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Saskatoon

:
Unit 3, 844-51st St. East
Saskatoon, SK S7K 5C7
Tel (306) 975-4725
Toll free (888) 844-8886
Fax (306) 975-4728
maurice.vellacott.c1@parl.gc.ca


Ottawa:
Suite 610, Justice Bldg.
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Tel (613) 992-1899
Fax (613) 992-3085
Maurice.vellacott@parl.gc.ca
www.mauricevellacott.ca

HOUSE OF COMMONS
CANADA

Maurice Vellacott, MP
Saskatoon-Wanuskewin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Vellacott‟s exposé of CTV‟s so-called “investigation” of
crisis pregnancy centres
1


January 26, 2012, Ottawa – A Member of Parliament and founding board member of a crisis
pregnancy centre in Saskatoon is concerned that CTV‘s ‗investigative reporting‘
i
on crisis pregnancy
centres in BC may be in violation of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Code of Ethics, to the
ultimate detriment of vulnerable pregnant women.
―It is CTV‘s duty, as a Canadian broadcaster, to treat fairly all sides of a controversial issue,‖ said
Maurice Vellacott, MP for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin. ―It is no secret that abortion is a controversial
issue. Relying almost exclusively on views espoused by abortion providers and abortion advocacy
organizations for a story about pregnancy options is like relying solely on the views espoused by
tobacco companies and smokers‘ rights groups for a story about whether to take up smoking or not,‖
said Vellacott.
―It‘s especially concerning in this case because it seems CTV‘s so-called ‗investigation‘ may have
been triggered by abortion advocates who have been intent on harming the reputation of the crisis
pregnancy centres for years,‖ Vellacott added.
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council‘s Code of Ethics states that ―the full, fair and proper
presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial is the prime and fundamental responsibility of
each broadcaster,‖ and ―Recognizing in a democracy the necessity of presenting all sides of a public
issue, it shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to treat fairly all subjects of a controversial
nature.‖ The code further states that ―news shall be represented with accuracy and without bias,‖ and
―shall not be selected for the purpose of furthering or hindering either side of any controversial
public issue...
ii

The CTV ―investigation‖ used hidden cameras and sent a CTV employee, posing as a pregnant
woman seeking advice about her options, to two crisis pregnancy centres in BC, one in Surrey and
one in Vancouver. The report gives the impression these centres mislead women by exaggerating the
health risks associated with abortion. The section on health risks focused almost entirely on some

1
Upon seeing CTV‘s ―investigative report,‖ Vellacott acting on his own initiative decided to investigate the
circumstances that led to it as part of his responsibility as a parliamentarian, to be certain that the broadcast
regulations are being followed properly. The crisis pregnancy centres themselves are completely non-political
and never become involved in any political campaigns or legislation.
comments made by a volunteer at the centre in Surrey which those who run the centre concede were
inaccurate.
iii


―It‘s of great concern when patients are given inaccurate information about the risks, harms and
benefits of any medical procedure and to the extent that CTV exposed ‗wrong information‘ it‘s to be
welcomed. But such exposés can‘t be one-sided. And you can‘t appreciate the extent of how one-
sided this report was until you know what CTV intentionally omitted from the report,‖ said
Vellacott.

―The report ignored the scientific literature referenced in the centres‘ brochures which substantiates
the centres‘ claims that abortion is associated with increased physical and psychological health
risks.
iv
The reporter was told that this brochure had been reviewed and approved by 25 professional
counsellors, physicians and medical researchers. None of this was mentioned in the CTV report.

―CTV also declined to interview physicians with expertise in the area of health risks associated with
abortion who had been willing to corroborate, on air, the claims made in the brochure.

―Furthermore, Dr. Dan Reilly, an obstetrician/gynaecologist who also teaches ethics at McMaster,
was interviewed by CTV and briefly appeared on the broadcast, but only his comments that
challenged the validity of some of the comments made by the Surrey centre volunteer were aired. Dr.
Reilly‘s written confirmation of the accuracy of the health risks described in the centre‘s brochure
was passed on to CTV, but those comments by Dr. Reilly never made it into CTV‘s report. Also left
out of CTV‘s report was the fact that the counsellor at the Vancouver centre received a complete
endorsement from Dr. Reilly that her comments were medically correct.

