May 27, 2015 — The California Assembly on Tuesday voted 49-26 to approve a bill (AB 775) that aims to protect women from receiving certain misleading information from crisis pregnancy centers, Reuters reports.
The bill, which is supported by state Attorney General Kamala Harris (D), now heads to the state Senate for consideration, according to Allison Ruff, aide to Assembly member and bill co-author Autumn Burke (D) (Dobuzinskis, Reuters, 5/26).
The bill comes after an undercover investigation by NARAL Pro-Choice California found that CPCs provide pregnant women with misleading and false information (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/4).
There are about 200 CPCs in California (Reuters, 5/26). However, many of them are not licensed to provide medical care. The centers often operate through private funding, while some receive federal funding that has been set aside for abstinence programs.
The measure, which was introduced by Assembly members David Chiu (D) and Burke, aims to expand protections in a 2011 San Francisco ordinance (212-11) that bars CPCs from disseminating misleading information.
The proposed legislation would require licensed facilities that provide services related to pregnancy and family planning to let women know about how and where they could access affordable and timely abortion, contraception and prenatal care services.
Further, the bill would mandate that unlicensed facilities that provide pregnancy- and family planning-related services inform patients that the facility is not licensed and that they have no staff members who are licensed providers. Such facilities would be required to disseminate a notice to patients at the facility and in any digital or print advertising materials stating, "This facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services" (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/4).
Burke said, "Women in California deserve to know about all of their options about family planning and reproductive health care so that they can make truly informed decisions."
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D), a former director of women's health clinics, said, "This is about protecting the health and safety of women, it's not about trampling on religious beliefs" (Nirappil, AP/U-T San Diego, 5/26).
Meanwhile, Sandra Palacios -- associate director of the California Catholic Conference, which opposes the legislation -- said CCC would support an effort to pursue litigation against the measure if it becomes law (Reuters, 5/26).