In a major victory for women wanting to take charge of their reproductive health, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon signed the Limited-Service Pregnancy Disclaimers Bill into Baltimore law. The bill, introduced by City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and co-sponsored by ten other council members, ensures that women who enter Baltimore area Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) hoping to find access to birth control, information about a potential pregnancy, or referrals to abortion providers will be immediately informed if those services are not available.
Prior to the passing of this legislation, a woman who visited a crisis pregnancy center may not receive the assistance she is seeking. CPCs were not mandated to disclose their limited services, including, in many cases, their lack of support for birth control, their belief that abortion causes breast cancer, or their refusal to refer a patient to a clinic that could terminate a pregnancy. With the passage of the Limited-Service Pregnancy Center Disclaimer bill, CPCs will now need to provide that information up front to their clients.
Among others applauding the bills passage is Jennifer Blasdell, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland
“This law will empower women by giving them full information up front about what to expect from a limited service pregnancy center. This provision does not ask a facility to provide any services they find objectionable, but only asks them to tell the truth about the nature of their services.
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Baltimore City is the first local jurisdiction in the United States to introduce a bill regulating limited service pregnancy centers and the first government in the country to pass a law.