On the heels of , and following an outcry regarding a controversial , the City Council yesterday passed (39 to 9) a bill -- Intro-371-A -- that hopes to strengthen protections for women seeking reproductive healthcare in New York City.
The goal of Intro-371-A is to eliminate misinformation at women's pregnancy centers citywide and also clearly identify those centers that are pro-life organizations with no licensed medical provider on staff.
The bill will help draw a clear distinction between the two types of centers so clients can make an informed choice during their time of pregnancy or family planning.
Specifically, the bill will require pregnancy service centers in New York City to inform their clients whether or not they have a licensed medical provider on staff; disclose the kind of pregnancy-related services provided by the center; and provide confidentiality protections for clients’ personal and health information.
“Our goal here is not to shut down these pregnancy service centers. We just want to keep them honest and tell women the kind of services they provide,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn.
“We want women to make an informed decision about the health care services they are seeking and not duped by false advertising. Nobody has the right to prevent a woman from taking care of her health. Women will now feel confident in their personal and legal health care decisions - and know that no one will be allowed to stand in their way.”
Additionally, this bill will require pregnancy services centers disclose whether they provide or refer for prenatal care; provide or refer for abortion; and provide or refer for emergency contraception.
Notices will be required to be in both English and Spanish in the form of a posted sign visible at entry and in waiting areas as well in any advertising of services published.
“This bill is a truth in advertising measure. To be clear, it only regulates centers that are deliberately trying to deceive women into thinking they are in a medical facility when they are not. What those centers are doing is not only dishonest, it is incredibly dangerous,” Council Member Jessica Lappin said, sponsor of the bill. “We are passing this bill to protect women and their health.”