Austin Second City to Consider Truth in Advertising Law for CPCs
Austin, Texas, may soon become the second city in the nation to have a law mandating crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) post signs informing the public about their services. The "truth in advertising" law would require CPCs to post signs at the front door disclosing that they do not offer referrals for or information about abortion and contraception.
Austin City Council Member Bill Spelman, who proposed the ordinance on Friday, told the Statesman that "we are simply requiring limited service pregnancy centers to disclose what is factual and true about the services they offer." Sara Cleveland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas said, "we should all be able to agree with the ordinance's goals of truth in advertising. Lines are crossed when a CPC is not up front about its services, or when a center uses misinformation," reported RH Reality Check.
The ordinance would require the signs to say, "This center does not provide abortions or refer to abortion providers. This center does not provide or refer to providers of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved birth control drugs and medical devices," be posted in English and Spanish, and be 8 and a half inches by 11 inches. The ordinance will be considered by the city council on Thursday.
Baltimore became the first city to enact such a law in January 2010. The city of Baltimore is currently being sued by the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Archbishop Edwin O'Brien said in the Baltimore Sun that the ordinance violates the CPCs' First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion, and it "is hurting the good people volunteering and giving so much of their resources to come to the help of pregnant women."
Currently, there are an estimated 2,593 CPCs nationwide, most of which are affiliated with one or more national umbrella organizations. CPCs pose as legitimate health centers and offer "free" pregnancy tests. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and prevent women from receiving neutral and comprehensive medical advice. These clinics are typically run by anti-abortion volunteers who are not licensed medical professionals.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 3/31/10; Statesman 3/2/10; RH Reality Check 3/2/10; Baltimore Sun 3/30/10
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .