Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit anti-abortion counseling services from engaging in "deceptive advertising" practices. Members of the Public Health Committee heard hours of testimony from supporters and opponents of the proposal on Monday.
Melissa Lin Monte, who runs a crisis pregnancy center in New London, argued that the new law is unnecessary because they counsel women about their options.
“Just because we educate patients and answer their questions about abortion, but don’t provide the services of abortion, does not mean we are being deceptive.”
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong would be in charge of investigating violators. He says many crisis pregnancy centers, that typically steer women away from abortion, are located close to abortion providers.
“We want people, service providers, to be particularly careful and thoughtful, in the way that they engage with someone facing unwanted pregnancy. And if they need to think twice about not wearing a white coat because they are not a doctor, I think that’s a good thing.”
Republican State Representative Vincent Candelora of North Branford says many of the agencies are faith-based institutions that are needed in the community.
“Any legislation that we craft, I want to make sure it would be narrow enough to not discourage these institutions from even existing in the first place.”
Supporters of the Connecticut legislation say it is similar to a San Francisco ordinance that has been upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.