March 3, 2011
NYC Passes Bill Requiring Pregnancy Center Disclosure on Abortion
The New York City Council passed a bill yesterday requiring centers to disclose whether they provide abortions or emergency contraception, make referrals to organizations that do, and if they have a licensed medical provider on site.
Last year, a Maryland county approved a regulation requiring pregnancy centers that do not have licensed medical staff to post a sign in the waiting room. A federal judge struck down the regulation, writing that the requirement violated the centers' right to free speech.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign the New York City measure. Here are more details on the law from the Wall Street Journal:
Opponents cited a federal judge’s ruling that struck down a similar bill in Baltimore as proof that this type of legislation violates the centers’ constitutional rights to free speech. The opponents of the bill pledged to file a lawsuit immediately after Bloomberg signs it into law.
The legislation would require all pregnancy-service centers to disclose whether they provide abortions, emergency contraception and prenatal care, or make referrals to organizations that do. Centers would also be required to disclose if they have a licensed medical provider on site.
Under the legislation, the information would have to be posted in English and Spanish at the centers and in advertisements. A center employee might have to make the disclosure orally if, for example, a client asked for an abortion.
The advertising company that put up a billboard sponsored by Life Always removed it last week. The billboard, located a half-mile from a Planned Parenthood center, showed a black girl in a pink dress that said, “the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”
In other abortion-related news, prosecutors intend to pursue the death penalty against Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor charged with killing a patient and seven babies at his abortion clinic.
David Gibson reported earlier this week that the FBI in New York arrested Theodore Shulman, a radical pro-choice advocate who threatened pro-life activists.
Ohio is considering a law that would ban abortion if a heartbeat can be medically detected. Members of Ohio's state House watched ultrasounds given to two pregnant women yesterday.