Case Document Type
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, testified before the New York City Council on November 16, 2010 on the recently introduced bill that will regulate the deceptive practices of pregnancy counseling centers in the city.
The legislation, Intro 371, requires limited service pregnancy centers to post signs disclosing at the facility and on the website that they do not provide abortions, FDA approved contraception or referrals for these services. It also requires signs to be posted if there is not a licensed medical professional present at the center, and to give clients confidentiality protections by not disclosing personal or health information without their consent.
The Center for Reproductive Rights advocates against proposed laws that would limit women’s access to information, or force healthcare providers to give their patients misleading information about their health.
Download the full transcript for Ms. Northup’s testimony below.
"Intro 371 would serve several compelling governmental interests, including preventing consumer deception, preventing delay in access to health care for those who seek it, and protecting private information from disclosure, along with reducing the risk for those whose information could be used to endanger them.
"….Intro 371 would address serious harms posed to public health by the misleading and deceptive practices of CPCs, while respecting those organizations’ First Amendment rights. The standard used to determine whether a law compelling speech is constitutional depends on whether it compels commercial speech or noncommercial speech. Speech that relates to advertising of services and solicitation of clients, including speech that communicates the types of services offered by an enterprise, is inherently commercial in nature, even if there is no fees are charged for the services. Laws that compel commercial speech are analyzed under a standard similar to the rational basis standard, and are permissible if their “disclosure requirements are reasonably related to the State’s interest in preventing deception of consumers."