SEATTLE – The King County Board of Health approved a measure to require facilities that are often faith-based and referred to as “crisis pregnancy centers” to post signs telling patients they are not health care clinics.
Multiple media outlets reported this week that nine of the 10 board members voted for the rule, saying the goal is to bring transparency and accurate information to pregnant women.
According to feminist group Legal Voice, at least eight of the centers operate in and around Seattle in King County.
The new rule requires that the centers, also known as limited-service pregnancy centers, post a sign saying, “This facility is not a health care facility.” That sentence must be posted in 10 languages, including English, with all of the languages in 48-point type size.
A report by Legal Voice, included in Board of Health records, said the centers give medically inaccurate information about abortion and some don’t tell patients that they don’t provide abortions or make referrals involving abortion and contraception. The group’s report was based on visits to the centers by trained volunteer college and law students.
Care Net’s executive director Kim Triller called Legal Voice’s report “an absolute lie,” according to the Seattle Times.
It wasn’t clear if students visited Care Net of Puget Sound, which has a half-dozen centers around the area, in compiling their report.
Readers must scroll to the bottom of the Care Net website home page to find in small print that is not an abortion clinic, does not do abortion referrals and that it offers “life-affirming” resources.
Deeper into the site is information about joining its “prayer team,” which in part is tasked with providing immediate prayers “particularly if the client appears to be very abortion-minded.”
Failure to post a sign at the centers could lead to fines of $100 a day. Violations would be complaint-based and a staff report said enforcement would cost roughly $40,000 a year.
“I believe women who are pregnant deserve complete, accurate and timely information about their health care and options,” said board Chairman Rod Dembowski, a King County Council member. “These centers are unregulated and are often staffed by volunteers and employees who lack medical training or licensure.”
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