San Francisco Tells Crisis Pregnancy Centers to Stop Lying to Women

abortion rights women's rallyThere are thousands of "crisis pregnancy centers" in operation across the country, many of which claim to offer a wide range of support and information for women facing unplanned pregnancies, when really they exist simply to do everything in their power to keep women from getting abortions. One city in particular, San Francisco, is currently focused on taking on these organizations for their deceptive marketing strategies. Specifically, the city attorney has threatened one center with a lawsuit if it doesn't stop using advertising that misleads women into thinking it offers abortions or abortion referrals when it doesn't; in addition, city officials have introduced legislation that would make it illegal for crisis pregnancy centers to use false or inaccurate statements about services they offer in advertising.

In other words, these centers are finally being exposed for what they really are ...

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And what they really are is simply this: limited services pregnancy centers.

Crisis pregnancy centers are absolutely entitled to advocate for women to keep their babies. But a serious problem exists when they misrepresent themselves (through advertising or other tactics) as abortion providers or even as centers that provide a full range of information and services for the purpose of luring women with unwanted pregnancies into their offices.

Take, for example, First Resort, the crisis pregnancy center specifically targeted by San Francisco's city attorney Dennis Herrera: It has a paid Google search link that makes it come up near the top of search results for "abortion in San Francisco." But, according to Herrera:

... nowhere on its website, print advertisements, or in the paid Google advertisement does First Resort state that it does not perform or refer clients for abortion services.

It's easy to see how a pregnant woman searching for a range of options (including abortion and carrying her baby to term) could be deceived by a tactic such as this; if she makes her way to the First Resort offices, she would in most cases only get one side of the story. The thing about this tactic -- like all false advertising -- is that it's illegal. And San Francisco officials have made it clear they aren't going to tolerate it anymore.

Here's hoping the rest of the country soon follows suit.

 

Image via ProgressOhio/Flickr

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