by Steven Ertelt
June 15, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A trade group for abortion businesses released a new report Thursday claiming that crisis pregnancy centers across the country are engaging in deceptive practices that intimate pregnant women. The report is meant to bolster Congressional legislation asking the FTC to investigate the centers, but is coming under fire as a smear campaign.
The National Abortion Federation released the report highlights numerous instances where it claims pregnancy centers have harassed and given false information to women.
"Crisis pregnancy centers have a long history of intentionally misleading women to prevent them from accessing a full range of reproductive health care options including contraception and abortion," Vicki Saporta, NAF president and CEO, claimed in a statement provided to LifeNews.com.
"Many women have reported that their confidentiality has been violated and that mistreatment by CPCs has threatened their health," Saporta alleged. "Yet each year they receive millions of dollars in federal and state aid."
NAF accuses pregnancy centers of choosing names similar to local abortion facilities and locating their offices nearby.
Saporta is also upset that the pregnancy centers provide pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, medical and insurance referrals, baby needs, maternity clothes and other forms of assistance to pregnant women but don’t do abortions.
To combat the alleged bias and deception, NAF calls on abortion advocates to report problems to state and local officials, contact pro-abortion lawmakers, and to push for pro-abortion license plates to express their opinions.
The abortion business trade group also wants Congress to approve legislation sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, pro-abortion New York congresswoman, that would prohibit crisis pregnancy centers from advertising themselves as abortion facilities.
When she announced her legislation, Maloney provided no examples of any pregnancy centers engaging in so-called false advertising.
The measure would subject advertising by pregnancy centers to regulation from the Federal Trade Commission.
However, the ACLU has said it won’t endorse the legislation and some of its board members have called the bill an abridgment of free speech.
Eugene Volokh of the University of California at Los Angeles, says the legislation violates First Amendment rights because the bill doesn’t just cover abortions but also abortion referrals, which could include free counseling or advice. While free speech rights don’t extend to false advertising, they do extend to speech that doesn’t involve commerce, he said.
Responding to the bill previously, a leader of a large affiliate of pregnancy centers said the legislation was a smear campaign launched by those who are upset that pregnancy centers are helping reduce abortions and costing abortion facilities money.
"This is nothing more than a routine attack on pregnancy centers by organizations seeking to limit their competition," Care Net president Kurt Entsminger said in a statement provided to LifeNews.com.
"Our network of pregnancy centers are held to a high standard of integrity regarding truth and honesty in advertising," he added.
Jor-El Godsey of Heartbeat International, another national pregnancy center network, said abortion businesses "clearly threatened" by the "community efforts represented by compassionate, caring pregnancy centers to reach women struggling with the difficult decisions an unplanned or unintended pregnancy can create."
Approximately 1,900 of the centers participate with Care Net and Heartbeat in operating the 1-800-395-HELP number that connects women to a specialist and a local center in her area.
Maloney’s bill, the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act, has just 11 co-sponsors.