―CTV chose to air Dr. Wendy Norman‘s comments about abortion being ‗very safe,‘ neglecting to
tell the viewers that Dr. Norman is an abortion provider and researcher and ‗has practiced
exclusively in the area of abortion since 1997.‘
v
Her comments to CTV seem to be at odds with the
results of a study she herself co-authored which found that ―Postabortion infection after therapeutic
abortion, although uncommon, may have devastating consequences including infertility, ectopic
pregnancy, and pelvic pain syndrome.‖
vi
None of this was mentioned in the CTV report.
―CTV has an obligation ‗to treat fairly all subjects of a controversial nature,‘ according to the
CBSC‘s Code of Ethics. In light of what CTV chose to report and chose to withhold from the final
report that was aired, it is very clear the pregnancy centres were not treated fairly.‖
CTV went undercover to ―see for themselves‖ what kind of counselling women receive at the
pregnancy centres after ‗concerns‘ were expressed about a ‗hidden agenda‘ by Greg Smith, the
executive director of Options for Sexual Health (Opt), formerly known as Planned Parenthood of
BC. Smith told CTV that pregnant women weren‘t being given ―all the information they needed, but
only being given some of it.‖
vii

The crisis pregnancy centres give information about abortion to the women they counsel but do not
make abortion referrals. The two centres ―investigated‖ were very clear and forthright about this on
their website and in their brochure that they give to the women they counsel.

Options for Sexual Health (Opt), is a registered charity which in 2011 received $1,433,347 in
provincial government funding.
viii
The organization advocates for “readily accessible, readily
available, unrestricted and unlimited access to abortion for all women throughout British
Columbia” including “Classification of abortion as an „essential service‟; Increased abortion
provider availability; Protection of Access Zone legislation.”
ix


Vellacott wonders how much the CTV ―investigators‖ knew beforehand about Opt‘s advocacy work
against the pregnancy centres. ―Apparently Options for Sexual Health (Opt) is not satisfied with the
gross financial advantage they already have over the crisis pregnancy centres, with ¾ of this abortion
advocacy group‘s annual fundraising revenue coming from BC taxpayers. Opt also proclaims in its
annual report that it will advocate for the „Cessation of the use of public and United Way funds for
so-called “crisis pregnancy centres”‟ and the „Cessation of the designation of charitable status for
so-called “crisis pregnancy centres.”‟
x
(emphasis added). Was CTV aware of this?‖ Vellacott
asked.

In its 2011 Annual Report, Opt states that its commitment to the above-stated goals ―is consistent
with the mission of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC), who seek to ensure women‟s
reproductive freedom by protecting and advancing access to abortion and quality reproductive
health care. OPT also shares the goal of Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (CFSH) to support
a woman‟s individual right to choose and obtain an abortion. As a member of International Planned
Parenthood Federation (IPPF), CFSH works to ensure the elimination of unsafe abortions and to
increase the right of access to safe, legal abortions for all women.”
xi


ARCC‘s executive director, Joyce Arthur, authored a 2009 report entitled ―Exposing Crisis
Pregnancy Centres in British Columbia‖ for the now defunct Pro-Choice Action Network (Pro-
CAN). The report is the result of a research project Pro-CAN began in 2005 to ―expose‖ crisis
pregnancy centres – what the abortion-rights organization calls ―fake clinics.‖ The report says that
the goal of crisis pregnancy centres is ―to stop women from having abortions and to convert women
to Christianity.‖
xii


Pro-CAN received $27,400 for this project from Status of Women Canada when the federal Liberals
were in power, as revealed by an Access to Information Request. The purpose of Pro-CAN‘s
research, as described on its application for funding, was to: “publicly expose the anti-woman and
anti-feminist agenda of CPCs...and by doing so, work to mitigate discriminatory attitudes towards
women...work to promote institutional change by ensuring that health organizations such as
hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices do not inappropriately refer women to CPC's, and instead
have feminist-based alternatives to which they can refer women.”
xiii


―The abortion movement in Canada has been verbally abusing the crisis pregnancy centres for
years,‖ Vellacott said. ―Are we to believe that CTV knew nothing about Pro-CAN‘s campaign
against the centres, about Pro-CAN‘s links to ARCC, whose mission is consistent with that of
Options for Sexual Health, whose executive director‘s ‗concerns‘ over the crisis pregnancy centres‘
supposed ‗hidden agenda‘ apparently sparked CTV‘s undercover operation?

―It would be a great loss to vulnerable pregnant women if crisis pregnancy centres weren‘t around,‖
said Vellacott.

―I have heard countless stories of women who say that they were NOT given enough information
from abortion doctors or clinic staff to make a truly informed decision before they had their
abortions,‖ said Vellacott. ―They were not told about abortion‘s association with increased risk of
mental health problems, physical complications, and future pre-term birth.
xiv


―I hear from women who say they were not told about fetal development. They are not offered the
opportunity to view an ultrasound image of their baby.‖ When Canadians are informed about
prenatal development, 72% want protection for children at some point before birth, according to a
2011 Environics poll commissioned by LifeCanada.
xv
―So some pregnant women could certainly be
impacted by having such information,‖ said Vellacott.

―Not all, but certainly some women suffer greatly after an abortion because they were in a
vulnerable position, weren‘t given important information that could have impacted their decision,
weren‘t offered the compassion and support required to continue with their pregnancy, and so
resorted to the only ‗choice‘ they felt they could handle at the time. Crisis pregnancy centres offer a
much-needed service to pregnant women because the non-judgmental and caring staff give them
information and support that it seems the abortion-rights centres do not.

―For a woman who goes ahead and chooses abortion, at least she would have made that choice with
full knowledge of the implications of her decision. We have no right to withhold all this crucial
information from women; without it, a woman cannot make a truly free choice.

―A few comments made by a single volunteer at one centre clearly do not constitute enough
evidence to negate all the other wonderful work done at these centres.

―Why isn‘t CTV investigating the so-called ―pro-choice‖ counselling centres and abortion clinics
and finding out exactly what they are doing to ensure women are properly informed before
undergoing a procedure that can never be undone and may have negative repercussions for a long
time afterwards?‖ asked Vellacott.

Vellacott suggested that a proper investigation should take into consideration the scientific research.
One study for example, by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, found that women
who had abortions had a much higher rate of hospitalization within a 3-month period following the
abortion than a matching group of women who had not had abortions.
xvi


The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan acknowledged the health risks associated
with abortion and outlined the requirements for informed consent in its ―unplanned pregnancy‖
guideline released last year.
xvii


Vellacott also referred to the legal requirements for informed consent, pointing to judgments of the
Supreme Court of Canada
xviii
and BC‘s health care consent legislation.
xix
―There‘s a high standard of
disclosure in this country,‖ said Vellacott, ―and it‘s based on what a reasonable person would want
to know, not what the doctor thinks the patient should know.



―Did Dr. Wendy Norman share with CTV‘s reporter the informed consent form she gets her patients
to sign and whatever other information she gives her patients before they undergo an abortion? If so,
the information was not shared with the viewers. And how are women counselled and supported
before and after the abortion?

―What information and services do the Options for Sexual Health (Planned Parenthood) centres offer
to pregnant women? Is this so-called ‗pro-choice‘ agency willing to disclose how many abortion
referrals they make compared to how many adoption referrals?

―I‘m sure there are many, many Canadians who would like to see CTV do that investigation.

―The controversial nature of the abortion issue provides all the more incentive for due diligence on
the part of any ‗investigative report.‘ All Canadians are done a disservice when the media obtains the
bulk of its information from those with a goal to harm and disparage their opponents.

―But ultimately the greatest disservice is done to women—women who find themselves in a difficult
situation at a vulnerable time, who may have no one else to turn to. The pregnancy centres offer her
the compassion, support, and information to help her through what could be the most difficult
decision of her life, regardless of what choice she ends up making. And they will be there for her
afterwards if she is having difficulty recovering from abortion‘s aftermath.

