May 4, 2015 — The California Assembly Judiciary Committee last week approved a bill (AB 775) that aims to protect women from receiving certain misleading information from crisis pregnancy centers, according to a column in the Los Angeles Times' "California Journal" (Abcarian, "California Journal," Los Angeles Times, 4/30).
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, 4/15).
There are about 160 CPCs in California, many of which are not licensed to provide medical care, according to "California Journal." The centers often operate through private funding, while some receive federal funding that has been set aside for abstinence programs ("California Journal, Los Angeles Times, 5/1).
The measure, which was 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.
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, 4/15).
Assembly member Donald Wagner (R) spoke out against the bill, suggesting that everyone in California already knows that "abortion is available."
Meanwhile, Chiu said that California "has a compelling interest to make sure all pregnant women have timely access to healthcare ... whether prenatal care or an abortion." He added that the measure "does not require referrals to abortion clinics, does not provide a preference over one kind of clinic or another, and it doesn't discriminate on the basis of viewpoint or religion" ("California Journal," Los Angeles Times, 5/1).