The University of Chicago wants women to have complete control over their reproductive choices, unless they choose to visit a crisis pregnancy center.
In an “abortion guide” released June 6, college officials claim crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) misrepresent themselves and offer false information. The guide is designed to promote “reproductive justice,” achieved when women have complete control over their reproductive choices.
“Equal access to all pregnancy options is critical for individuals and the measure of such access should be considered through a reproductive justice framework,” the document states. But because CPCs do not offer abortion as a crisis pregnancy option, the guide presents them as a confusing abortion obstacle rather than another source of reliable pregnancy information.
Pro-life advocates say the school’s tactic is predictable, based on its bias in favor of abortion.
“Crisis pregnancy centers display a perfect example of what a women’s health center is,” said Emily Zender, executive director of Illinois Right to Life (IRTL). “The abortion industry’s only avenue is to try to discredit them anyway they can.”
Lee Hasselbacher, policy coordinator for the university’s Section of Family Planning and Contraceptive Research, told conservative website The College Fix the guide’s CPC information was written for health and social service providers after a woman has opted for abortion. The guide cites a 2006 study commissioned by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., which claimed 87 percent of CPCs provide misleading information about themselves. The presence of CPCs in Illinois causes confusion and delays for women who want abortions, the guide claims. But Hasselbacher also told The College Fixthat it’s meant as a resource for “providing unbiased, non-directive all-options counseling.”
Though intended for healthcare and social service providers, the guide is easily accessible to anyone, including university students. In Illinois, more than half of abortions in 2011 were performed on women aged 20 to 29. Jack Nuelle, president of University of Chicago Students for Life, told The College Fixthe university’s website doesn’t provide pro-life options for students. Zender said the easily accessible abortion guide would only give the abortion industry credibility in the minds of vulnerable students.
“The abortion guide shows that they’re really misguiding students in order to progress a political agenda,” she said.
The false claims about CPCs aren’t the only misinformation provided in the guide, Zender noted in a post on IRTL’s website. The guide calls abortion one the safest and most common medical procedures. But a 2011 study conducted by The Chicago Tribune revealed nearly 4,000 abortion complications in 2009 were missing the required description in mandatory reports.
“Women are intelligent, dignified, analytical persons,” Zender said. “We deserve to be provided with accurate information that is void of a political or monetary agenda.”