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October 5, 2012

NARAL Pro-Choice America Applauds Ruling in Court Challenge to San Francisco Crisis Pregnancy Center Ordinance

Takes One Step Closer to Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services

Washington, DC – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, hailed yesterday’s  court decision to dismiss several complaints brought by anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) against San Francisco’s new truth-in-advertising ordinances.  

Recent investigations by NARAL Pro-Choice America and its state affiliates, along with a congressional study, have revealed that many CPCs provide medically inaccurate information and engage in false advertising to lure women into their centers. CPCs often advertise as if they provide abortion services or referrals, when in fact they are centers created to dissuade women from exercising their right to choose.

“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. “A majority of crisis pregnancy centers purport to give comprehensive reproductive-health information, but instead, volunteers at CPCs often deprive women of the information necessary to make an informed decision about their health-care options. Even though Americans may have differences of opinion on abortion, we should all agree that a woman should not be misled or manipulated when she’s facing an unintended pregnancy."

In 2011, NARAL Pro-Choice California worked tirelessly with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to pass an ordinance the holds CPC’s accountable to truth-in-advertising standards. It requires all CPCs to be truthful about the limited nature of the services they provide for women seeking information about pregnancy, emergency contraception, prenatal care, and abortion services. The court decision is particularly significant given that similar pro-choice ordinances in other states have suffered legal setbacks. The court, however, did allow two other claims to move forward. 

“I am grateful for the work of our Board of Supervisors who stood up for women’s health, and I am hopeful that the court will uphold this ordinance and fully acknowledge the harmful practices many CPCs engage in, and the dangerous consequences such practices have on women’s health,” said Amy Everitt, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice California.

The CPCs’ misleading and false advertising practices are garnering attention across the country. Local governments have passed laws requiring CPCs to inform women of the services they do not provide. Local leaders were spurred to action in Baltimore and Montgomery county, MD; Austin, TX, and New York after NARAL affiliates published reports showing that many CPCs were misleading women in their communities.

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