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City Council Takes Aim At Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Pro-Life Centers President Calls Bill An 'Outrageous Attack'
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Jessica Lappin and Christine Quinn discuss the bill at a news conference (Photo/William Alatriste)

Jessica Lappin and Christine Quinn discuss the bill at a news conference (Photo/William Alatriste)

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS/ CBS 2/WCBS 880) — The New York City Council introduced a bill Tuesday they said would protect women seeking help at “crisis pregnancy centers” across the city.

The sponsor of the bill, Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, said the measure was aimed at centers she charged were nothing more than anti-choice centers masquerading as health clinics, 1010 WINS Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks reported.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks with comments from Councilwoman Jessica Lappin

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond with details on the proposed bill

“These are not licensed medical facilities. Most of the time, they do not have a licensed medical staff on site — they have staff or volunteers who have an agenda that they are trying to push,” Lappin said.

The City Council said the bill would require the limited service pregnancy centers to provide disclosure if they did not provide abortions, FDA-approved contraception or referrals for the services.

The crisis pregnancy centers would also be required to display signs at the entrance of their facilities as well as in waiting rooms and advertisements if they did not provide the services or have a licensed medical professional on site.

Lappin said women visiting the centers had been given “factually inaccurate information” and were “forced to watch videos.”

“They’re preying on vulnerable women, many [crisis pregnancy centers] set up purposely across the street from Planned Parenthood or in the same building as those clinics to try and confuse women and draw them in,” Lappin said.

“You’re given, in fact, a study that has been completely mis-credited, thrown out by all scientific opinion leaders that says abortion will raise your rate of breast cancer,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. “With this bill, women across the five boroughs can feel safer knowing that the city is ensuring that when they seek pregnancy-related services they know what they are getting at a given center.”

E.M.C. Frontline Pregnancy Centers, among the organizations called into question by Naral Pro-Choice New York, believes the proposed bill is unfair.

The president of E.M.C. Pregnancy Centers, Chris Slattery, told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer: “This is an outrageous attack on the first amendment rights of law abiding, helpful resource centers.”

Slattery runs 12 pro-life crisis counseling centers for pregnant women.

When asked what would happen if somebody came to his office and said they were thinking about abortion would they be counseled that an abortion could cause breast cancer, Slattery said, “Yes they would. They would absolutely be counseled and this is backed up by scientific evidence, a massive amount of scientific evidence that’s being squashed, squelched and suppressed.

But Dr. Morris Iskander, the doctor at one of Slattery’s clinics, said he doesn’t agree.

He said there is no correlation between abortion and breast cancer.

“Not whatsoever,” Dr. Iskander said.

The bill will force clinics to tell women upfront whether they provide abortion services or birth control. Opponents of the bill said that if it passes they intend to sue.

Clinics that violate the full disclosure provisions could be fined, or closed for five days if they have three or more violations within two years.

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