New York City Council is attempting to pass a bill restricting the free speech rights of pregnancy centers there. Click here to read New York Times article. This idea was first introduced back in 2006 by Rep Carolyn Maloney of New York with a bill entitled “Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act.” At the time the ACLU, an organization known for its broad interpretation of free speech rights, came out in support of this speech restriction. It resurfaced in June of 2010 as HR 5652 and now New York City council wants its own version.
Why is the abortion industry working so hard to regulate Pregnancy Centers and deregulate their own activity that exploits women when most vulnerable? What is unfair is the fact that abortion providers are permitted to provide substandard medical care and market themselves as objective options consultants without disclosing the significant financial conflict of interest their activity represents: Abortion providers all have a vested financial interest in the woman making a particular choice. This reality makes it very difficult for them to maintain an objective presentation of the facts especially when under significant financial strain (See Planned Parenthood tax defunding in New Jersey).
This represents an external threat to pregnancy centers certainly in New York State as New York city may be willing to set a dangerous precedent. However, if a pregnancy centers followed a linear service model that documents what information is provided, how, and by whom it would go a long way in insulating pregnancy centers and by default women considering abortion from coercive political maneuvering.