Woman of the Week

And she’s a New Yorker. I’m in love!
New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney has introduced legislation that would regulate the advertisement of “crisis pregnancy centers” that aim to convince pregnant women against having abortions.
The centers are all owned by anti-choicers, and use names and signs intended to look like Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. When the women arrive, the coercion begins. “Women I’ve talked to are just unbelievably shaken by it,” says Maloney. “One said they closed the door and wouldn’t let her get out.”
The bill would essentially require the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit any group 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.” Maloney says the legislation was carefully drafted so it wouldn’t infringe on free speech, but some (libertarians and such) claim that proposing the bill is a bad move and is, in fact, unconstitutional.
Yet the American Civil Liberties Union has endorsed the bill, saying that the FTC should have addressed this issue before and that “It’s already clear that deceptive advertising and false advertising is illegal.”
Sweet. Let’s hope this one passes.

Join the Conversation

  • rayceeya

    It makes sense, I can’t make an ad that lokes like an ad for Coca-Cola that clames Coca-Cola is poison.

  • Gordon K

    Given that false advertising in general is illegal, why not just go after these frauds that way? Or are we talking ads that are not quite legally fraudulent, but are definitely misleading?

  • Anonymous

    A close friend of mine got suckered by one of these places. Fortunately she was able to tap her inner cast iron bitch and ruined the “counselor’s” day.

  • Bobby

    Coca-Cola is a registered trademark. We have all received mail claiming to be $10,000+ vacation prize winners, though of course there are prohibitions on other forms of false advertising. My cynical suspicion is that there will always be semantical ways for these groups to word their advertisements as to be both misleading and technically legal. The more actual abortion providers distinguish their own ads by explicitly offering abortion services, the trickier it will be for disingenuous groups to imitate them without overstepping the law.
    The ACLU endorsement is a positive sign. In any case the legislation would almost certainly pass muster at the state level.

  • http://okrasoup.typepad.com/black_looks sokari

    I was sent a Guardian article by a friend in which it says yzou are looking for African women bloggers. We are not hard to find really. I am one and there are about another 20 or so listed on my blog – cheers

  • HeyKatie

    Really, you cannot have it both ways. You call abortion ‘reproductive rights’ (sic), dressed in Orwellian code words – and then you complain when the other side use similiar tactics?
    To me it is insulting that ‘reproductive rights’ mean abortion in common discourse. To me they conjure up the right to reproduce at home if you will, the right to a midwife – the right to reproduce without the interference of States like China with coercive population policies.
    Yet in common terms it means none of these things – all it means is the negative right not to reproduce – namely via the method of abortion.
    Then again I don’t approve of false labelling or advertising – by either side.

  • http://threadingwater.wordpress.com threadingwater

    HeyKatie – sounds to me like you are purposely misinterpreting the term ‘reproductive rights.’ Access to safe, legal abortion is only one aspect of a whole package of rights that begin with accurate information about contraception, access to all available methods of contraception, and, in the case of contraceptive failure, rape or medical necessity – the ability to terminate a pregnancy.
    I’m not at all sure what you mean by “Orwellian code words,” unless you are referring to the pro-life argument that life begins at the moment of conception and that the life of a fertilized egg is of more importance than that of a woman. That is, indeed, Orwellian, as in “some animals are more equal than others.”

  • HeyKatie

    threadingwater – I don’t believe that life begins at conception other than in the strict physiological sense – nor do I believe the life of an embryo is more important than the life of a woman. You are painting a very black and white, polarised distinction, but as this is the way the discourse is normally framed I’ll forgive you!
    Although I define myself as pro life I am not in favour of prohibition in the society we live in, not without any positive alternatives. I believe, for now, that abortion should be legal up until a certain time limit with restrictions. And of course I would sanction it in the event of medical neccessity or rape.
    I don’t think I was misrepresenting the term – what I was saying was that to me it conjures up a different picture from the way it is commonly used. It should include the positive right to reproduce how one wants as well as the negative right not to. I am fully in favour of contraception – but I am against abortion for ethical reasons.
    I’m not a member of them (I’m British) but I do admire the US groups Feminists for Life. Although they have a more extreme position than I do!

  • Wilder

    HeyKatie, you object to State interference where China is concerned? You either believe in State interference over a woman’s right to give birth/abort or you don’t.
    With a Pro-Life (a misleading label if ever there was one) stance you are also arguing for State interference are you not?Really, you can’t have it both ways, Hey Katie.

  • http://www.resonant.org/ Zed

    “Reproductive Rights” relates to rights to controlling all aspects of your own reproduction, from being able to make informed choices about it, to avoiding having a child forced on you, to avoiding having infertility forced on you.
    There are no supporters of reproductive rights I know of that simultaneously support forced sterilizations — and it’s a topic that has come up here, IIRC, with respect to hysterectomies secretly performed during other medical operations, and at one point, a judge that mandated a birth control implant as part of a sentence.
    These are indeed part of the same part and parcel of the term “reproductive rights”, just as abortion rights are. The latter gets mentioned more frequently because it is under attack more frequently.