WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has introduced a bill aimed at marginalizing Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), which serve women facing unexpected pregnancies with counseling and factual information about parenthood, adoption and abortion. CPCs also offer practical support for women who choose to parent, such as baby equipment, formula, diapers and clothing.
H.R. 2030, which Maloney named the “Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act,” orders the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create regulations restricting CPCs’ advertising practices. The wording of the bill is minimal, leaving the details to be hammered out by the bureaucracy at a later date.
The congresswoman alleges that CPC advertisements claiming to offer information about abortion are misleading because CPCs do not provide or refer for abortions. They also give information about abortion that can be discouraging to abortion-minded women, such as information on fetal development; information about post-abortion trauma; and the physical risks of abortion including infertility, infections, increased risk for breast cancer, and even death.
“Crisis Pregnancy Centers … pose as sources of unbiased pregnancy counseling, using deceptive propaganda to dissuade women from considering comprehensive birth-control options or legal abortion,” Maloney said as she introduced the bill. “Fake reproductive health clinics entice women with unintended pregnancies through their doors under the pretense of providing the full range of reproductive options and services.”
Maloney’s bill would give broad powers to the FTC to create new regulations barring CPCs from advertising their abortion information services, and enforce those regulations with penalties and fines, even in the case of non-profit CPCs that provide pregnancy-related services for free.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood all back Maloney’s bill.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said she is “thrilled that Rep. Maloney is acting to hold these fake ‘clinics’ accountable.”
National Abortion Federation president Vicki Saporta claimed that CPCs “have a long history of intentionally misleading women to prevent them from accessing abortion care.”
Planned Parenthood, the U.S.’s largest abortion provider, has been aggressive in trying to shut down CPCs, which they call “fake clinics run by people who are anti-abortion.”
Recently, Planned Parenthood of Oregon introduced a bill that would require CPCs in the state to post highly visible notices at clinic entrances and on websites and advertisements stating explicitly that abortions and contraceptives are not provided by the clinic.
Similar city laws in Baltimore and New York City have been struck down in federal courts as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.
Maloney’s bill currently has fourteen cosponsors, all Democrats. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.