The purpose of this report is to critique Joyce Arthur’s recent 2016 report called Review of Crisis Pregnancy Centre Websites in Canada. In June 2016, Arthur made a presentation to the BC Humanist Association regarding this report.
Further back, in 2009, Arthur wrote another report called Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in BC. The title gives the reader a clue as to what Arthur’s view is of crisis pregnancy centres: she spends a lot of time unfairly and obsessively discrediting them.
It is unfortunate that there is a continual need to counter Arthur’s allegations about crisis pregnancy centres, but I believe it is necessary to do so. The “truth” as Arthur sees it, is harmful to these centres, not only because what she says is distorted and false, but also because there are writers, news outlets, government-funded organizations, and others, who refer to her work as if it were accurate and credible.
I bring the reader’s attention to the title of Arthur’s current 2016 report, Review of Crisis Pregnancy Centre Websites in Canada. One would assume that a “review” of websites would be quite limited, since what a website says or doesn’t say, provides a very limited picture of what an organization does.
However a quick look at Arthur’s observations and conclusions would astound the reader that so much can be gleaned from a website.
In any event, I hope to provide the reader with a more accurate, evidence-based perspective to Arthur’s flawed and disingenuous work.
Last year, Joyce Arthur presented her latest study on crisis pregnancy centres Review of Crisis Pregnancy Centre Websites in Canada to the BC Humanist Association. This 2016 study is Arthur’s latest work disparaging and trashing crisis pregnancy centres, this time by reviewing CPC websites.
A question I have asked myself more than a few times is, why does Arthur hate crisis pregnancy centres so much? Why does she feel compelled, even obsessed, with attacking these groups? She tells us it’s because she believes that crisis pregnancy centres lie to women; that they mislead women; that they pretend to be fake clinics.
But none of this is true. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop her from her relentless damaging attacks.
So what is the real reason Arthur continues to spread untruths about CPCs? It’s that CPCs won’t refer women for abortions. Which is ironic, since a woman in Canada doesn’t require a referral to have an abortion. All of Arthur’s writings about CPCs seem to be her way of being vindictive towards those who don’t share her abortion beliefs. Therefore CPCs must be persecuted.
It seems Arthur doesn’t want women to become informed about the other choices from CPCs and that, after learning about these other choices, women might choose not to have an abortion.
Simply put, Arthur wants CPCs to cease operating. She is doing everything she can to that end. CPCs are targeted by Arthur and other abortion advocates on a continual relentless basis; they have become their target of choice.
But there is one thing I must honestly thank Joyce Arthur for as I read her writings on CPCs. If she didn’t spend so much time trashing them, I would probably never have known about the wonderful work they do. And I mean wonderful. Like Arthur, I have learned a lot by reviewing CPC websites and from talking to the people who work at these centres. But unlike Arthur, nothing I learned remotely resembles Arthur’s false allegations about these places. The help and support they give women in unexpected pregnancy situations is truly amazing. I thank God that these centres do exist.
In her current report, Arthur only reviews the websites of CPCs; she conducted no in-person visits or examinations of their counselling practices:
“An important caveat of this study is that we examined only the websites of CPCs, which may not necessarily reflect their practices or counselling when they speak to clients in person or on the phone.” (Page 6 of Arthur’s 2016 report)
Arthur tells us there were 166 crisis pregnancy centres reviewed, with 100 unique websites for those centres. She tells us her “study” consisted of a review of these 100 websites, and “a few phone calls.” All of her allegations are based on these reviews of the websites and not on actual use of or visits to CPCs.
Something you won’t glean from Arthur’s study is the kinds of work CPCs do. Here is a partial list of a few of the services CPCs offer women:
- pregnancy tests
- information on all pregnancy-related options
- peer counselling and advocacy
- practical support services including maternity/baby clothes
- accommodation search assistance
- referrals to community services
- prenatal classes
- parenting classes
- life skills classes
- adoption support (pre & post)
- post abortion grief recovery
In other words, anyone who is capable of looking objectively at CPCs can easily see the good work they do.
Arthur’s current “study” was researched using 20 volunteers. She believes the study will “add to the body of knowledge” on CPCs. (She said this to the BC Humanist Association). She also told the BCHA that she hopes to submit her latest “study” to a scientific journal and that her study was done in a
“scientific way.” Even though she said, “None of us are scientists, well maybe one or two of us are,” and that her “research was not done through an academic institution or formally peer-reviewed. It was entirely unfunded and done on a volunteer basis.” (Source: Page 31 of Arthur’s 2016 report)
We ignore Arthur’s CPC writings to our own peril. I understand why someone would want to ignore these writings since they are replete with misinformation. The problem is that Arthur’s writings are out there on the Internet for everyone to read, and the danger is that people may believe that what they are reading is the truth. Organizations refer to Arthur’s 2009 report assuming it is credible.
For instance, one of the Quebec articles Arthur references in her latest report, makes extensive reference back to Arthur’s 2009 report. And this Quebec report received funding from the Department of Health and Social Services of Quebec. In other words, the Quebec government funded research that uses Arthur’s “research” as something credible. This is cause for concern.
So it’s important to shine the light of truth onto the false allegations in Arthur’s writings.
I reviewed all the websites listed in Arthur’s Appendix 1.
Arthur begins with incorrect or fudged numbers. She identifies 56 Birthright CPCs in her 180 CPCs. There are actually only 26 Birthright centres in Canada. I confirmed this by contacting Birthright. I must assume Arthur did not contact Birthright since she erroneously believes that there are more than double the number of Birthright centres that actually exist in Canada. (Source: Page 8 of Arthur’s 2016 report).
Not very “scientific”.
Here are the actual Birthright centres in Canada:
Lethbridge, AB; Delta, BC; Vancouver, BC; Victoria, BC; Fredericton, NB; Moncton, NB; Halifax, NS; Barrie, ON; Belleville, ON; Brampton, ON; Brantford, ON; Concord, ON; Hamilton, ON; Kingston, ON; Kitchener, ON; London, ON; Milton, ON; Mississauga, ON; Orangeville, ON; Ottawa, ON; Sudbury, ON; Toronto, ON; Windsor, ON; Charlottetown, PE; Drummondville, QC; Regina, SK.
I also corresponded with the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services. CAPSS is the national best practice association for member CPCs and has 67 centres. Arthur states there are 60 CAPSS CPCs in Canada. (Source: Page 27 of Arthur’s 2016 report)
With Birthright having 30 centres less than Arthur states, and CAPSS having 7 more than Arthur states, a more correct number of CPCs in Canada would be closer to 157 and not 180 as Arthur misinforms her readers (180-30+7=157).
An error on Arthur’s part? A deception on Arthur’s part? In any event this means that Arthur’s facts, figures and percentages in her conclusions are also incorrect.
Tomorrow: THE CRUX OF THE MATTER