Crisis Pregnancy Centers On the Radar in San Francisco

Photo of Pregnancy Test
It’s always sunny in San Francisco!

Now, I’m not being as flip about the significance of the abortion debate, I’m really not.  If you’re anti-choice, that’s your prerogative, and I totally respect that.  To you, in fact, the news out of Frisco is probably not something to be happy about.

Still, in times of such bizarre political upheaval, it’s kind of refreshing to see a law … well, you know, upheld.  The city’s Board of Supervisors passed a 10-1 reaffirmation last week on a proposal that “would bar pregnancy crisis centers from engaging in false or misleading advertising practices.”

In other words, crisis pregnancy centers will be legally required to put their cards on the table in terms of the degree of services they provide.

From SF Gate:

The legislation targets centers that oppose abortion, and the idea is to assure that women with unplanned pregnancies don’t seek counseling there with the expectation that they’ll be provided a …

… range of information on how to deal with their situation, including the option of obtaining an abortion.

The ordinance is intended to “protect consumers of pregnancy-related services by prohibiting limited-service pregnancy centers from knowingly disseminating false or misleading advertising information about the services they provide,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen, chief sponsor of the legislation.

When I was seventeen and took a home pregnancy test in the bathroom of a McDonald’s, I was pretty shaken up, to say the least, when that little pink plus sign appeared.  I drove past a place billing itself as a crisis pregnancy center.

I walked in, talked to a little old lady who assured me that they were not medical professionals and only provided counseling, had my pee tested again (it was once more clearly positive), and was pretty much put on the spot about whether or not I’d consider abortion since, if it was an option, I should “just leave right now because it would be a bad, bad thing to do” (yes, I still remember those words vividly).

The free clinic was more pragmatic, fully explaining all options as well as actually having medical personnel on staff.

It’s noteworthy that I made the decision to keep my baby despite having my ears filled with vehement abortion propaganda from the Planned Parenthood-associated clinic (I’m assuming you’re catching the sarcasm here).

I have to tell you, though, I was pretty cowed by the blue-rinsed pro-lifer.  The implication that I was a bad girl was inescapable, the pressure to not be a killer as well as fornicator heavy.

Which is why I feel such enthusiasm for this decision out of California.

Two centers in the city would be affected, if the proposal becomes law. Their representatives have warned that the city could face a lawsuit.

“The proposed ordinance regulates and restricts speech only by persons and organizations the city regards as having ‘antiabortion’ or pro-life views, exempting the rest,” First Resort, Inc., one of the targeted centers, said in a prepared statement. “This viewpoint and speaker discrimination is a blatant violation of the First Amendment of the United States.”

You know, First Resort, Inc., with all due respect, if you didn’t have a political agenda that drove your actions, you might find that transparency across the board is an amazing thing in terms of the First Amendment.

There is a misconception that Planned Parenthood pushes abortion when the lion’s share of their work is focused elsewhere.  What they do is offer a well-rounded view of a situation with political undertones, trying their best to keep said politics out of it.

Limited-service providers make an active choice to provide just one piece of a large, complex picture.

Me, I’m glad that they’re finally being held accountable for this.

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7 thoughts on “Crisis Pregnancy Centers On the Radar in San Francisco

  1. Let’s face it, there’s a distinct anti-intellectual vein running through America at the moment. People on all sides are doing whatever they can to undermine education and remove information from the general public. This is most blatant in the realm of female reproductive issues and sex education. Kudos for San Francisco for upholding a person’s right to hear any and all options for an unintended pregnancy. Only when someone has all the facts can they make an informed and mature decision. (And don’t start in on how “if they’d kept their legs closed, that would be a mature decision” because premarital non-reproductive sex has been around as long as humans and there has never been an ideal point in time when everyone stayed a virgin until marriage and then only had sex to have kids.)

  2. It’s really sad that these organizations must be compelled to be honest through legislation. It’s a patriarchal notion to think that they know better than these women what’s best for them, and therefore they justify withholding the facts. As if, once given the correct information, these women will inevitably make the “wrong” choice (wrong as determined, of course, by these organizations). This sort of thinking is harmful to women. How is purposefully leaving them ignorant helpful? Even worse, how is judging them for being pregnant in the first place helpful? And how is it helpful to the children who, once they are old enough to understand, realize the circumstances of their births?
    I think that you, Katie, are an excellent example of a woman who, armed with all of the necessary information, made the choice to keep your baby. And I think it’s even more special that you did that because you were given all of the options. The choice to raise your child wouldn’t be so special if you didn’t get a choice at all. These organizations fail to realize that by taking away this choice, they are preventing this kind of dynamic from happening. Your kid gets to say “my mom was pregnant as a teenager and chose to keep me,” instead of “my mom was pregnant as a teenager and was forced to keep me.” There’s a huge difference between those statements. A difference that could have a lot of psychological impact on a kid. The difference between being a wanted child who was chosen and a burden who was not chosen. Taking that away steals this certainty of being loved and wanted from a child. And that’s not fair either.

  3. As someone who is pro-life, I have no problem with this law. I do take some exception to what I suspect are the motives behind it — to stop people from walking into those establishments in the first place — but I see nothing wrong with, as you say, laying their cards on the table. I’m strongly pro-life because I’ve seen how utterly alive a baby is long before it’s ever meant to be outside of the womb, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support honesty and transparency. :)

  4. It’s a fine balance between playing up the romance and giving him enough space. I’d say don’t work on the communication until you work on the romance. Otherwise, it will be seen as nagging!

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