November 16, 2010
STATEMENT TO THE NYC CITY COUNCIL ON
LEGISLATION REGULATING "CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS"
By New York City Radical Women
As an organization that has defended women's right to abortion for more than four decades, Radical Women urges passage of legislation requiring so-called crisis pregnancy centers to prominently post accurate information regarding services they do or do not provide and to ensure women's personal and health information is kept confidential. In addition, this legislation should prohibit such centers from misinforming and harassing patients seeking abortions or other reproductive options.
These centers have operated for years by misrepresenting themselves as comprehensive reproductive health clinics when their true purpose is to use deceit and manipulation to eliminate abortion and contraception as reproductive options for women. They target the very women who are most vulnerable, whose choices in life are already the most limited: young women; women without insurance; and women who face barriers to health care based on their race, language, and culture or immigrant status.
Radical Women believes that this legislation will be a positive step toward protecting women from violation of their right to accurate, unbiased, and comprehensive information regarding their reproductive health. We call for its passage, and for its provisions to be extended to mobile facilities that serve a similar purpose.
As an example, the same anti-abortion, religiously funded group responsible for harassing women entering Dr. Emily's Clinic in the South Bronx also operates a van they advertise as providing free sonograms. They have no medical provider, and do not provide referrals for abortion or contraception. To the contrary, they seek to intercept women who are referred by their doctors to a legitimate clinic and those who have no money to pay for their health care. They subject women to scare tactics, intimidation and humiliation in an attempt to dissuade them from using abortion or contraception. These phony clinics and mobile units endanger women's rights and lives, and this must come to an end.
Despite the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, full reproductive freedom for women is far from a reality. Radical Women will continue to work with the many other supporters of women's rights here today to ensure that women truly do have "choice." In our view, this means that abortion and contraception must remain not only legal, but fully funded and available as part of a universal healthcare system. And more than thiswomen should be able to make their decisions without the economic coercion created by poverty, employment discrimination and unequal wages. We ask that your current and future deliberations be guided by this principle.