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Picture this: You think that you might be pregnant. You see an ad for a free pregnancy test and counseling. You call the number and make an appointment. You’re told that birth control is the same as abortion and that if you have an abortion, you will probably get breast cancer. You have walked into an anti-choice “crisis pregnancy center” (CPC), and you have been lied to and manipulated. You deserve the truth: comprehensive, unbiased, factual, and medically accurate information. You likely won’t get these things at an anti-choice CPC.

These centers exist in communities neighborhoods right here in Connecticut, where they outnumber licensed family planning clinics. We want to make sure that their deceptive adverting and intimidation does not prevent people in our state accessing medically accurate health information.

The Challenge

Anti-choice groups created crisis pregnancy centers to look like comprehensive health clinics, but many are generally unregulated and unlicensed. For instance, they don’t have to follow privacy-protection laws like your doctor or licensed medical clinics do. They use tactics that mislead people about pregnancy-related information.

Some false claims many use:

  • Abortion causes breast cancer
  • Abortion is psychologically damaging
  • Abortion can lead to sterility
  • Birth-control pills cause abortion

Anti-choice CPC’s deceive those seeking time-sensitive care by appearing to be full-service medical clinics in their ads, sometimes linking their digital ads to search terms linked to abortion. On their websites they often make it seem like they provide unbiased information to help individuals seeking abortion care or seeking unbiased help to make a decision about an unexpected pregnancy.

Prenatal care, abortion, and emergency contraception are all time-sensitive services. Delayed access poses a threat to public health and may eliminate a woman’s ability to obtain these services altogether.

Our Solution

We can all agree that no one should ever be lied to when they need information about pregnancy. That’s true no matter where you stand on the issue of abortion. It’s time to hold anti-choice CPC’s accountable for misleading the public.

Local Action

We are proud to have worked in partnership with communities in Hartford, and members of the City Council, to pass a city ordinance limiting the deceptive practices of crisis pregnancy centers here in the State Capitol.

The ordinance, which went into effect on July 1, 2018, does the following things to address this issue:

  1. Requires fake women’s health centers to post a sign stating whether or not there is a licensed medical provider on the premises and available to provide medical services.
  2. Prohibits fake women’s health centers from disseminating false, misleading, or deceptive information about the services they provide and from deceiving women into thinking that they provide specific services, like abortion, when they don’t.

Although the ordinance was challenged by a CPC that operates a mobile van within Hartford, it was settled & upheld in August, 2020.

“This resolution leaves our ordinance completely intact and enforceable. By settling in this way, the plaintiff chose not to pursue their challenge to the constitutionality of our ordinance, and we remain confident that our ordinance is constitutionally sound,” Bronin said in a statement. “I want to thank the reproductive health advocates who helped represent the city in this case pro bono.” – City of Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

Read the full story here.

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