One less religious deception in Austin

The Austin City Council unanimously passed an ordinance yesterday that would require “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” to post information about what services they do and do not offer. These centers have sprung up around the country in recent years with billboards targeting pregnant and desperate teenagers. While posing to help people in a challenging situation, these fake clinics are only in existence to manipulate the victim into having the child. They do not provide contraception or information about contraception. Another impact they have is that they delay the decision, thus making getting an abortion more difficult. The ordinance partially addresses the problem by making it a bit clearer to the victim of what they’re getting into. From the ordinance:

The Owner or Operator of a Limited Service Pregnancy Center shall prominently display, at the entrance of the Center, two black and white signs, one in English and one in Spanish, that state as follows: “This center does not provide abortions or refer to abortion providers. This center does not provide or refer to providers of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved birth control drugs and medical devices.”

I hope other communities follow suit.


  1. sherylh96 says

    Just to give a different perspective on this… I'm agnostic, but a former believer. And I've volunteered at a Crisis Pregnancy Center where I live. You may think that they are all out to just stop women from having abortions, but I can say that the one that I worked at, it wasn't their specific intent. Their intent was to inform. They never tried to stop anyone from having an abortion, simply to inform them of what they may not have known. The service they provide is a free pregnancy test and information. I don't think that's such a bad thing, nor is it deceiving.

  2. says

    Well, this is a very good start. I noticed on the news last night that the Catholics are all pissed off about it. They claim it's a violation of their free speech rights. Imagine that – fully informing prospective clients of what services you can and can't provide violates the 1st Amendment!

  3. says

    @sherylh96 – if the CPC you worked at wasn't trying to deceive women with the "information" provided, that would be a rare thing. I have yet to see a CPC that didn't spout inaccurate information in an attempt to coerce a woman into staying pregnant.That free pregnancy test is the same test you can buy at any HEB. Planned Parenthood can provide the free pregnancy test, accurate information about ALL your choices, and medical care by people with actual medical credentials.

  4. says

    "While posing to help people in a challenging situation, these fake clinics are only in existence to manipulate the victim into having the child"WOW. Never heard of this before (i'm from germany) This is fucking evil.

  5. says

    @Justmark – Concerning replicating the effort in another town:I only found out about this effort through the local Planned Parenthood network. It's possible they spearheaded it. It wouldn't hurt to get in contact with your local PP to coordinate efforts, should you want to pursue it in your town.Good luck to you.

  6. Martin says

    Huh. It took seven whole comments for a theist anti-choicer to turn up and distort the issue. We must be losing our touch.

  7. says

    "Yeah, How evil these people are for trying to save a life."How evil of these people to put a woman into servitude.

  8. says

    Sherylh96:Did they inform the girls they had options including abortion and where they could obtain them? The raps these clinics get is that they seem to only "inform" up to a point, then they stop "informing"–so the kids get limited information.I should add that "kids" make up a minority of women getting abortions, but the campaigns here in Austin most definitely target youth–and I daresay specifically Hispanic youth. The TV ads I see almost always show an obviously Hispanic female, tears in her eyes, afraid, alone, pregnant, nowhere to go…and ask her to seek assistance at a place where she'll only get half informed about her rights and options. To me, that's taking advantage of a naive young person. If she goes to Planned Parenthood, for example, she won't be pressured to have an abortion–but she will get counseled about her full range of options, and based on the girls in the ads, that's exactly what this particular demographic requires.Tim:At Planned Parenthood, the woman is also given information about her options if she chooses to have the child. It's not a question of "either / or." If she goes to the "Pregnancy Crisis Center" she will get lies of ommission–basically people who will make sure not to give her information she may need (as not every woman is fit for motherhood or in a situation where adoption is a good thing for her, either). At Planned Parenthood they aren't pushing to tell a woman what she _should_ do, just letting her know what she _can_ do, legally and safely. If there are programs to help her if she chooses to have the child, they are just as happy to offer guidance there as well.If you have a life altering choice before you, and you don't know your options, and I do, and I purposely inform you less than I could, in order to manipulate your decision, that's a deception and it's wrong (to use a mild term) of me to do such a thing.

  9. says

    "If you have a life altering choice before you, and you don't know your options, and I do, and I purposely inform you less than I could, in order to manipulate your decision, that's a deception and it's wrong (to use a mild term) of me to do such a thing."Specifically it violates one of the 4 pillars of medical ethics. The right of Autonomy. NO medical or Health institution can ethically run why violating that tenant. It's no laughing matter to real PH professionals. They take this so seriously photographs in hospital rooms have to be approved, because they might catch some of the equipment the person is on and thus potentially reveal to the public parts of their medical history. I'd argue they aren't just personally morally invalid here, they are professionally disqualified and shouldn't be allowed to operate. They got off light with having to put up the sign.

  10. Martin says

    James: Probably, as his "save a life" language — and the reductionist way it reduces the real point of the original post to a question of either "saving lives" vs, clearly, taking them — is typical of the religious anti-choice crowd, who are all about dumbing down complex social issues to the smallest possible emotional-button-mashing talking point.If you're trying to make a point about jumping to unfair conclusions, don't worry. We all have plenty of experience at this, and you learn to be pretty good at character assessment. The ideologies people hold tend to express themselves rather unambiguously in their language.

  11. says

    Martin, don't worry i wasn't trying to make any point about jumping to conclusions. I was honestly curious. I often here the phrase "you? but you're atheist!" on many topics.I hate it when people get put into categories by others, but i sometimes it's just as sad when people so effectively paint themselves into a stereotype. Just like when people stereotypically remove all thought from a debate and spout verse like it was an instruction manual.

  12. Martin says

    Roger that. The inconvenient truth about stereotypes is that there's often some truth to them.

  13. says

    If it goes anything like the similar ordinance here in Baltimore, expect the bloody Catholic Church to come knocking on their door with a lawsuit.

  14. sojournmommy says

    The crisis pregnancy center that I have been involved with provides services that abortion centers do not offer. In fairness, should abortion centers now post signs that state what they do not offer? Something like "free pregnancy tests, job counseling and training, baby and maternity clothes, post abortion counseling,… are not offered here". These pregnancy centers already tell their clients that they do not offer abortion services, AND their clients have to sign papers stating that fact. Why is this not enough? When asked about birth control, the centers refer their clients to a doctor or medical professional, which they are not and do not claim to be. They are largely privately funded and trying to offer services that support a choice alternative to abortion. If pro-choice is truly pro-choice, why do these particular options offend you so?