Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced a bill yesterday that would regulate the misleading advertising practices of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). The Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act (see PDF) would require the Federal Trade Commission to create and enforce rules to prohibit CPCs' deceptive advertising practices, such as advertising under the term "abortion services." The act expressly defines abortion services to mean "providing surgical and non-surgical procedures to terminate a pregnancy, or providing referrals for such procedures."
Maloney first introduced the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act in 2006. The current bill has 11 co-sponsors in the House. On the state and local levels, similar laws have been referred to as "truth in advertising laws."
According to a 2007 press release, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Henry Waxman (D-CA) conducted an investigation of CPCs in 2006. This investigation found that CPCs mislead their clients because those who sought counsel were told that abortions could lead to mental illness, breast cancer, and infertility.
"An unintended pregnancy is an especially difficult time to encounter deception, and deceptive practices should be outlawed. Women shouldn't have to face the added stress of deciphering whether or not the clinic they choose offers legitimate medical services," Maloney said yesterday in a press release.
Currently, there are an estimated 3,500 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: Congresswoman Maloney Press Release 6/1/2007, 6/30/2010; Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/9/10
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. . . .