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NYC Mandates Increased Disclosure for Crisis Pregnancy Centers

NYC Mandates Increased Disclosure for Crisis Pregnancy Centers

In a ground-breaking bill passed by the New York City Council, crisis pregnancy centers will be required to disclose whether or not they provide abortion services. The bill is targeted at those clinics run by anti-abortion groups who use the facilities to attempt to convince women not to terminate their pregnancies. They will now have to make clear whether they are actually abortion clinics. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign the bill into law.

Pro-choice advocates have called the bill a consumer protection measure. “There are people out there presenting themselves as medical offices, deceiving women, giving misinformation,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The centers often operate by opening near abortion clinics and pretending to provide referrals, while using propaganda to convince women that having abortion is an unhealthy or immoral choice. The legislation also ensures that women who visit clinics will have their information remain private, a basic freedom that is sometimes violated.

The fate of the bill may, however, be uncertain; a similar ordinance enacted in Baltimore was declared unconstitutional in January. A court challenge is expected from opponents who say that the bill inhibits free speech.

Chris Slattery, the president of EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers, which operates 12 crisis pregnancy centers in New York City, said that the women who seek help in his centers are not deceived.  He says that his group protects women from what they call the “Abortion Capital of America.”

The government should not, however, endorse these groups’ right to intimidate women with impunity. They can continue to function under this law, but must be clear with women that they do not offer abortion services, so that women are aware, when they walk in, that they may experience pro-life rhetoric. This will save countless women stress and trauma when making a decision that should be theirs, and theirs alone.

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47 comments

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7:28PM PST on Mar 8, 2011

Susanne R brings up a good point, we should not have to 'force' anyone of these places to be clear and truthful about what services they offer. It is unfortunate that these centers cannot do the right thing thing on their own, especially since so many of those involved are all about doing what is 'right'.

9:35PM PST on Mar 6, 2011

Although Esmeralda was pretty harsh on pregnant women in her comment, it's perfectly valid to object to non-medically-necessary abortion if you believe an unborn child has the same right to life as a born one. While I'm firmly pro-choice, I recognize that abortion kills a living human being. I just believe that a woman's right to control her own body (relative to anything physically connected to that body) is a more important thing. But I understand how others could believe differently - they just have differing priorities.

When two rights conflict, one has to give way. And I think abortion is usually not a clear right or wrong situation - I just consider it to be the lesser of two evils. The only time I see it move outside of that gray area is when the mother's life or health is in jeopardy - then it becomes a clear case of self-defense, which is always utterly justified.

9:02PM PST on Mar 6, 2011

Oh Esmeralda what a thing to say. So do you think a woman should die because she got knocked up? Do you think a baby who will be born and live a few hours in torment should have to struggle and die any way because it's mother got knocked up. Give yourself a break from your emotions and use your head for a few minutes before you push this business that a child is a punishment for a woman having a sex whether she wants it or not. There are millions of sad hungry children all over the world already go and help one before you drag another one into the world.

4:26PM PST on Mar 6, 2011

It has nothing to do with religion! an abortion is an abortion and should not be allowed...It's not a child's fault that the mother decided to get knocked up I mean why should they pay the consequences of the parents

9:36AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

A Solution to Abortion: Care2 petition

Abortions affect everyone involved. They are the result of a pregnant woman wishing she was not pregnant to the point that she is willing to end the pregnancy.

While I totally appreciate China's birth control policy, I believe it could be gentler.

I believe our children should be neutered before puberty with a procedure that could be reversed when the child has completed high school, two years of service (in any capacity) to their community, comprehensive parenting training, and acquired an income that would pay for the reversal and support the family. In this way, there would be virtually no unwanted pregnancies. No teenaged moms. No welfare babies. No unwanted babies. No abortions. People would not have unplanned pregnancies before they are able to make intelligent choices about it and support the results. Babies would be precious because they would be more rare. Population control would be easy for the individual. Babies would be cared for.

My petition, available on Care2: Please search and sign if you agree: A Solution to Abortion.

12:26AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

These women should have the right to know if they are going to be poisoned by pseudoChristian rhetoric.

11:05PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

It's a pity that they had to be "forced" to disclose such information! In other words, it's their intent to deceive. I think the GOP and their religious right fanatics need to limit their ministrations to those who specifically seek them. Since they have to be deceitful to attract customers, I'm going to assume they don't have any.

Take the hint: Don't call us, we'll call you! And if you want to hold your breath while waiting, well...

10:41PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Stop the GOP Taliban! We are letting religious fanatics take over our country and our lives!

3:51PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

If it keeps the murderers and screamers away from the doors of a clinic where a woman goes for help. Full disclosure.

3:06PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

@Cherie - You weren't given an alternative? You had treatment in the 1980s? Were you living under a rock? Women's clinics had been around since the 60s and had come a long way by the 1908s. You knew what your 'choices' were, or you wouldn't have been in the clinic to begin with. Let's talk about a friend of mine, who was raped by a family member in the 60s. Her mother, a Catholic, made her go to a facility where they took unwed mothers and she was forced to carry and deliver that child. She was 14, barely a baby herself!

About 5 years ago that child appeared in my friend's life, out of the blue. We have no idea how she found my friend. She was angry and threatening to my friend who is a kind, caring individual. This girl actually had the nerve to accuse my friend about lying about being raped! I wanted to straighten this girl out myself, out my friend wouldn't have any of it. The story doesn't get any prettier, I can tell you! Other events happened that were so offensive my friend almost had a breakdown over it. Saddest thing, if the girl had given my friend time to adjust, she would have found a completely different outcome.

So, Cherie, when you get on your high horse and criticize access to these services, you do so from a very one-sided opinion. There are many more equally convincing arguments for a woman's freedom to choose what's right for her, so that an already sad event in a young girl's life isn't made even more so!

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