NY 1: Legislation Would Require CPCs to Give Full Disclosure of Services
October 12, 2010
A sign outside Pregnancy Resource Services in Port Richmond reads "Helping Women on Staten Island since 1987." Below that is a listing of the services the crisis pregnancy center, or CPC, provides -- free pregnancy tests, a consultation, sonograms and prenatal and parenting programs.
What the signs don't say is that the not-for-profit organization doesn't perform abortions or provide referrals, offer birth control or explain whether it's medically licensed.
"We want to make sure that New York City women have full options as it relates to pregnancy, that they have full options as it relates to birth control options and reproductive health care," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The organization NARAL Pro-Choice studied 16 CPCs throughout the city, using volunteer investigators to comb their web sites, visit locations and conduct telephone interviews. It says 89 percent of the centers made false claims, like telling women abortions cause a higher risk of breast cancer. The report says 75 percent of centers failed to state that they were antiabortion, and 44 percent gave inaccurate information about birth control.
"They are preying on scared and vulnerable women, women who are facing very painful and difficult decisions and they mislead and manipulate them," said City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin.
Both Quinn and Lappin say they will introduce legislation Wednesday to require CPCs in the city to post whether they perform abortions, offer birth control and are medically licensed.
Some opponents of the legislation say the new rules would be too harsh.
"For any place of business or organization to have to put a negative sign on the front of a door saying what we don't offer is certainly discouraging," said Bill Harder of Pregnancy Resource Services.
A Planned Parenthood center is scheduled to open on Staten Island sometime next year. Advocates say its opening couldn't come at a better time.
"You can go to any of their centers and learn your full options including carrying your pregnancy to term and putting your child up for legal adoption," Quinn said.
Women can also learn their full options at any of the CPCs in the city.