Who’s Zoomin’ Who? Rules for Crisis Pregnancy Centers Not Ok, But Compelling False Speech in Abortion Care Is?


There seems to be no end to the double-speak and hypocrisy ladled out by the far right. 

And like a disallusioned individual, the entire far right movement continues to be in complete denial about the contradictions inherent in their actions. 

Take the most recent example of a new suit against a law regulating crisis pregnancy centers.

As Robin reported on RH Reality Check today, the Archdiocese of Baltimore is suing the City of Baltimore to overturn the new law requiring crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to state clearly and publicly that they do not provide abortion or birth control services.

According to the Baltimore Sun, The Archdiocese “filed a federal lawsuit against the city Monday, saying a first-in-the-nation ordinance regulating pregnancy counseling centers violates the rights of church members to freedom of speech and religion.”

Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien said the law, which took effect in January, “is hurting the good people volunteering and giving so much of their resources to come to the help of pregnant women.” It requires the centers, some of which are supported by the Catholic Church, to post signs stating that they do not refer women for abortion or birth control.

Hmmmm….

First of all, CPCs don’t offer either contraceptive care or abortion care so there shouldn’t be any problem in having them state those realities publicly.  Right?

Second, they not only don’t offer them, they actively mislead people in providing information about them.  It is one thing to say, when asked, “Hey….we don’t offer those services…to get them you have to go to XXX.”  It is another altogether to provide mis-information on both of those services in a purposeful effort to persuade women to accept your own ideological position on what that woman should do about her pregnancy or her efforts to prevent a future pregnancy.  CPCs are built on ideology, not evidence.  You can learn more about them here, here, here, here, here, and here.

But here’s what I find most interesting. The law suit brought by the Archdiocese charges that Baltimore’s CPC law is an infringement of free speech, freedom of religion and requires compelled speech.

Really?  And they are upset about this? 

I find this very, very strange! Because the anti-choice movement in the United States has been whistling while it works assiduously to pass laws in state after state restricting the freedom and compelling the speech–and the actions–of medical doctors, nurses, and clinic personnel in regard to the medically safe, legal procedure called abortion. 

For example, thanks to anti-choicers, both medical professionals and women in states throughout the country are compelled to speak and act by laws perpetuating unnecessary practices and downright false information.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, 17 states now mandate that women be given counseling before an abortion that includes information on at least one of the following: the purported link between abortion and breast cancer (6 states now require this; no proven link), the ability of a fetus to feel pain (9 states; no medical evidence in support of “fetal pain” in the first trimester when almost 90 percent of abortions occur; no evidence of “fetal pain” in the second trimester when 9 percent of abortions occur; “fetal pain” may occur in the 3rd trimester, but late abortions represent 1 percent of all abortions and happen when only in life and death situations), long-term mental health consequences for women of abortion (7 states; no medical or social science evidence to support these claims) or information on the availability of ultrasound (8 states). 

At least 16 states have laws related to ultrasounds, some requiring they be performed and others requiring a woman be told where she can get a free ultrasound.  There is no medical evidence for this practice.

In addition, according to Guttmacher, 24 states require a woman seeking an abortion to wait a specified period of time, usually 24 hours, between when she receives counseling and the procedure is performed.  Six of these states have laws that effectively require the woman make two separate trips to the clinic to obtain the procedure.  There is not only no medical evidence for this action, but in fact, these actions treat women like they’ve had a lobotomy and can’t be trusted to have made the decision about what to do about an unintended and unwanted pregnancy without being forced to “think about it.”  (Hint: We think about it a lot before we go.)  All these laws do is to compel women to spend more money and more time to have a procedure they know they want, and to do so even later than they otherwise might.

So to sum up.  Forcing medical professionals to perform and forcing women to comply with unnecessary and costly counseling and “medical” procedures; forcing women to endure unnecessary waiting periods, and suffer through medically inaccurate and/or outright false information not to mention other restrictions is ok.  Treating women of all ages as juveniles is also ok.

Requiring CPCs to provide accurate truth-in-advertising about the legal services it does not provide to avoid ensnaring women into a system that will lie to them is not ok?

Who’s compelling who?

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Follow Jodi Jacobson on twitter: @jljacobson

  • crowepps

    Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien said the law, which took effect in January, “is hurting the good people volunteering and giving so much of their resources to come to the help of pregnant women.” It requires the centers, some of which are supported by the Catholic Church, to post signs stating that they do not refer women for abortion or birth control.

