abortion. He outlined five claims: that abortion poses a risk to a woman’s life, to her mental health, or to her future fertility, that it carries an increased risk of breast cancer, and the preoccupation with ‘fetal pain’, and briefly debunked these claims by using solid research. 
The sources of such misinformation vary from websites to non-peer-reviewed journals, and are particularly troubling in relation to the biased or false information given directly to women by so-called ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centres’. Rowlands referred to a 2009 study by Joyce Arthur of such centres in a province of Canada as an example of how this misinformation process works through."

"A new study by the Pro-Choice Action Network finds that most agencies that counsel pregnant women are actually anti-abortion Christian ministries whose main goal is to stop women from having abortions. These centres are generally not medical facilities, and most of their "counsellors" are volunteers who are not medical professionals and have no recognized training in counselling. Some of these centres are called Crisis Pregnancy Centres or "CPCs", although many of them have different names. This research project on anti-abortion counseling centres in British Columbia, or "fake clinics," has been published, and is available."

3) Feminist Women's Health Center (from Wastington state). 

"Exposing CPCs in British Columbia, Canada - CPCs far outnumber abortion clinics. There are 4,000 CPCs in the United States, compared to about 800 abortion clinics. In Canada, there are about 200 CPCs and roughly 25 abortion clinics. In BC, there are about 30 CPCs and 6 abortion clinics."

4) On the University of Windsor website is a paper written by Jessica Shaw from the University of Calgary, called "Abortion as a Social Justice Issue in Contemporary Canada".

Shaw relies heavily on Arthur's other "research" for references, as well as Arthur's inaccurate "report" discussed here.
(And this is scary. The policy for submissions to this Critical Social Work Journal is supposedly peer reviewed: "The peer review process is double blind, in that the identity of authors and reviewers is not known to either party").

4) The UK (Education Financial Council). They refer to Arthur's misleading "report", saying:
"Widespread anecdotal evidence in the UK, and full-scale research reports from the United States, ireland and Canada, indicate that some CPCs do not provide impartial poignancy decision-making support and that many are formed with a specific anti-abortion agenda".

5) West Coast LEAF is an organization in BC "that uses the law to further women’s equality". They refer to Arthur's inaccurate "report":
"According to research conducted by the Pro-Choice Action Network, “crisis pregnancy
centres” (CPCs) “are actually anti-choice Christian ministries, often pretending to be
non-biased medical clinics or counselling centres. Their main goal is to stop women
from having abortions and to convert women to Christianity."

6) The CTV devoted a whole three part investigation, based on Arthur's faulty "report": Jan 7Jan18Jan 20You'd think at least CTV would check their facts before going undercover.

7) Finally, is the Status of Woman Canada, who funded Arthur's to write this defective report in the first place. With your tax dollars. Does anybody at the Status of Women actually check to see what they're funding  to see if it's accurate, before they dole out our money? It doesn't look like it.

For all those people who reference Arthur's report, it really doesn't do their pro-abortion cause any good. It just makes them look like they don't know what they're talking about. Or maybe they just can't get out of the way of their own ideology.

So what does Norton want? He would like Arthur to remove her sorry excuse for a "report" from the Internet. Let's hope she has the decency to do so.

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