―Besides, some women facing crisis pregnancies are pro-life themselves. These women have the
right to receive counselling from those who share their beliefs about preborn human life. If the only
pregnancy counsellors in existence are the so called ―pro-choice‖ ones, a pro-life woman would have
no freedom to choose a counsellor who shares her fundamental beliefs and is able to truly appreciate
what she is going through. That is not ‗pro-choice,‘ that is ‗no-choice.‘‖

Vellacott concluded, ―CTV aired a one-sided report that was notable more for what it intentionally
left out than what it included. The staff at CTV had the opportunity to present the truth. It is
disappointing that the final report portrays a false, negative image of crisis pregnancy centres in
general and missed or ignored the back story on those who have been campaigning for a long time to
shut them down and to deny thousands of women access to compassionate, supportive care in
difficult times.‖

– 30 –

For further comment, call (613) 992-1966 or (613) 297-2249
Research references on abortion and women’s health

Coleman PK. ―Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995 –
2009,‖ Brit J Psychiatry 2011; 199, 180–186.

Coleman, Priscilla K, ―A Critique of the Systematic Review On Induced Abortion and Mental Health
Released by the Royal College of Psychiatrists,‖ December 13, 2011
http://www.wecareexperts.org/sites/default/files/articles/Critique%20of%20Royal%20College%20Systematic
%20Review%20of%20Abortion%20and%20Mental%20Health%20Literature.pdf

Coleman, Priscilla K, ―Critique of the American Psychological Association Task Force Report Released
August 2008,
http://www.wecareexperts.org/sites/default/files/articles/Critique%20of%20American%20Psychological%20
Association%20Task%20Force%20Report%20on%20Abortion%20and%20Mental%20Health.pdf

Coleman, Priscilla K, ―A Serious Misrepresentation of the Relative Safety of Induced Abortion Compared to
Childbirth Published in a Leading Medical Journal‖
http://www.wecareexperts.org/sites/default/files/articles/Raymond%20&%20Grimes%20(2012)_Critique.pdf

Fergusson D.M., Horwood J.L., and Broden J.M. (2008) ―Abortion and mental health disorders:
Evidence from a 30-year longitudinal study.‖ The British Journal of Psychiatry 193: 444-451.

Moreau, Caroline; Kaminski, Monique; Ancel, Pierre Yves; Bouyer, Jean; Escande, Benoit; Thiriez, Gerard;
Boulot, Pierre; Fresson, Jeanne et al. (2005). ―Previous induced abortions and the risk of very preterm
delivery: results of the EPIPAGE study.‖ BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 112
(4): 430.

Shah, P. and Zao, J. (2009) ―Induced termination of pregnancy and low birthweight and preterm
birth: a
systematic review and meta-analyses.‖ British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 116:1425-1442.
Brind, J, ―Scientific developments relating to the effect of abortion on risk of future breast cancer,‖
Testimony presented by Dr. Joel Brind to the Select Committee on Science and Technology of the
United Kingdom Parliament.August 2007.
http://www.bcpinstitute.org/papers/ABCUKParliamenttestimony_2007.pdf
Lanfranchi, A, ―Normal breast physiology: The reasons hormonal contraceptives and induced abortion
increase breast-cancer risk,‖ The Linacre Quarterly 76(3) 236-249. August 2009.
http://www.bcpinstitute.org/papers/2009-Lanfranchi-LinacreQuarterly%5B1%5D.pdf

Ostbye T, Wenghofer EF, Woodward CA, Gold G, Craighead J. ―Health services utilization after induced
abortions in Ontario: a comparison between community clinics and hospitals,‖ Am J Med Qual
2001;16(3):99-106.

Ring-Cassidy, E. and Gentles, I. (2002) Women‟s Health After Abortion: The Medical and
Psychological Evidence. Toronto, ON: The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research.
http://www.deveber.org/womens-health-after-abortion
ENDNOTES


i
Aired on Jan 17:
http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120116/bc_ctv_investigates_pregnancy_options_1_120116/20120
117/?hub=BritishColumbiaHome
Aired on Jan 18:
http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120116/bc_ctv_investigates_pregnancy_options_2_120116/20120
118?hub=BritishColumbiaHome
Aired on Jan 20:
http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120116/bc_ctv_investigates_pregnancy_options_3_120116/20120
120/?hub=BritishColumbiaHome

ii
Code of Ethics, Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, http://www.cbsc.ca/english/codes/cabethics.php.

iii
The volunteer suggested infection after abortion was ―very, very common.‖ Although that is a genuine complication, it
seldom happens in Canadian, legal abortions.

