Women's Victory: Baltimore Crisis Pregnancy Centers Must Now Disclose The Limited Nature of Their Services
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On December 4, the Limited Service Pregnancy Centers Disclaimers bill was signed into law in Baltimore City. Baltimore now leads the nation with the first enacted law in the country requiring crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to disclose the limited nature of their services to their clients.
Introduced by City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the law will go into effect in January 2010. This bill was supported by a diverse coalition of women’s groups and health organizations, and passed by a decisive 12-3 margin in the City Council.
CPCs often advertise “information on all options” or “medical referrals.” Thanks to the leadership of Council President Rawlings-Blake, they must now clarify that this does not include birth control information or abortion referrals. In essence, this bill requires truth in advertising by requiring CPCs to inform their clients if they do not provide or refer for abortion or comprehensive birth control by posting a sign in English and Spanish.
The measure will be enforced by the Baltimore City Health Department. This law does not violate the centers’ right to free speech and, unfortunately, we suspect that they will continue to spread misinformation. But at least now women will have a lens through which to view the so-called information about abortion and birth control they receive at these centers.