SAN FRANCISCO, California, August 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is considering a law that would enact advertising regulations on the city’s Crisis Pregnancy Centers and impose hefty financial penalties for non-compliance.
The proposed legislation, which was introduced yesterday by Supervisor Malia Cohen, would prohibit Crisis Pregnancy Centers from disseminating any advertisement which could be construed as “misleading” concerning the nature of their services. Advertisements could be deemed misleading by virtue of “statement or omission.”
CPCs found to be in violation of the law may be required to pay a fine of up to $500, pay for and disseminate “corrective” advertising, and post a notice on its premises stating whether it provides abortion or emergency contraception.
The law is similar to legislation introduced but successfully challenged and stopped this past year in Washington State, New York City, and Maryland.
“One of the most serious threats to reproductive rights today comes from so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers,’ which misrepresent themselves as non-political medical providers, but that push anti-abortion propaganda and mistruths on unsuspecting women,” said Cohen, at a press conference yesterday morning where she announced the proposal.
The press conference was also attended by San Francisco City Attorney and mayoral candidate Dennis Jose Herrera.
A statement issued yesterday from Herrera’s office announced that he had taken “a first step today toward a possible legal action” against First Resort, Inc., a San Francisco organization that advertises itself as a “Pregnancy Counseling Women’s Health Clinic.”
In a letter sent to First Resort, Herrera alleged that the Clinic’s print and Internet advertisements imply that it offers abortion services and abortion referrals. Herrera noted that state licensing documents say that the organization’s purpose is to achieve an “abortion free world.”
“First Resort is certainly entitled to advocate for ‘an abortion-free world’ to anyone who wants to hear it, but the center is breaking the law by misrepresenting itself as an abortion provider for the purpose of luring women with unwanted pregnancies to its office,” Herrera said.
In a statement issued yesterday on the Clinic’s website, the organization denied allegations of misleading advertising.
“We treat women with dignity and respect their right to choose,” read the press release. “We welcome both Supervisor Cohen and City Attorney Herrera to tour our facilities and educate themselves about the services we provide.”
“We look forward to a robust discussion about the appropriateness of this legislation and urge them not to test the constitutional boundaries of free speech,” the statement concluded.