Great news! This afternoon, the King County Board of Health passed an ordinance requiring certain crisis pregnancy centers to indicate to the public that they are not health care facilities.
Despite what crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) want you to believe, most, if not all, are not actually medical clinics. They are nonprofit organizations, usually religiously affiliated, that are dedicated to opposing abortion and birth control. They use strategic advertising to target people—especially young people and people who lack health insurance—who are facing an unintended pregnancy.
Because they are expressly opposed to contraception and abortion care, some of these centers purposefully provide people who come to their centers with medically inaccurate information about sexual health and reproductive health care.
The Board of Health recognized the public health threat associated with crisis pregnancy centers and the spread of misinformation, stating: "“It is vital that pregnant women in King County know when they are receiving care from health care facilities, as delay in accessing that care resulting from lack of information or misinformation could permanently alter the reproductive decisions available to them and the adequacy of their prenatal care.”
The ordinance requires the centers to post signs that read: “This facility is not a health care facility.” The sign is to be translated into the ten most prevalent languages in King County, making the statement accessible to communities whose first language is not English. The ordinance also requires the statement to appear conspicuously in all print and digital advertising materials.
We are determined that every person who needs reproductive health care understands what crisis pregnancy centers are—or rather, what they are not. We applaud the Board for taking this important step in ensuring access to medically accurate health care. But we would like to go further. People deserve to know not only that crisis pregnancy centers are not medical clinics, but to also know where they can access free or low-cost contraception, abortion, and prenatal care. We will continue to fight for the rights of all people in the Northwest to have meaningful access to comprehensive reproductive health care.
- Legal Voice press release, 7/20/17
- Pregnancy Centers Face New Regulation in King County, KUOW 7/20/17
- Crisis Pregnancy Centers Must Post Disclaimers Stating 'Not a Health Care Facility' under King County rule, The Seattle Times, 7/20/17
- One Washington County Wants the Public to Know the Truth About Anti-Abortion Clinics, Rewire 7/21/17