November 21, 2017 – Hartford City Council held a public hearing last night on Mayor Luke Bronin’s “Pregnancy Information Disclosure and Protection” ordinance regulating the false advertising practices of “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs).
Hundreds showed up for the hearing, with significant support from Hartford residents in favor of the ordinance. Many from Hartford spoke about the importance of accessing real reproductive healthcare and the harm done by CPCs within Hartford, including testimony from doctors and a midwife practicing in the city. Those opposed to the ordinance largely came from outside the city. Almost all of this testimony related to CPCs outside of Hartford, which would be unaffected by this proposed ordinance. Many anti-choice activists devoted their time to railing against abortion in general, clearly not understanding the purpose and scope of this ordinance.
The ordinance will prohibit CPCs within Hartford from disseminating false, misleading, or deceptive information about the services they provide, and from deceiving women into thinking that they provide specific services, like abortion, when they don’t. It also requires these CPCs to tell people who enter their facilities whether or not there is actually a licensed medical provider on the premises and available to provide medical services. This ordinance is intended to protect the rights of women in Hartford who right now are being lied to, misled, and deceived when they are seeking reproductive healthcare.
Dozens of Hartford residents, medical and legal professionals, Hartford community advocates, and pro-choice activists attended to show their support for access to nonjudgmental reproductive healthcare. Those who testified in support of the ordinance included representatives from ACOG (the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) and Physicians for Reproductive Health; legal experts from Yale University and the National Institute for Reproductive Health; and representatives from organizations serving Hartford communities such as True Colors, the Hispanic Health Council, and Moral Monday CT. Several individuals who have been personally deceived by this fake clinic also shared their stories, or had their stories shared on their behalf for those who wanted to remain anonymous.
Sarah Croucher, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut said, “This ordinance sends an important message, that the people of Hartford will not tolerate women being deceived when they are trying to access time-sensitive medical care. That message was heard loud and clear at tonight’s public hearing. I am thankful to the many Hartford residents, healthcare providers, legal experts, and representatives from community groups who spoke out in support of the ordinance and care about this issue.”
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About NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, Inc.
The legislative arm of NARAL works to pass pro-choice legislation and defend against anti-choice legislation at the State Capitol, believing strongly that all women have the right to access the full range of reproductive choices including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.