iv
―Abortion, Adoption, Parenting: An informational guide for unplanned pregnancy‖ brochure, Canadian Association of
Pregnancy Support Services.

v
http://www.familymed.ubc.ca/department/researchoffice/Researchers.htm

vi
http://www.bcmj.org/article/antibiotic-prophylaxis-time-induced-abortion

vii
http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120116/bc_ctv_investigates_pregnancy_options_1_120116/2012
0117/?hub=BritishColumbiaHome

viii
2011 Registered Charity Information Return for Options for Sexual health
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/haip/srch/t3010form22-eng.action?b=107848269RR0001&e=2011-03-
31&n=OPTIONS+FOR+SEXUAL+HEALTH&r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cra-arc.gc.ca.

ix
Options for Sexual Health‘s Annual Report 2011, p. 15 (see
https://www.optionsforsexualhealth.org/sites/optionsforsexualhealth.org/files/annual_report_2010-11_dec_edit.pdf).

x
Ibid, p. 15.

xi
Ibid. P. 15.

xii
http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/Exposing-CPCs-in-BC.pdf , page 3.

xiii
―Status of Women Canada pays extreme group to discredit CPCs,‖ Patricia Maloney, April 5, 2010, http://run-with-
life.blogspot.com/2010/04/status-of-women-canada-pays-extreme.html.

xiv
See attached list of research references.

xv
―72% of Canadians want legal protections for the unborn: poll,‖ Patrick B. Craine, Oct. 28, 2011, LifeSiteNews,
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/72-of-canadians-want-legal-protections-for-the-unborn-poll/ .

xvi
Ostbye T, Wenghofer EF, Woodward CA, Gold G, Craighead J. Health services utilization after induced abortions in
Ontario: a comparison between community clinics and hospitals. Am J Med Qual 2001;16(3):99-106. This study found
that women who had hospital abortions had a more than four times the rate of hospitalizations for infections, a five times
higher rate of ―surgical events‖ and almost five times higher rate of hospitalizations for psychiatric problems than a
matching group who had not had abortions, within a 3-month period following the abortion.

xvii
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, ―Guideline: Unplanned Pregnancy.‖ The guideline states that
―Informed consent requires that the patient be provided with reasonably detailed information regarding....the known
immediate risks (i.e. uterine perforation, infection, hemorrhage) associated with the intervention and the known

incidence of risks, and the known long-term risks (impact on future fertility, incidence of future spontaneous abortions,
ectopic pregnancy and premature birth) and the known incidence of such risks, and the known psychological risks.‖
See also ―Saskatchewan doctors‘ regulator releases abortion guidelines‖ by Paul Tuns, March 9, 2011 at
http://www.theinterim.com/features/saskatchewan-doctors%E2%80%99-regulator-releases-abortion-guidelines/.

xviii
The Supreme Court of Canada in a major judgment on informed consent in said that a doctor has a duty to inform
patients of the risks that a reasonable person would want to know, not what the doctor thinks the patient should know.
(Reibl v. Hughes, [1980] 2 S.C.R. 880, http://scc.lexum.org/en/1980/1980scr2-880/1980scr2-880.html ). In a subsequent
case, the SCC said that the Reibl case marks ―the rejection of the paternalistic approach to determining how much
information should be given to patients. It emphasizes the patient's right to know and ensures that patients will have the
benefit of a high standard of disclosure.‖ (Arndt v. Smith, [1997] 2 S.C.R. 539 (http://scc.lexum.org/en/1997/1997scr2-
539/1997scr2-539.html).

xix
The BC‘s health care consent legislation says that informed consent requires all the ―information a reasonable person
would require to understand the proposed health care and make a decision about it, including information about: the
condition for which the health care is proposed; the nature of the proposed health care; the risks and benefits of the
health care that a reasonable person would expect to be told about, and any alternative courses of health care, including
the option of having no health care at all.‖ (See: http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/2000/a-primer-to-
british-columbias-new-health-care-consent-legislation.pdf ). The Canadian Bar Association says that the ―two main types
of medical malpractice are negligence and failure to get a patient‟s informed consent. And in some cases, the failure to
get informed consent may also be an assault.‖ (See: http://www.cba.org/bc/public_media/health/420.aspx.)