Late on Tuesday, three Florida state senators -- Mike Haridopolos, John Thrasher and Mike Fasano -- pushed through a resolution honoring so-called "crisis pregnancy centers," a symbolic gesture that has outraged the abortion rights movement. The problem, advocates say, is that such centers have religious, not medical, aims and often mislead pregnant women with false information.
"CPCs present a real obstacle to women who are seeking fair, complete and confidential information about all of their options, says Judith Selzer, Vice President for Public Policy at the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. The senators, though, are standing by their resolution.
In a statement released this morning, Fasano claims the centers are valuable because many "are capable of providing medical care, counseling, and other services." Here's his statement:
A key role resource centers play is to make women aware that adoption is an option that is not always known or considered by the mother during the time of the unplanned pregnancy. Additionally, many of the centers are capable of providing medical services, counseling, and other care for the women in need. Senator Fasano recognizes that those centers not capable of providing the full scope of the medical services a woman may need will refer the women to qualified medical care providers. By adopting this resolution Senator Fasano, and the Senate as a whole, recognizes that the people who work and volunteer in pregnancy resource centers deserve to be recognized, thus the naming of January, 2012 as Pregnancy Resource Center Month.
That's malarky, Selzer says. Most facilities don't offer much more than a free pregnancy test, the occasional ultrasound, and loads of pro-life literature.
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"These are not medical facilities, yet their staff and volunteers gather personal and health information from women and men at a vulnerable time and that information should not be shared without their consent," Selzer says.
A federal report released by Congressman Henry Waxman found that federally funded "pregnancy resource centers" often provide false and misleading information to pregnant teenagers and women seeking essential health information.
A separate proposal in the legislature, meanwhile, called the Pregnancy Confidentiality Act -- sponsored by a Democrat from Delray Beach and a Republican from Daytona -- would impose new regulations on such centers to ensure the privacy of women who visit is protected.