    How does it “hurt the good people volunteering” to have a sign up stating explicitely exactly what they believe to the truth?  I’ve heard the old saw that “the truth hurts” but it’s hard to see how in this particular instance.

  • invalid-0

    Just speaking from the perspective of someone who works at these types of facilities, we don’t mind saying we don’t do it at much as being forced to tell them where they can do it.  To the mind of a pro-lifer, that’s borderline aiding and abetting a murder.  (Yes, I know you don’t see it that way, but we do.)

     

    I don’t think the comparison to the other laws is necessarily fair in that sense.  I see the point, but you have to remember that pro-abortion people don’t consider ultrasounds “morally reprehensible” – it doesn’t violate their conscience.  As for the fetal pain, breast cancer link, depression, etc., both sides disagree there, so I guess we’ll see you on the floor of the state legislature for that battle.

     

    Generally speaking though, I can admit that you’re onto something here.  I think it’s fair to call us out to the extent that pro-lifers are hypocritical on this issue.  Note my distinctions above, though.  I propose that it is NOT hypocritical for those reasons – but the point of your article holds water.

  • crowepps

    The text of the law is available at the link below. It does NOT ‘force’ any crisis pregnancy center personnel to provide a referral to a full-service agency, EVER. It merely requires them to post a SIGN saying that they do NOT “provide or make referral for abortion or birth control services”.

     

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:aggzADVbiMsJ:mdfamilies.org/cb09-0406FINAL.pdf+baltimore+pregnancy+disclaimers&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiDkiAGCvUfW1ARY_tG3tq2Iwx_Fa_syKbUqZrqzfdxJ13p3ZQwSoOR8zC1wGZu0YbYf_a-Mkjpy1WsVLgQSBD1XPwnFO4N3jt5ZUohzeD5BN-7IT5Yte89XmotWx_9Oi7YvK5O&sig=AHIEtbRw0z-_UIIH48jdXVNx6L1NcCiACA

     

    pro-abortion people

    What ‘pro-abortion people’? I don’t know anyone who is promoting or demanding mandatory abortion.

    As for the fetal pain, breast cancer link, depression, etc., both sides disagree there, so I guess we’ll see you on the floor of the state legislature for that battle.

    The appropriate place for that ‘battle’ is not at the state legislature but rather in the scientific research, which not provide any evidence to support any of those beliefs.  With sufficient campaign contributions, you can get the state legislature to pass a law saying the moon is made of cheese; that doesn’t change the actual facts.

  • jodi-jacobson

    The issue of referrals is beside the point.  We already know the law (erroneously) allows CPCs to opt out of this.  The issue is factual accuracy in what you do and do not offer.

     

    But as far as whether we “disagree” on the links between abortion and breast cancer, depression, etc…

     

    As Rachel Maddow recently said (to paraphrase): “It’s not about whether you and I disagree.  It’s about the facts: You can look it up.” 

     

    There are no scientifically valid data or any studies to support your claims, which underscores how essential it is that CPCs be required to disclose their agenda.

  • airina

    Pro-choicers (not pro-abortion people: pro-choicers believe in the full range of reproductive choice, not just one option) do actually consider emotionally pressuring women into making one decision or another regarding their pregnancy and forcing women to do things against their will (like viewing ultrasounds: like having to have transvaginal ultrasounds if it would “display the embryo or fetus more clearly,” (http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/04/25/new-oklahoma-law-forces-women-to-view-ultrasounds ) even if the patient is a rape victim) to be morally reprehensible.

  • oidale

    Thats there choide… some peer pressure may affect the situation. http://oidale.wordpress.com/

  • catseye71352

    At the very least, they are bald-faced liars. Liars are NOT “good people.”

  • grayduck

    This article is absurdly disingenuous and intellectually dishonest. As I have shown on a couple of occasions, the law is blatantly unconstitutional. Nobody can be forced to help someone kill a baby any more than they can be forced to help him or her kill his or her mother.

  • crowepps

    The law says they must post a sign saying that they did NOT provide information about or refer clients for abortion, which is the truth.

     

    How is a sign that says “we will not be forced to help you kill a baby” force them to kill a baby?  By making those who enter wary and enabling them to flee before the propaganda can take effect?

  • prochoiceferret

    This article is absurdly disingenuous and intellectually dishonest. As I have shown on a couple of occasions, the law is blatantly unconstitutional.

    Please provide evidence for these assertions.

    Nobody can be forced to help someone kill a baby any more than they can be forced to help him or her kill his or her mother.

    Yeah. But nobody’s killing babies or mothers (other than criminals, of course), so that’s kind of a moot point.