Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) have introduced, today, the “Stop Deceptive Advertising in Women’s Services Act” (SDAWS) which would, according to a release from Maloney’s office, “crack down on clinics which advertise themselves as providers of abortion services yet don’t provide abortion services.”
It’s a scarily necessary law considering how many crisis pregnancy centers, centers that do not, for the most part, provide actual medical services, hide their outright opposition to the full range of women’s legal, health care options. Instead, these centers tend to rely on tricking women who seek options counseling and real health care by using phrases in advertising, and outreach tactics that mirror that of authentic providers.
“New York City has seen firsthand how crisis pregnancy centers deliberately confuse women by establishing themselves near legitimate reproductive health care centers. These fake clinics have opened in close proximity to our Brooklyn and Bronx centers, misleading clients seeking the unbiased care that Planned Parenthood provides. Planned Parenthood knows that women are completely capable of making the best decision for themselves and their families – without coercion, intimidation or lies. We provide our patients with a full range of medically accurate information about our services, as well as comprehensive unbiased counseling on all pregnancy options, including carrying a pregnancy to term, adoption, and abortion. As health care providers you need to be honest with your patients. Fake clinics are not honest. They are not health care providers and they need to stop pretending to be,” said Joan Malin, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City.
SDAWS would ensure truth in advertising – a concept to which any and all other business and organizations must adhere. The act prohibits any person from advertising with the “intent to deceptively create the impression that such person is a provider of abortion services if such person does not provide abortion services.”
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“Although I may disagree with their views, many crisis pregnancy centers are forthright and respectful. Unfortunately, some take a more underhanded approach to lure in women seeking abortions by using tactics that should be illegal,” Representative Maloney said. “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.”
The bill has 11 cosponsors in the House. You can read the full text here.