Deceit, By Any Other Name

I found last issue’s article about false clinics that purport to help women who are seeking information related to their sexual and reproductive rights or about specific abortion issues in the United States very interesting. In my case, as a provider of sexual and reproductive health services—including abortion services in the three cases allowed by the law of my country—I find that there are some places in my city that claim to help women with unwanted pregnancies by providing alternatives to abortion and offering psychological attention in moments of “crisis.” They provide non-scientific information regarding contraceptive methods and materials advocating against abortion; they give women brochures with raw and decontextualized images, and some of my patients have told me that, when making health-insurance requests for the voluntary interruption of pregnancy according to the stipulations of Colombian law, they have met with health professionals who confuse them or delay the medical process due to their own beliefs.

And do not forget the presence of antiabortion groups in front of the clinics and hospitals in the city that provide this service who approach women to give them false information, intimidate them, stigmatize them and attempt to persuade them to change their decision—all attempts to restrict their right to decide. I think that these anti-rights actions have a negative effect on women who require this service, because they are forced to resort to clandestine places or unsafe practices. It is a public-health problem that has to do with the stigma against abortion, and those involved in these deceptive practices should be investigated.

ANDRES DONCEL
Public Health Specialist, MSC Sexual and Reproductive Health
Bogotá, Colombia

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