Abortion `counselling service' is front for pro-life group

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A NATIONAL abortion counselling service is discouraging young women from having terminations by showing them pro-life videos and giving them unsubstantiated medical facts, according to a magazine report.

An investigation in the North by The Big Issue has found that when women answered an advert in the Yellow Pages for free abortion advice and counselling, they were directed to a private house where they were handed a plastic model of a foetus and told that they were murdering their baby. They were also told that abortion leads to breast cancer and shown videos of terminations. Advisers also warned women that those who went through with an abortion could not bear to listen to the sucking noise of a vacuum cleaner afterwards.

The Addam's Women's Centres is believed to operate in Manchester, Leeds, Luton and London. Such groups do not have to register with the Department of Health because they do not carry out invasive medical treatment.

Abortion advisers are concerned that vulnerable women are being bullied by the centres, which claim that they persuade "50 per cent of the women we get in to change their minds".

Paul Brearley, from the South Manchester Private Clinic, said: "I have some disquiet about people who are leading [other] people by implication to believe that they are accessing a pregnancy advice bureau."

Amanda Callaghan, of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said the group relied on telling pregnant women that they were murderers to make their point. She said: "They use bogus medical or scientific information and scare the life out of women."

One of the magazine's undercover reporters was told that abortion caused breast cancer. "If you have one abortion your chance of getting breast cancer is about 30 per cent. If you have two the chances double, and if you have three, well, you might as well consider yourself dead." Links between cancer and abortion are not widely accepted by the medical profession.

A spokesman for the clinic denied that the adverts were misleading. "Our adverts say exactly what we provide," she said. "We give free advice and it's about abortion."