On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 to approve a city ordinance that would prevent crisis pregnancy centers from spreading false or misleading advertisements about their facilities. The ordinance requires that crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) display signs indicating whether they offer comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortions and contraception, and whether a licensed medical professional is on staff.
The ordinance is designed to ensure that patients are given a more comprehensive range of options in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. Supervisor Malia Cohen, chief sponsor of the ordinance, stated that it will “protect consumers of pregnancy-related services by prohibiting limited-service pregnancy centers from knowingly disseminating false or misleading advertising information about the services they provide.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the mayor has 10 days to veto the legislation.
Currently, there are an estimated 3,500 CPCs nationwide, most of which are affiliated with one or more national umbrella organizations. CPCs often pose as comprehensive health centers and offer “free” pregnancy tests. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and do not offer women neutral or comprehensive medical advice. Often CPCs are run by anti-abortion zealots who are not licensed medical professionals.
San Francisco Chronicle 10/19/11; National Partnership for Women & Families 10/20/11