Roundup: New York to Push for CPC Disclosure Law


New York City council is meeting on Tuesday to consider putting a “truth in advertising” law in place for so-called crisis pregnancy centers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The City Council plans to unveil legislation Tuesday that would establish strict disclosure requirements for crisis-pregnancy centers, some of which, abortion-rights advocates charge, deceive women into believing they’re full-serve reproductive health facilities by masking their antiabortion agenda.

The legislation, backed by Speaker Christine Quinn, would require the centers to disclose to clients that they do not provide abortion services or contraceptive devices, or make referrals to organizations that do. Centers that don’t have licensed medical providers onsite would also have to disclose that information.

Under the bill, the centers would be required to hang disclosure signs in their offices and post statements on websites and in advertisements.

Council Member Jessica Lappin, the bill’s primary sponsor, said the legislation is imperative to protect women who go to crisis-pregnancy centers without realizing the operators’ mission is to counsel against abortion.

“These are anti-choice centers masquerading as health clinics,” said Ms. Lapin, a Manhattan Democrat. “Women who are scared and vulnerable and having a very tough decision to make have a right to factually accurate medical information, and the fact that these folks would purposely try to mislead them is not right.”

The council plans to put in place the same regulations on the CPCs that are occuring in other cities, like Baltimore, and expects that much like those other cities, the centers themselves will start lawsuits claiming that not being able to deceive women is infringing on their first amendment rights.

This move comes in the wake of a NARAL Pro-Choice New York study conducted that shows that CPCs use misleading tactics to attempt to talk women out of abortions.  From the New York Times:

A yearlong investigation by Naral Pro-Choice New York found that crisis pregnancy centers — in addition to the E.M.C. centers, there are at least four others in the city — feed women information that has been medically refuted (including an old standby, rejected by the National Cancer Institute, that abortions cause higher rates of breast cancer).

the vague signage, the E.M.C. centers’ intentional proximity to Planned Parenthood services, and some of the other centers’ more misleading Web sites can make for confusion. “I think they are deceiving women purposely,” [Councilwoman Christine] Quinn said. “But even if you yielded that they weren’t, given how potent the emotions, the politics, isn’t it just smart for us to know who provides what and who doesn’t?”

Some have even gone as far as to threaten and intimidate women out of having abortions, telling them things like “God will never forgive you.”  Via New York Magazine:

The subway ads featuring a dejected young woman with the words “Free abortion alternatives” in bold yellow writing always looked like pro-life propaganda to us, but women who find themselves pregnant without resources don’t have the luxury of being so dismissive. There’s a reason the word “free” gets the most emphasis.

Women interested in discussing abortion were told medically refuted data that abortions cause higher rates of breast cancer. Other lucky confused young women were treated to graphic images and told “God will never forgive you.”

Well, at least it was free, right?

Mini Roundup: Anti-choice are claiming that an allegedly “beaming” ultrasound of a 17-week fetus is a sign that abortion must end.   Others have simply dubbed it “LOLFetus.”

October 11, 2010

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