“Any delay in receiving pregnancy information can have adverse health impacts on both the woman and baby.”
The King County Board of Health today adopted a new Rule and Regulation (R&R) that would require limited service pregnancy centers (LSPCs) also known as crisis pregnancy centers to post a notice on-site and in their advertising stating “This facility is not a health care facility.”
“It is critical that pregnant women have complete, timely and accurate health information,” said Board of Health Chair Rod Dembowski, prime sponsor of the new regulation. “Any delay in receiving pregnancy information can have adverse health impacts on both the woman and baby.”
Roughly eight LSPCs operate in King County. These centers are unregulated and are often staffed by volunteers and employees who lack medical training or licensure.
“The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is opposed to crisis pregnancy centers (CPC) for several reasons,” said Dr. Sarah Prager of ACOG. “At a CPC, a woman is often not being given health information and advice by a health-care professional, but instead from a biased and ideologically motivated organization or person without any medical training. Women should not be treated with intimidation, coercion, harassment, and manipulation, especially when seeking something as important as information about their reproductive health care options.”
“All people facing an unintended pregnancy deserve medically accurate, comprehensive health care. This is especially true for people who are young, low-income, or uninsured, who already face denials of their self-determination in so many contexts,” said Sara Ainsworth, Advocacy Director for Legal Voice. “We applaud the Board of Health’s action today, and hope the Board will continue to work to ensure that no one is denied access to health care by misinformation and deceptive practices.”
With a briefing on May 18, and a discussion of the R&R on June 15, today marked the third public meeting the Board of Health has had on this issue.
“The King County Board of Health is taking a step in the right direction in addressing the concerns about crisis pregnancy centers. These organizations provide biased and often inaccurate and misleading information, which is why we agree the public should be made aware of their deceptive practices,” said Hannah Brass Greer, Chief Legal Counsel of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. “We hope to continue working with the County on this issue to better inform and ensure access to free, low-cost comprehensive health care."