By Kate Meyer*
"If you hide what you do, you must believe you can only do what you do through deception” said Christine Quinn , speaker of the New York City Council, in a press conference yesterday before passing a historic piece of legislation regulating the city’s Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). Quinn threw her support behind Intro. 371, a bill sponsored by Jessica Lappin, which requires CPCs to be upfront with the services they provide to their clients.
CPCs have been accused of misleading women seeking pregnancy counseling into believing they provide licensed doctors or counseling on the full spectrum of options for unintended pregnancies, including emergency contraception and abortion. Most CPC’s are operated by anti-choice activists (like Chris Slattery , head of the CPC chain Expectant Mother Care/Frontline Medical Services and professional thorn in the Pro-Choice movement’s side) hoping to dissuade women from choosing abortion. They have been known to use the murkiest of tactics: non-medical professionals donning white coats, emotionally manipulating clients through language and images, strategic positioning close to actual abortion providers, and claiming false linkages  between abortion and breast cancer.
NARAL Pro-Choice New York’s comprehensive report on CPCs  compiles website analysis and volunteer investigators’ reports of the worst offenders in our own city. But CPCs are not just menacing the women of New York. This week’s New York Times editorial  in support of the measure notes that a similar CPC regulation bill was passed in Baltimore  but was recently repealed.
The NYC bill passed  39-9-1, and was a welcome sign that there are still strong advocates willing to defend the reproductive rights of New Yorkers even amidst the frenzy of attacks on women’s rights  at the federal and state levels.
*Kate Meyer is a Research and Programs intern at the National Council for Research on Women. She recently graduated from Cornell University where she studied Government , Spanish and was a member of the Cornell Women’s Resource Center Advisory Board.
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