The Los Angeles City Council voted 10–0, with five members absent, to pass an ordinance on Oct. 21 that would punish pregnancy service centers for "misleading" women through advertising about their services with a $10,000 fine for each violation.
Such locations support women who are unsure about whether to have an abortion, give up their child for adoption, or keep the baby.
“[These kinds of centers] are known to use medically inaccurate information to actively discourage women from seeking abortions or taking emergency contraceptives,” Taylor Brewer, an attorney with the California Women’s Law Center, said to the council during public comment on the issue. “This frequently delays the necessary and sometimes immediate care that these patients are looking for.”
The new ordinance, which follows a similar 2011 law passed in San Francisco, was proposed by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer in a city council meeting last month.
"If someone goes to one of these centers and is pressured into changing their mind, altering their decision—through inaccurate information—precious time is lost,” Feuer said. “When it comes to reproductive health, time matters. And truth matters. Women's rights and health cannot be on the line because of misleading information."
“While crisis pregnancy centers may claim to offer comprehensive reproductive healthcare services, their mission is to discourage people from accessing abortion care,” Bonta said.
Perinatal health care facilities in California—which help women with high-risk pregnancies—underwent inquiries from Bonta’s office in 2021 to ensure that they were providing women with unbiased information about their health and pregnancy to prevent pregnancy-related deaths due to medical biases against abortions.
This week, there will be another reading of the ordinance for secondary approval, which is when it will take immediate effect. Feuer’s office will oversee enforcing the ordinance.