Accuracy in Media

Pro-abortion forces and their allies in the media are outraged over a Supreme Court decision in Tuesday that related to crisis pregnancy centers.

The Court addressed a California law that said crisis pregnancy centers, which offer counseling, care and other services to pregnant women to provide an alternative to abortion, had to inform clients the state provides free or low-cost abortions and that the pregnancy centers themselves did not have medical personnel on hand.

The pregnancy centers sued, saying they were compelled by the law to advertise abortion, the very thing they were working to prevent. The Court ruled in their favor, saying the requirements violated their First Amendment rights because of compelled speech.  

Vox reported this could lead to suits challenging laws that require physicians to inform those seeking abortions of various things before performing the procedures.

“California said its messages [on the availability of taxpayer-funded abortions and the fact these are not licensed medical facilities] take no position on abortion,” the Washington Post reported. “It make sense to require the centers to tell patients of the state’s offered services because that is when women are most in need of them, the state contends.”

NBC wrote that California had to require all this labeling because half of its 700,000 pregnancies per year are unintended and “many women with low incomes aren’t aware of publicly funded health care options.”

HuffPost wrote, “Crisis pregnancy centers have said they offer legitimate health services but that it is their mission to steer women with unplanned pregnancies away from abortion.”

Which brings us to the New Republic, which asked: Why was this law needed in the first place?

“The Supreme Court just made it easier for crisis pregnancy centers to lie to women,” it wrote. New Republic quoted the New York Times saying the law was passed after the “California legislature found that the roughly 200 centers in the state used ‘intentionally deceptive advertising and counseling practices that often confuse, misinform and even intimidate women from making fully informed time-sensitive decisions about critical health care.”

“Crisis pregnancy centers deliberately employ deceptive advertising practices in order to get women through the door: They’ll offer free pregnancy tests, for example, without also advertising that women can’t receive abortions or contraception at the clinic. … As a result, it’s relatively easy for women to make an appointment at a crisis pregnancy center without realizing she won’t be able to access a full range of reproductive health care options at the shelter.”

So poor women don’t know how to access public health care, California is not for abortion but just requires private clinics to advertise its free abortion services, and women are too dumb to tell the difference between an abortion clinic and a crisis pregnancy center?

And how does New Republic know about all this deception? It cited a story in Rewire News last December about how Google officials vowed to “scrub misleading crisis pregnancy center ads from its platform.”

A Rewire reporter searched her phone for “abortion” in 40 U.S. cities and “found at least one anti-choice fake clinic ad nearly 40 percent of the time.”

“Operated by abortion rights foes, the clinics often imply they provide abortion care by looking like an abortion clinic, opening next door to one, or running abortion ads. Most fake clinics aim to attract pregnant people to deter them from getting an abortion.”

No one has been caught deceiving women about what happens at a crisis pregnancy center. The law was about stigmatizing clinics that sought an outcome the media doesn’t like. That the court recognized this and ruled accordingly did not sit well.

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