Crisis pregnancy centers say a proposed city law requiring they announce that they do not provide abortions, contraception or give referrals for such services, would violate their First Amendment rights.
The legislation is to be introduced today by Councilwoman Jessica Lappin and Speaker Christine Quinn.
If the legislation passes, the centers must post signs by their front door, in their waiting rooms, in ads and on their website — or face fines of up to $2,500.
“This is an effort to muzzle pro-life free speech,” said Chris Slattery, who founded the Expectant Mother Care centers. “We don’t advertise contraceptives or family planning, so why should we be forced to say we don’t provide family planning?”
Critics accuse the centers of misleading women into thinking they provide abortion services, said Lappin.
Several such centers are across the street from, or near, Planned Parenthood centers. Slattery said his employees will approach women on the street who may be headed to Planned Parenthood and refer them to his clinics.
Once inside, “they’ll tell them emergency contraception doesn’t work, or abortion will make you infertile,” said Erica Sackin of Planned Parenthood NYC. “Women go into them mistakenly looking for Planned Parenthood. This is about truth in advertising.”