Blog Post

New Bill Targets Crisis Pregnancy Centers

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist In the latest round of attacks on the valuable work of crisis pregnancy centers, two liberal lawmakers have introduced legislation aimed at restricting their speech by regulating their advertising. CNSNews.com is reporting that Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) have reintroduced legislation that will direct the Federal Trade Commission to restrict advertising by crisis pregnancy centers, specifically those ads that “create the impression that such person is a provider of abortion services if such person does not provide abortion services.”   Known as the “Stop Deceptive Advertising in Women’s Services Act,” which was first introduced in 2007, is itself deceptive, say critics, because what it actually does is limit the access women have to organizations that provide alternatives to abortion, including adoption services and free parenting support, such as housing, job training, and parenting classes.   “This bill is not at all what it sounds like,” said Joe Young, vice president of Heartbeat International, an association of 1,100 pregnancy-help centers, maternity homes, non-profit adoption agencies, medical clinics and abortion recovery programs in 50 countries. “Without any financial gain, Heartbeat International affiliates offer alternatives to abortion, providing the emotional support and practical help needed to sustain a healthy pregnancy,” Young said in a statement about the proposed law. “The pregnancy help movement is dedicated to protecting women, protecting maternal health and protecting child well-being.” The problem for the abortion industry is that unlike their clinics which offer few options other than abortion, crisis pregnancy centers like Heartbeat International provide a much more comprehensive list of alternatives, including vital information about the risks of abortion. However, pro-abortion groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America claim some of the centers' ads "mislead women into believing that they provide a full range of reproductive-health services. They do so by using questionable advertising tactics and providing dishonest or evasive answers when women call to inquire about their services.”    Opponents of the proposed new law say the bottom line is that giving women more choices often results in lost business to the abortion industry.   “Pregnancy centers are reducing the number of abortion sales, and this aggravates the abortion industry,” said Young.  “A more accurate name for this bill might be ‘Stop Alternatives to Abortion Advertising to Pay Back the Abortion Industry Act.’”    But pro-abortion Rep. Maloney insists there is a need for the  “Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act.” “Although I may disagree with their views, many crisis pregnancy centers are forthright and respectful," she said in a press release. "Unfortunately, some take a more underhanded approach to lure in women seeking abortions by using tactics that should be illegal." “This legislation would simply help ensure truth in advertising related to reproductive health services. Women’s reproductive health choices are very personal decisions, and they should never be influenced by deception or pressure.”   While pro-abortion groups such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood are backing the bill, crisis pregnancy centers are preparing to fight it. Care Net, another large network of pregnancy centers, said the new law was “just another attempt to shut down the competition.”  “Care Net pregnancy centers are consistently and thoroughly trained on proper and effective advertising practices. Deception is simply inconsistent with our Christian principles of honesty and integrity,” said Care Net President Melinda Delahoyde.   “What's happening is that pregnancy centers have become an integral part of a community's support network for women and children,” Delahoyde said. “With such holistic support available, women are empowered to choose abortion alternatives and the abortion industry simply doesn't like losing business." © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

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