License plates to fund N.C. anti-abortion groups

Oct. 23, 2011 at 5:52 PM
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RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Anti-abortion centers and groups in North Carolina will get funding from state-approved "Choose Life" license plates available later this year, officials said.

About 300 people already have signed up for the license plates costing $25 a year, with $15 designated for the anti-abortion centers, The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer reported Sunday.

The program comes amid allegations by abortion-rights advocates that anti-abortion centers are providing incorrect or misleading medical information and coercing vulnerable young women and teenagers to give birth.

A report by the National Abortion Rights Action League, a pro-choice group, found so-called crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina were misinforming and misleading women.

NARAL's report said a yearlong investigation discovered the majority of the centers in North Carolina had no medical professionals on staff and more than two-thirds provided distorted or false information about abortion risks and consequences, the newspaper said.

"Staff and volunteers often use propaganda to dissuade women from abortions," said Carey Pope, executive director of NARAL, Pro-Choice North Carolina.

NARAL's report said one Jewish researcher who posed as a pregnant woman was told at five centers she wouldn't go to heaven unless she converted to Christianity. One volunteer challenged the woman to become a "born-again virgin."

"We have no objection to a center that offers women who have decided to carry a pregnancy to term any help they like," Pope said. "But lines are crossed when the center is not up-front about its limited services or uses misinformation or intimidation or coercion."

North Carolina's network of anti-abortion clinics denies the allegations, saying it attempts to inform women and teenagers of their options without influencing them.

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