Abortion Clinics Deceive Patients, Critics Say

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Abortion clinics deceive their patients into thinking abortion has no lasting harmful effects, and should be prosecuted by state attorneys general under the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, a post-abortion research and education group told CNSNews.com.

"No business, least of all a medical practice, is legally allowed to mislead customers. But this is exactly what the abortion industry is doing," said David Reardon, Ph.D., director of the Springfield, Ill.-based Elliot Institute, a non-profit organization that engages in post-abortion research and education, in an interview with CNSNews.com.

Riordan is spearheading an effort to collect complaints against abortion clinics from women he claims were not given complete and accurate information about abortion's risks. Launching a program called Expose Deceptive Abortion Practices, Riordan is working with crisis pregnancy centers, post abortion counseling groups and pro-life groups to gather evidence that will compel attorneys general to prosecute abortion clinics under typical consumer trade practices.

"Hopefully the attorney generals will start looking into the long string of malpractice complaints of women being hurt in these clinics, but even setting that aside, there's clearly lack of full disclosure and omission of material fact on the part of abortion clinics," Riordan said.

"You don't have to show this is intentional, but just that there's a likelihood of misunderstanding or confusion on the part of the customer, and I think that clearly there's more than a likelihood that women cannot understand all of the risks involved," Riordan added.

Many factors indicate women are more likely to have physical or psychological problems because of past abortions, Riordan said. A family with a prior history of breast cancer is highly predictive of increased risk of breast cancer after an abortion. Feeling coerced into unwanted abortion or having moral beliefs against abortion is very predictive of psychological problems after an abortion, Riordan said.

"And women are not being told these things," he said.

Fair trade protection laws are already in place to protect consumers, but these laws simply are not being applied against the politically-protected abortion industry, Riordan said.

"Abortion clinics sell abortion just like a consumer product. Therefore they are subject to both private lawsuits and prosecution by the state under existing consumer laws. Any false promise, misrepresentation, concealment or omission of material fact is against the law," Riordan said.

The Elliot Institute has prepared a brochure describing the project, which includes a survey to collect preliminary data about what information was denied to each woman. Women who fill out the surveys may later be asked to make a formal complaint to the attorney general, which may be done anonymously.

"When we have lined up a hundred or more complaints in each state, we will work with groups in that state to coordinate complaints to their attorney general's office," Riordan said. "This will be followed by press conferences and other measures intended to push the attorney general to aggressively defend the rights of the women who are being deceived and injured by the abortion industry."

Abortion rights advocates maintain that keeping abortion legal is the best way to regulate the procedure and ultimately to protect the health of women receiving them. Claims that abortion increases the risk of developing breast cancer and endangers future childbearing are not supported by medical research or established medical organizations, NARAL, a national abortion rights group, told CNSNews.com.

The most important effect of the legalization of abortion on public health has been the near elimination of deaths from the procedure, NARAL reports.