City of Austin Passes Crisis Pregnancy Center Ordinance

In a unanimous vote by the city council on Thursday, the city of Austin, Texas will now require so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to post signs that say they do not offer abortion services or referrals to those that provide them.

The Austin American Statesman reports:

Pregnancy centers that don’t offer or refer clients to abortion services or birth control services will now have to say that on signs posted at their facilities, the Austin City Council decided in a unanimous vote this morning.

Council Member Bill Spelman proposed the idea because he said it can be unclear to visitors to the centers what services they offer. The centers are not medical clinics and typically offer adoption counseling, pregnancy tests and financial assistance to women with unplanned pregnancies, but not other services, Spelman said.

Spelman told the Statesman that violations of the law will be treated as merely a code violation, with possible “fines of up to $450 per offense.”

Austin is the second city to require such notices. The city of Baltimore passed such an ordinance last December. (For those curious what the required signs in Baltimore look like, an image of them can be seen here.) Many think that the ordinances have become necessary due to the misleading practices of many crisis pregnancy centers which have, in documented cases, mislead women into thinking they provide medical services and often provide outright incorrect information about abortion and birth control.

As a 2009 report by NARAL Pro-Choice Texas points out, CPCs are not required to have a licensed physician on staff at all times, nor are subject to inspection by the Texas Department of State and Health Services. Since they are staffed mostly by volunteers and not trained medical staff, CPCs also do not have to keep strict patient consent and confidentiality requirements (except for those in Texas receiving money from the federal Temporary Assistance of Needy Families program).

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  • truth

    Let’s take some time to thank all the women and (some) men who are helping women in their time of need. Unlike the abortion clinics around the world who kill and then hand the women “the pill” to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The volunteers at the CPCs around the country and worldwide are truly looking out for the individual woman’s best interests physically, mentally and spiritually. For example, post-abortive care for an abortion providing clinic is simply to hand them contraceptives and tell them to make sure and not forget to take their daily dose. Call us if you have any bleeding, etc. The CPC’s offer real healing for post-abortive woman because they understand (since many of them are post-abortive) what it FEELs like after you kill your own child trying to grow within your womb. They are also better counselors pre-abortion because they themselves have experienced being in the similar situation(s). The CPC volunteers that aren’t post-abortive themselves are highly trained individuals and provide hope for the woman thinking about abortion. They truly care for these women by helping them to tap into the vast array people who give of their time and talent to help women care for their children. They also refer to adoption agencies.


    Cecile Richards and Co. are simply making money from killing children – a lot of money.

  • saltyc


    Nope, no thanks for lying. It’s just not justified, if they were doing something good, why not be up front about it: “Call us if you want to be talked out of having an abortion.”

    That’s really all they do, they don’t give women real material support. And their lies are vicious, harmful and well-documented.


    Well, why not be honest, “Truth?”


    PS it’s not killing, it’s just not creating. Not giving someone money is not the same as robbing them. Not giving birth is not the same as killing.

  • crowepps

    Now that you’ve explained that CPCs function as anti-abortion counseling centers staffed by women who want to alleviate their own guilt for having an abortion by controlling the decisions of others, I am even more convinced that those signs are absolutely necessary.


    Individuals “highly trained” in counseling do not enter a counseling relationship with an agenda.

  • ack

    Considering the vast array of experiences with abortion, I don’t think saying, “I became suicidal, so you will, too,” is good counseling.

    “the vast array people who give of their time and talent to help women care for their children.”

    Please tell me where this network exists. 47k children just lost their healthcare in my state’s most recent budget. Programs for children with disabilities were slashed. Childcare subsidies were reduced, leaving thousands of families with no safe place to leave their children while they go to work. I’m sure that everyone affected by those cuts would be eager to utilize the resources you mentioned.

  • kanga

    What bothers me a lot is these folks dupe women at a vulnerable time.  The women fill out forms with all of their personal information and IT IS NOT PROTECTED in any way according to the HIPPAA laws.  Women have testified that they were told they were NOT pregnant at these so called clinics when they actually were.

  • wendy-banks

    Get out the hip boots– The crap’s gettin’ mighty deep! *LMAO* @Truth

  • squirrely-girl

    The women fill out forms with all of their personal information and IT IS NOT PROTECTED in any way according to the HIPPAA laws.”


    You make a really great point here – I have one experience through a friend of a friend who went to one of these clinics for the free pregnancy test. Turns out she was pregnant. She hadn’t made a decision either way at this point but then a couple of days later she started receiving phone calls from somewhat random people she knew only superficially who had “been told” she was pregnant (she hadn’t told anybody else yet). These new “friends” proceeded to guilt-trip/harass her NONSTOP until she changed her phone number. 


    REAL clinics and REAL counselors would face REAL charges for this type of behavior. 

  • clara-princess

    Someone mentioned somewhere else that most of CPCs are Christian and thus must follow the 10 Commandments. One of which is “Do not lie.” so these places have been sinning for a long time now and this legislation allows them to repent.

    Why is that such a bad thing? The sign isn’t even that bad. It doesn’t say things like “We don’t kill babies but we do kill women by refusing to give them care they need and want.” Chill out.