CPA warns of sham pregnancy agencies

  • Joanne McCarthy

A number of disingenuous pregnancy counselling services try to manipulate vulnerable pregnant women into making decisions, according to the Crisis Pregnancy Agency (CPA).

The agency is launching a campaign to highlight the manipulative tactics used by such agencies and to promote the availability of free, non-judgemental State-funded crisis pregnancy services.

“The agency is aware of the existence of organisations that provide services which can involve a hidden agenda and who attempt to manipulate the decision a woman might make. The agency is strongly encouraging women to use services that provide high-quality counseling,” said Katharine Bulbulia, chairperson of the agency.

A newly redeveloped website, Positiveoptions.ie, has been launched by the CPA. On it, a dedicated section highlights the tactics used by agencies with a hidden agenda.

The website advises women to be wary of agencies that require them to wait a long time before giving them appointments, agencies that insist on meeting them in a public place such as a hotel or a car park, agencies that delay in giving women pregnancy test results, or agencies that show inappropriate images or videos as part of a counselling session, which are designed to influence a woman’s decision.

These agencies claim to be unbiased but are instead designed to stop women from getting abortions. Some of them expose women to upsetting and graphic images of late-term abortions or give false information about health issues.

The campaign was announced at the launch of the CPA’s annual report for 2008 yesterday. “The agency has, since its inception, made significant progress in addressing an issue which we now know affects one in every five women aged 18 to 34,” said Health Minister Mary Harney.

The Minister noted a 31% decrease in the number of women travelling from Ireland to the UK for abortion since the establishment of the agency, a 20% decrease in the number and rate of births to teenagers, and a 46% decrease in the number of teenagers travelling from Ireland to the UK for abortions.


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