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Calif. Lawmakers Propose Bill To Crack Down on Misinformation by Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Calif. Lawmakers Propose Bill To Crack Down on Misinformation by Crisis Pregnancy Centers

April 15 2015 — California lawmakers have introduced a bill (AB 775) that aims to ensure antiabortion-rights crisis pregnancy centers do not provide women with misleading information, the Bay City News reports.

The state Assembly Committee on Health held a hearing on the measure on Tuesday.

Background on CPCs

According to Bay City News, the bill comes after an undercover investigation by NARAL Pro-Choice California found that CPCs provide pregnant women with misleading and false information (Albarazi, Bay City News, 4/13). Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California and the NARAL Pro-Choice California Foundation, said the investigation found that 91% of the clinics visited for the investigation had volunteers "falsely link[ing] abortion to health problems such as breast cancer, the debunked 'post-abortion stress syndrome,' infertility and even death."

Further, the investigation found that volunteers at CPCs also advised women to delay their abortions and rarely referred women to physicians if they indicated signs of pregnancy complications. In addition, many of the centers used "shame, fear and humiliation to discourage women from exercising choice," according to Everitt (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/17).

Bill Details

According to the Bay City News, the bill, introduced by Assembly members David Chiu (D) and Autumn Burke (D), aims to expand protections in a 2011 San Francisco ordinance (212-11) that bars CPCs from disseminating misleading information.

Specifically, 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 (Bay City News, 4/13). Specifically, 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" (AB 775, 4/8).