On Friday, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced legislation that would allow the government to investigate crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that falsely advertise abortion services. The "Stop Deceptive Advertising For Women's Services Act," introduced in both the House and the Senate, would allow the Federal Trade Commission to investigate reports of CPCs advertising as providing abortion care without offering any such services just as any other consumer complaint. The bill would not affect CPCs that accurately advertise as not providing abortion services.
Maloney and Menendez were joined by cosponsors Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in announcing the bill. In a released statement, Maloney said, "Deception has no place when a woman is seeking information about her health or a pregnancy. Women shouldn't be deliberately misled or coerced when they seek legitimate medical services... While I will defend crisis centers' First Amendment rights even though I disagree with their view of abortion, those that practice bait-and-switch should be held accountable so that pregnant women are not deceived at an extremely vulnerable time in their lives." Menendez echoed her sentiments, "We have worked too hard to expand the availability of women's health care services to have any confusion created by those who would deliberately deceive a woman to suit their own purposes. I am proud to be an original sponsor of this legislation that is aimed at reducing the risk of women encountering unnecessary worry, anxiety and interference with getting the health care they need."
Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, are often owned and operated by churches or anti-abortion groups that pose as legitimate health centers in an attempt to trick pregnant women seeking abortion care. CPCs will provide medically inaccurate information and convey religious beliefs in an attempt to convince women to carry their pregnancies to term. To learn more about CPCs visit the Choices Campus Leadership Program's Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics.
Media Resources: The Hill 5/20/2013; ThinkProgress 5/20/2013; Statement of Frank Lautenberg 5/17/2013