It is almost unbelievable that the New York City Council had to approve legislation yesterday that requires crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to disclose whether they offer abortion services. These organizations are notorious in the reproductive health community for posing as abortion clinics but being staffed with uneducated anti abortion proponents who spout medically inaccurate information. They advertise abortion services and counseling, and instead harass, abuse, and lie to the women who are in need of accurate information.
Yesterday, the New York City council voted 39-9 with one abstention to pass the bill. Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a potential 2013 Democrat mayoral candidate, said that the focus of the bill is on “truth in advertising,” and that its basis is in “consumer protection.”
Is there any other business or organization that makes spewing lies about something as fundamental as a woman’s health its sole purpose? When Quinn says, “I quite frankly don’t understand why people are afraid of disclosure. If you hide what you do, one is only left to believe that you are embarrassed or for some reason you believe the only way you can reach people is through deception,” I can only nod my head and applaud her concise summation of the problem with CPCs.
Anti-abortion Congressmen want to take away Planned Parenthood’s funding, yet they have made no move to regulate or take away the millions of dollars of grant funding that these sham medical offices receive each year. A CPC may lose its tax exemption if an activist takes the time to file forms with the Internal Revenue Service, but while it is an effective way to squelch these reproductive health fungi, it is hardly the same as the kind of sweeping legislation that threatens the health and continued existence of Planned Parenthood.
And yet, Planned Parenthood has always made it clear that they offer HIV testing, cervical cancer screenings, birth control, Pap smears, and, yes, abortions, to the women who need them. Planned Parenthood has never operated the medical equivalent of a Ponzi scheme, while CPCs gleefully lure women into their offices, confusing them until they have either bullied them into giving birth or delayed the abortion that the CPC had no intention of giving the woman to the point that it is no longer legal.
But Planned Parenthood is the bad guy? An organization that saves taxpayers millions of dollars each year in avoiding unwanted and unintended pregnancies rather than the cancer of CPCs sucking up tax deductible contributions and grant monies as they spread across the country.
Quinn is right; any organization that has a problem with legislation that requires them to disclose whether they provide abortions, prenatal care, emergency contraception, or make referrals to organizations that do, or – gasp! – have a licensed medical provider on site, is not an organization that any woman should seek medical advice from.