CPC Truth in Advertising Bill introduced in WA
Two companion bills were introduced in the Washington state House and Senate yesterday that seek to institute truth in advertising laws for crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the state. If enacted, the bills would require CPCs to disclose that they do not provide information or referrals for abortion or birth control and that they do not provide medical care for pregnant women. It would also require confidentiality of health information gathered by CPCs and that all reproductive health information provided to women at CPCs be both scientifically and medically accurate, including immediate written notification of all pregnancy test results.
State Representative Judy Clibborn (D), who introduced the legislation in the state House, said "this isn't about burdening these centers. It is about establishing standards for transparency and accuracy for high-quality care." Clibborn's Senate counterpart Rodney Tom (D) said, "women deserve the most accurate information and guidance that can be provided...for example, pregnancy results that are immediately known should be immediately disclosed," reported NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.
There are an estimated 4,000 CPCs nationwide, most of which are affiliated with one or more national umbrella organizations. CPCs pose as legitimate health centers and offer "free" pregnancy tests and counseling. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and prevent women from receiving neutral and comprehensive medical advice. Many disseminate false information about both abortion and contraception, and they are typically run by anti-abortion volunteers who are not licensed medical professionals.
Baltimore became the first city in the US to have a "truth in advertising" law in December 2009. The Baltimore law requires (CPCs) to post signs disclosing that they do not offer referrals for or information about abortion and contraception. A similar bill is being considered in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Media Resources: NARAL Pro-Choice Washington 1/13/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/8/09