San Francisco Attacks Crisis Pregnancy Centers

After the disappointing news that a New York judge had blocked a city law that was intended to force crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to accurately advertise their services, it’s heartening to see that another city is creating measures to force CPCs to be honest with their clients about the services they provide.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed a bill which makes it illegal for CPCs to advertise falsely about their pregnancy-related services. Dennis Herrera, the San Francisco city attorney, has also written to First Resort, a local CPC, asking them to correct ads which imply that the center provides abortion services or referrals.

Crisis pregnancy centers are facilities that appear to offer advice to pregnant women about all of their options, including abortion.  But once inside, CPC staff use counseling, propaganda, guilt and shame to convince women that having an abortion is unsafe or morally wrong.  The centers often rely on false advertising to confuse or mislead women who are simply seeking more information.  For example, CPCs often look very much like reproductive health clinics, despite the fact that they do not have medical staff on site, they do not provide abortion access or referrals, and they do not have to follow patient confidentiality regulations.

First Resort, as Jessica Wakeman points out, comes up in a Google search if you type in “San Francisco abortion,” despite the fact that its statement of purpose declares that it is a Christian organization dedicated to an “abortion-free world.”  And, as Herrera observed, “nowhere on its website, print advertisements, or in the paid Google advertisement does First Resort state that it does not perform or refer clients for abortion services.”

A few other cities – including Baltimore and Austin – have taken steps to ensure that CPCs cannot deceive women while they are making the decision about how to proceed with their pregnancy.  After all, it’s just truth in advertising.

Related Stories:

No Signs for Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Only for Reproductive Health Clinics

South Dakota Pregnancy Centers Don’t Want to Be Forced to Counsel Women Who Want Abortions

NYC Mandates Increased Disclosures for Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Photo from Dave Fayram via flickr.

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Sylvia M.
Sylvia M.4 years ago

The judge who granted this injunction is William H. Pauley III, a federal district judge in the southern district of Manhatten. I am thinking that the city and Mayor Bloomberg, as well as Consumer Protection agencies, who were named as defendants, will appeal. It was noted in the Times that this judge appeared to have rendered his decision based on potential harm to the CPCs, which is astounding. It is a case of consumer protection-if you enter, the sign should advise what services are provided and which are NOT. There is nothing wrong with them not wanting to provide contraception or abortion, but they must DISCLOSE that that is their mission statement, so to speak. Or, hopefully on appeal it would be. Luckily for NYers, they are for the most part sophisticated and if they go in for abortion or contraception advice, and none is forthcoming, they will ask the questions they need to and leave. It is a disappointing decision because it is so strange! And he was a Clinton Appointee!!!! AND-HE WAS A JUDGE THAT SAID YES TO CONTINUED ROUNDING UP OF WILD MUSTANGS! There are some critiques from him by members of the Bar online and he seems to be a bit snarky and erratic. He lost me at the Mustangs!

Lilithe Magdalene

That's my City!!

Akin Adelakun
Akin Adelakun4 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Shannon R.
Shannnon R.4 years ago

"After all these years I can't believe this group is still allowed to harangue women. Cripes, give it a rest! They worry about the fetus, but once it is born, they neglect the child. They (GOP) have cut funding to child care, clinics, school lunches, pell grants, etc. Where's the love for that fetus once it needs social and economic services?"

Yvette, I gave you a star for this. Apparently, in GOP-speak, 'pro-life' ends at birth. *roll eyes* To be honest, sometimes I think some of them want to 'punish' women for sexual behavior they don't approve of...'she got pregnant without being married, she shouldn't get any help from us.' What about The Baby? Oops, it's already born, so who cares? *roll eyes again* Such is life in some people's brains. :(

I'd better leave before I roll my eyes so many times they freeze that way, like my mom used to say. :)

Winn Adams
Winn Adams4 years ago

San Francisco I applaud you!

Aurolyn L.
Aurolyn L.4 years ago

I'd like to know what Richard Zane means by "extremists on either side". I've yet to hear of radical feminists bombing a CDC or shooting a doctor who refuses to perform abortions.

Yvette S.
Past Member 4 years ago

Amanda M. your comment "New York, you took the chickens#$t approach and let them keep getting away with this garbage-BOO ON YOU!" was uncalled for.

Not everyone can take on such an experience and recover as you obviously feel you would have. I marched, was arrested and released, and went back out to march in San Francisco in the late 60's early 70's..and with the assistance of a whole lot of very strong women marching all over the country we changed the laws only to watch Roe vs Wade become something so taken for granted to the next generation of women it has come under the same ideology attacks as before.

Women don't let your children grow up to be passive about their rights, the rights of their bodies, and always reach out with compassion to anyone who had to make the difficult, emotional, and soul searching choice abortion was the best thing to do for whatever circumstances.

While the right to choose is absolutely the only way for women to live comfortably in their own skin, making such a choice is still pretty hard at the time, and deserves respect. No one flippantly decides, and no one should.

Richard Zane Smith

isn't it the extremists on either side that makes this issue impossible to talk about
without accusations? and stereotyped profiles?

Is someone who believes the fetus is a humanbeing a bad person?
does their "heartfelt belief" make them a "rightwing fanatic?"

Is one who believes the fetus in NOT a person an evil person?
does their conviction make them a "cold hearted leftwinger"?

I keep hoping some day there will actually be some healthy dialogue
but i suppose we aren't quite there yet.

Sharon H.
Sharon H.4 years ago

I'm not from San Francisco, but have been there many times...starting back in the 60's when Haight-Ashbury was THE place to be, so this comes as no surprise. What a beautiful, welcoming city is it and this just makes it even better......
And Dawid seems that you only signed up here to come th sites like this as say the exact thing over and over....which is a bunch of crap! And, I see your only friend is someone with the last name of KOCH. Perhaps you are being paid by them to do just what you're doing...

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.4 years ago

I love my San Francisco.