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July 1, 2010

NARAL Pro-Choice America Praises Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act

Rep. Carolyn Maloney's legislation aimed at stopping false advertising comes as leading pro-choice group takes on deceptive online anti-abortion ads

Washington, DC – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) for reintroducing legislation that would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to protect women from anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that use deceptive advertising practices.

Recent investigations by NARAL Pro-Choice America and its state affiliates, along with a congressional study, have revealed that most CPCs are not regulated and engage in false advertising. CPCs often advertise as if they provide abortion services or counseling, when in fact they are centers created to dissuade women from exercising their right to choose. Under the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act, the FTC could penalize organizations that engage in these practices.

"We applaud Rep. Maloney's leadership in making sure women are not misled about their health-care options," Keenan said. "It's time for Congress to step in and hold these fake 'clinics' accountable. Even though we may have differences of opinion on abortion, Americans value honesty in advertising. We should all agree that a woman should not be misled or manipulated when she's facing an unintended pregnancy."

Rep. Maloney's bill comes as Keenan's organization has collected more 63,387 signatures on a petition targeting two major online information sites, and The letter calls on the sites to enforce their policies against misleading advertising practices. CPCs are using the sites to advertise under "abortion services," even though they don't offer this medical care and are not honest about their opposition to legal abortion.

"It is fine for groups that oppose abortion to advertise, but they shouldn't be allowed to advertise services they don't provide," Keenan said.

The CPCs' misleading and false advertising practices are garnering attention across the country. The city councils of Baltimore, Maryland and Austin, Texas have passed ordinances requiring CPCs to inform women of the services they don't provide. Local leaders took this action after NARAL affiliates published reports showing how CPCs were misleading women in their communities.

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