Deceptive Crisis Pregnancy Centers on Trial in NYC

Yesterday, New York City Council held a hearing to consider bold new legislation to regulate crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in New York City.

You’ll remember that crisis pregnancy centers use deceptive tactics and mislead women about whether they perform abortions, often setting up shop in close proximity to actual abortion clinics and mimicking their style or name to confuse and trick women. Some go so far as to provide misinformation about women’s pregnancy status or due date, or spread patently false myths about abortion. You would think that with all these shady practices, CPCs would already be illegal, or at least exist on the margins of acceptability, but thanks to the support of radical anti-choice activists and policymakers, they have received millions in funding from both federal and state coffers, and they are estimated to total between 2,300 and 4,000 centers nationwide.

Thankfully, as NARAL Pro-Choice NY reports, this bill will require CPCs to state clearly whether or not they provide comprehensive pregnancy counseling options—including abortion and birth control—and will help ensure that every woman who walks into a CPC knows whether she will in fact be seeing a medical provider and that her personal private information will be kept confidential.

It’s a compellingly simple, straightforward, and necessary initiative: according to NARAL Pro-choice, so many folks showed up for the City Council hearing today that many couldn’t even fit in the room! The bill seems likely to pass, although some anti-choice activists did show up to testify against the legislation.

For more, be sure to check out the #CPCNYC hashtag to read the stream of tweets from activists and advocates who were there, as well as this excellent report by NARAL on the deceptive practices of CPCs.

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to serving as an Executive Director at Feministing, Lori is the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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