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Conscience Magazine

In California, Truth is Golden: Legal Requirements for Honesty in Reproductive Healthcare

August 14, 2017

The aggressive tactics of antichoice activists described by Clare Murphy in “Miss-Information” are sadly familiar in the United States as well. Even in a prochoice state like California, we are home to hundreds of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that interfere with access to reproductive healthcare, targeting women with false advertising and barraging them with medical misinfor­mation. CPCs are strategic in their efforts, which are morally reprehensible, but stay just on the right side of the law. They have litigiously responded to any attempts to regulate them, claiming the mantle of “religious freedom” to deceive and manipulate women. But through persistence and innovation, we are finally putting them on the defensive.

In 2015, California passed the Reproductive FACT Act, becoming the first state in the nation to pass a law miti­gating the damage done by CPCs. Under this new law, the majority of CPCs that are not medically licensed must make it clear that they do not have medical providers on staff, and licensed facili­ties have to share informa­tion about free or low-cost family planning care, including abortion. Two California cities thus far have passed ordinances specifically penalizing false advertising by CPCs. Anti­choice groups fought these efforts tooth and nail, but when the disturbing methods that CPCs employ were brought to light, many of our politicians recognized the threat such institutions pose to public health and reproductive freedom.

While the antichoice movement is constantly shifting its nefarious tactics, our movement can be right there to expose its dangerous agenda. We will stand up to protect every woman’s right to access quality reproductive health­care without interference or judgment.

Associate Director, California Programs
NARAL Pro-Choice California
San Francisco, CA