Pregnancy Centers Push Back Against New York Proposal Against Free Speech
by Steven Ertelt
October 13, 2010
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — Pregnancy centers are pushing back against a proposal from pro-abortion members of the New York City Council who are acting on behalf of the NARAL abortion advocacy group, which wants council members to support a proposal limiting their free speech rights.
The proposal would place stringent limits on the advertising pregnancy centers use and require them to post signs designed to dissuade women from seeking their abortion alternatives services.
Care Net, a national network of more than 1,100 centers in North America, has announced its intention to defend pregnancy centers in New York City against the legislation.
Care Net president Melinda Delahoyde called the proposed bill unconstitutional and a hostile attack on non-profit organizations providing critical help to women.
The proposed bill is a response to the growing national movement of Americans who find the practical, nonjudgmental outreach of pregnancy centers to women very appealing she said in a statement sent to LifeNews.com. People are tired of the old culture wars, but groups like NARAL that advocate for the abortion industry want to keep them going, dividing our communities and our country.
Pregnancy centers in New York City have been providing free services to pregnant women for decades," Delahoyde added. "The City Council should be thanking them. Instead, they’ve launched a legislative battle that will drain precious resources away from the women who are in need of pregnancy center services."
Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, and Councilwoman Jessica S. Lappin are behind the proposed ordinance.
Their proposal, according to the New York Times, would make pregnancy centers include information in their ads saying they do not give out the morning after pill or make abortion referrals.
The bill, expected to be introduced yesterday, would also require pregnancy centers to post the signs with the disclaimers at the entrance of their clinic and in patient waiting and exam rooms. The signs must also say whether or not a licensed medical professional is on staff, though that is frequently the case with most centers.
The New York City measure is a response to a "report" the state pro-abortion group NARAL issued claiming women are given inaccurate information — defined by NARAL as information it doesn’t agree with such as statistics on how abortion increases women’s risk of breast cancer and mental health problems.
Delahoyde told LifeNews.com that centers affiliated with Care Net have very high medical standards.
In response to NARALs accusations, Care Net and our network of pregnancy centers remain committed to absolute integrity and excellence in everything we do," she said.
"That means being completely forthright about the services we offer and the services we don’t. That means ensuring that women seeking help with a pregnancy decision receive accurate information about pregnancy, fetal development, and abortion risks," she explained. "To that end, Care Net provides its centers with extensive training and material that is regularly reviewed by our Medical Advisory Board for accuracy."
If pregnancy centers are as terrible as NARAL would suggest, then why do 97% of Care Nets client exit surveys nationwide reveal positive approval ratings for our centers? Why is our #1 source of new clients word-of-mouth referrals from former clients?" Delahoyde asked.
Delahoyde said the hundreds of thousands of volunteers, staff and board members of pregnancy centers around the nation remain upbeat in the face of the attacks.
Frankly, at the end of the day, these skirmishes end up working out for the good. They mobilize support for pregnancy centers and provide them a platform to tell their good news story," she said. "Across the country, women who have been helped by pregnancy centers are sharing their testimonies with legislatures, the media, and others. Hearts are warmed and the truth of the matter – about life, its joys, its preciousness, shines through.
Thousands of pregnancy centers provide practice help, information and support for pregnant women unlike anything abortion businesses offer.
Because of that, and their communicating to women accurate information on the risks and dangers associated with an abortion, pro-abortion groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood have targeted them with new bids to put local ordinances in place making them post disclaimers that the information is reportedly not medically accurate.
The New York City Council is moving in the same direction as local officials in Baltimore, Maryland and Austin, Texas.
Baltimore officials approved a sign ordinance there, although the centers, with the help of the Catholic Archdiocese, have filed a lawsuit to overturn the ordinance.
On April 8, pro-abortion Austin City Council members introduced an ordinance to require pregnancy centers to display similar signs.
The ordinance requires pregnancy centers to prominently display, at the entrance of their office, two black and white signs — one in English and one in Spanish — saying: "This center does not provide abortions or refer to abortion providers. This center does not provide or refer to providers of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved birth control drugs and medical devices."
In Baltimore, pro-life city council members attempted to get their colleagues to approve an amendment to the ordinance requiring abortion centers to post similar signs saying they do not provide or refer to places that provide abortion alternatives or pregnancy support. Members of the Baltimore city council rejected the amendment.
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