Jennifer Blasdell, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, praised Mayor Sheila Dixon for signing the Limited-Service Pregnancy Disclaimers Bill into Baltimore law today. Introduced by Baltimore City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and co-sponsored by ten other council members, this law is a common-sense measure that will ensure that women visiting a limited service pregnancy center in Baltimore are informed that they will not receive comprehensive birth control or abortion services or referrals.
Baltimore City is the first local jurisdiction in the United States to introduce a bill regulating limited service pregnancy centers and the first government in the country to pass a law. Limited service pregnancy centers are also known as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs).
“We thank Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for championing an issue so important to women’s health. This law will ensure truth in advertising, protecting consumers. Unfortunately, CPCs in Baltimore are not always up front about their services and frequently give women misinformation. For example, centers in Baltimore told women that abortion causes an increased risk of breast cancer and that condoms did not prevent STDs,” stated Blasdell.
NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland investigated three centers in Baltimore, all of which gave misinformation about abortion or birth control and none of which would provide a referral, even for birth control. “This law will empower women by giving them full information up front about what to expect from a limited service pregnancy center. This provision does not ask a facility to provide any services they find objectionable, but only asks them to tell the truth about the nature of their services. We applaud Mayor Dixon for signing this important bill,” continued Blasdell.
A broad coalition of health care providers and women’s groups supported this measure including Planned Parenthood of Maryland, the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Baltimore NOW, the Maryland Chapter of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Catholics for Choice, Equality Maryland, Healthcare for the Homeless, Baltimore Healthy Start, Inc., University of Baltimore School of Law Center on Applied Feminism, and numerous physicians, nurses and social workers in the Baltimore community.