Democrats in Congress Introduce Bill to Crack Down on Fake Clinics and Anti-Abortion Disinformation

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Abortion rights supporters and anti-abortion demonstrators exterior of a Deliberate Parenthood abortion clinic, on June 4, 2022, in New York Metropolis. Over 2,500 CPCs blanket the U.S.—triple the variety of abortion clinics. (Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis through Getty Pictures)

On June 23, members of Congress launched the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation (SAD) Act to crack down on false promoting associated to abortion companies by “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs). CPCs are anti-abortion organizations that masquerade as abortion clinics so as to intervene with entry to reproductive healthcare by disseminating inaccurate, deceptive and stigmatizing details about abortion and contraception. Regardless of appearances, most CPCs don’t make use of licensed medical personnel or present referrals for contraception or abortion care.

Within the Home, the lead sponsors of the SAD Act are Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Within the Senate, the invoice is led by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

“Nobody ought to must query that the particular person they’re in search of medical recommendation from is definitely a physician or that data is correct, goal and full,” stated Maloney. “It’s really disgusting that reproductive rights are being threatened and attacked by disaster being pregnant facilities whose tenet is to mislead, misinform and outright mislead pregnant folks so as to dissuade them from having an abortion. It’s gone time that we prohibit these predatory ways to undermine reproductive rights.”

The invoice directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ban misleading or deceptive promoting associated to the availability of abortion companies and authorizes the FTC to implement these guidelines by penalizing organizations in violation with fines of as much as $100,000 or half of the father or mother organizations’ yearly revenues. The SAD Act requires the FTC to make a biannual report back to Congress on enforcement actions.

“This laws cracks down on disinformation by merely requiring the FTC to make sure honesty for people who promote reproductive healthcare,” stated Maloney.

“With ladies’s reproductive rights below a coordinated assault by Republicans throughout the nation, it is extra vital than ever that ladies proceed to have entry to trusted data and complete reproductive well being care companies,” stated Menendez. “By selling misleading or deceptive ads about abortion companies, disaster being pregnant facilities jeopardize ladies’s well being and well-being, all whereas elevating unproven theories about contraception and contraceptive care. Our bicameral laws would assist deal with this drawback by permitting the Federal Commerce Fee to crack down on these facilities for his or her deceptive ways and maintain them accountable for his or her actions.”

Over 2,500 CPCs blanket the U.S.—triple the variety of abortion clinics, although some anti-abortion teams declare that the quantity is nearer to 4,000. Whereas CPCs have multiplied, well being clinics offering abortion have diminished precipitously, from 2,749 in 1978 to below 780 at this time. CPCs outnumber abortion clinics nationwide by a median of three to at least one, however in some states the ratio is as excessive as 11 to at least one.

“At a time when reproductive rights are below assault, it’s particularly vital for anybody in search of abortion care to have the ability to discover a supplier they’ll belief,” stated Bonamici. “Disaster being pregnant facilities usually have interaction in misleading promoting to get folks in, then mislead them concerning the companies they supply. The Cease Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act would prohibit this egregious conduct so folks in search of care get correct data.”

Research reveals that CPCs aggressively promote inaccurate data, together with that abortion is harmful. Nearly two-thirds made patently false or biased medical claims, together with that abortion causes breast cancer and infertility—which is untrue in keeping with the American School of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Many inform ladies that abortion causes melancholy, a declare debunked by the American Psychological Association. Many inflated miscarriage rates to encourage ladies to delay care till it’s too late to make use of abortion capsules or entry abortion legally. Such delay ways could be harmful, particularly for ladies with ectopic pregnancies and people who plan to proceed their pregnancies and wish immediate prenatal care. 

One-third of CPCs promoted “abortion pill reversal”—giving pregnant ladies progesterone to counteract the primary abortion tablet, which ACOG calls “unproven and unethical” and “harmful to ladies’s well being.” CPCs systematically promoted a made-up “syndrome” about “post-abortion remorse” as a substitute of the reality: It’s women who are denied abortion who remorse it, and undergo long-term psychological and bodily well being penalties.

As states transfer to ban and criminalize abortion care, it’s essential that individuals who want abortions are capable of entry evidence-based, non-judgmental well being data from certified professionals, not disaster being pregnant facilities that use misleading promoting and misinformation to unfold their ideology.

Dr. Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, president of the American School of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

“Entry to complete medical care, together with abortion, is crucial for folks’s well being, security, and wellbeing,” stated ACOG president Dr. Iffath Abbasi Hoskins. “Individuals should be capable to obtain the total spectrum of medical care with out the concern of being manipulated by deceptive, inaccurate or biased data. As states transfer to ban and criminalize abortion care, it’s essential that individuals who want abortions are capable of entry evidence-based, non-judgmental well being data from certified professionals, not disaster being pregnant facilities that use misleading promoting and misinformation to unfold their ideology.”

CPCs goal low-income communities, particularly ladies of coloration, says Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, CEO of Power to Decide. “CPCs are situated in communities the place it’s already tough to entry abortion or different important well being care. Individuals in these communities face extra obstacles to care after they discover themselves in a faux clinic that fails to offer them with medically correct and full details about their very own pregnancies and well being care choices.”

“At a time when so many stand to lose entry to abortion care,” she continued, “we should put a cease to the fraudulent practices of CPCs that deceive and delay time-sensitive, important care.”

The SAD Act is supported by over 40 reproductive well being, rights and justice organizations, medical and non secular teams. Authentic cosponsors embody 49 U.S. representatives and 16 U.S. senators. 

“With a far-right Supreme Courtroom poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s extra vital than ever to crack down on so-called ‘disaster being pregnant facilities’ that mislead ladies about reproductive well being care,” stated Warren. “I’m working within the Senate to cease these misleading practices and guarantee each American can entry the abortion care they want.”

Sign and share Ms.’s relaunched “We Have Had Abortions” petition—whether or not you your self have had an abortion, or just stand in solidarity with those that have—to let the Supreme Courtroom, Congress and the White Home know: We is not going to hand over the correct to protected, authorized, accessible abortion.

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