Virginia Pro-Abortion Group Attacks Pregnancy Centers Helping Pregnant Women
by Steven Ertelt
January 20, 2010
Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) — Last year, the Baltimore city council passed a new law that targets pregnancy centers that help women but don’t do abortions. The prediction that this would result in proposing additional laws targeting crisis pregnancy centers has come to pass with a new proposal in the Virginia legislature.
The Virginia affiliate of NARAL held a press conference today to announce new legislation designed to intimidate women who go to pregnancy centers for help and options counseling.
The bills (SB 188 and HB 452) seek to remove the funding stream available to pregnancy centers via the purchase of Choose Life license plates.
This harmful legislation seeks to require a new state regulation of all pregnancy centers such as requiring the placement of a sign outside of the center stating, that it does not perform or refer women for abortions, that it does not provide or refer women for contraception, and that the facility is not required to maintain medical confidentiality or medical records in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The bill would require state officials to collect a sample of all materials distributed at the center for analysis and potential criticism.
And the legislation would require a member of the centers’ board to sign a document certifying that it "provides only factually and medically accurate information about pregnancy, contraception, and abortion to a person seeking counseling, information, or assistance from the center.
The bill is designed to persuade women to visit abortion centers instead of pregnancy centers and the last provision calls into question legitimate research showing abortion causes physical complications such as breast cancer and mental health issues.
Senator Ralph Northam and Delegate Charniele Herring, both Democrats, are sponsoring the bills.
They appeared at the press conference with NARAL where they released a year-long study revealing the misinformation and deception supposedly occurring at the centers.
The study claims pregnancy centers rely on deceptive advertising and gave an example of highly visible billboards on well traveled roads with text such as, Pregnant? Scared? Need Help? Call us!
The study also criticized the centers for operating as medical clinics, even though they are properly licensed and overseen by trained medical professionals.
"The center looked like a small doctors office. There was a waiting room . . . an office with a glass check-in window. In the bathroom, there was a place to put my urine sample in the wall like at my doctors office. . . The ultrasound room looked like a room at my gynecologists office," one complaint read.
NARAL also complained that the centers are not required by law to abide by federal standards of confidentiality (HIPAA), even though they voluntarily do so.
This report calls out the fact that some centers provide literature that does plainly state that if you are a minor, the center may give certain information to parents or guardians.
The study also claims pregnancy centers "use the ploy of a medical ultrasound to show a woman a fetus and execute an emotional appeal, despite it being an unnecessary medical procedure" even though national ultrasound organizations say it is proper for the diagnosis of pregnancy and the age of the unborn child.
Victoria Cobb, the president of the Family Foundation, a state pro-life group, responded to the legislation and the attacks on these pregnancy resource centers.
"Virginias lucrative abortion industry is watching women make a different choice than they want them to make and its eating into their profits. This new legislation is nothing more than an attempt to scare women from making a choice different than abortion," she told LifeNews.com.
She said pregnancy centers "have assisted thousands of women in Virginia through crisis pregnancies and not a single woman has ever died. Virginias abortion clinics cannot say the same."
Cobb urged pro-life advocates in Virginia to call their elected officials and urge strong opposition to the bills.
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