Yesterday afternoon, in a testy hearing (my dispatches from yesterday's action here) pitting pro-vs.-anti-choice factions in Olympia, Democratic state legislators introduced legislation that would require "limited service pregnancy centers," frequently operated by religious groups, to disclose the fact that they don't provide abortions, their religious affiliations, and the fact that they're primarily nonprofits, not medical clinics.
Although the bill's primary sponsor, Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48), insisted that the bill wasn't about a woman's right to choose, the crowd—filled with pink-shirted pro-choicers and sticker-wearing anti-choicers—disagreed.
One man even pulled a Joe Wilson, interrupting American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists spokeswoman Kate Mclean to yell, “Lies!” when she pointed out that abortions do not cause breast cancer (a common, though inaccurate, claim by abortion opponents).
On the pro side, young women testified about harrowing experiences at the hands of limited-service pregnancy centers. College student Glynnis Kirchmeier, described how Tacoma Carenet had refused to provide her with a copy of her pregnancy test results to her, offering to fax a copy to her doctor only if she promised not to use the information to obtain an abortion. Kirchmeier also claimed she was “told by a volunteer.. that the CDC says condoms break 50% of the time.”
Alyssa Piraino’s story wasn’t much better. The college sophomore went to a crisis pregnancy center to get a pregnancy test. Afterward, she testified, the staff “started asking me more personal questions, [like], who is the father of my baby, my religion, my friends and family.”
Those who opposed the bill argued that crisis pregnancy centers don't misrepresent the services they provided (or don't provide). Paula Cullen, a nurse and founding director of Life Services of Spokane, testified that pregnancy centers "strictly protect" confidentiality. Cullen also said that her center has clients sign a contract that discloses the center's position on abortion before providing any services. "We are not medical, but we do not say that we are,” Cullen said.
Both sides made some compelling points. Opponents of the bill expressed concern that it would lead to a loss of First Amendment rights. Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) echoed their concern, saying, “As I read the bill, I wondered if there isn’t an issue of civil liberties and civil rights involved. If gay people got together and formed a gay organization and put out their belief on an issue ... don’t they have a right to do that, and wouldn’t these [crisis pregnancy] organizations also have that right?”
On the flip side, Kirchmeier said her testimony that “any ethical institution should have no problem disclosing exactly what services they provide as soon as they have contact with the patient,” putting the spotlight back on the centers.
- Advertisement -
OTHER POPULAR CONTENT
First Look: Chef Jason Stratton's Aragona
This Week in Restaurant News: Big Openings and Big News
An Eater’s Guide to the Malls
Update: Zara Seattle
Murray Announces More Top Hires
5 Reasons to Get Excited About Joey Kitchen
Behind the Scenes: Seattle Designer Reina Acab of Le Notre
Four Observations About Today's Murray Announcement
Morning Fizz: Two Deputy Mayors
Met Roundup: The Making of Macklemore
Morning Fizz: Future Salaries
Morning Fizz: GOP Christmas Wish List
- First Look: Chef Jason Stratton's Aragona
- This Week in Restaurant News: Big Openings and Big News
- An Eater’s Guide to the Malls
- Update: Zara Seattle
- Murray Announces More Top Hires
- 5 Reasons to Get Excited About Joey Kitchen
- Behind the Scenes: Seattle Designer Reina Acab of Le Notre
- Four Observations About Today's Murray Announcement
- Advertisement -
Most popularSlide Shows & Videos
- Advertisement -