Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Baltimore Cracks Down on Anti-Abortion "Crisis Pregnancy Centers"
Feminist Wire Daily Newsbriefs (Ms. Magazine): Baltimore Passes First City Regulation of CPCs:
On Monday, Baltimore became the first city in the country to require crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to post signs disclosing that they do not offer referrals for or information about abortion and contraception. The Limited Service Pregnancy Center Disclaimers Bill passed by a 12-3 vote of the Baltimore City Council and will now move to the the desk of Mayor Sheila Dixon. WBZ reports that the Mayor is expected to sign the bill, and that it will go into effect 30 days after receiving her signature.
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.
Salon.com: Fess up, faux women's clinics!, by Tracy Clark-Flory:
A Baltimore measure requires crisis pregnancy centers to cop to their ban on abortion and birth control referrals
Under legislation approved Monday night by Baltimore's city council, crisis pregnancy centers that do not offer referrals for abortion or birth control would be required to post signs saying as much. It seems like such a reasonable plea for transparency! After all, these types of centers are infamous for engaging in religiously- and politically-motivated deception of pregnant women -- and yet, if the city's mayor signs the measure, it will be the very first law of its kind in the U.S.
Time and again, we've written about how crisis pregnancy centers masquerade as legitimate healthcare facilities and target young, poor and minority women by offering free pregnancy tests and counseling. In reality, these centers, which are often staffed by unqualified volunteers, provide medical misinformation as a means of coercing women into going through with a pregnancy and, in some cases, to give the baby up for adoption (to a good Christian family, natch). Some clinics have been found to delay pregnancy test results so they can first subject patients to graphic anti-abortion imagery and propaganda.