House Health Care and Wellness Committee Hearing – January 24, 2010
The legislation that was debated before the House Health Care and Wellness Committee on January 24th is designed to protect women from the deceptive practices at Limited Service Pregnancy Centers (LSPC) or so called Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Advocates in favor of the bill explained to the Committee that the bill would require LSPCs provide women with accurate information about the services they provide and do not provide; namely that they do not provide abortion services or abortion referral services, do not provide comprehensive birth control information or information regarding contraception, and do not provide medical care for pregnant women. The bill also requires LSPCs to provide women with their pregnancy tests results immediately and creates measures to protect women’s privacy rights.
Specifically, the bill provides for the following: LSPCs will be required to (1) protect the privacy of health care information they collect from women; (2) provide pregnancy test results immediately; (3) disclose that they do not provide services or referrals for abortion or comprehensive birth control, and (4) do not provide medical care for pregnant women.
LSPCs prey upon uninsured, poor women – oftentimes teenage girls – providing them with inaccurate medical information designed solely to advance their anti-choice agenda. They lure women specifically with the offer of free pregnancy tests. HB 1366 does not seek to silence LSPCs but simply put in place safeguards that will protect vulnerable women from practices that can endanger their health and safety.
Washington State budget cuts have increased the pressure on vulnerable women seeking free services – this reality only intensifies the need to ensure these women do not become even more susceptible to the LSPC agenda. LSPCs target the same vulnerable women that the Republican controlled House of Representatives is targeting by trying to expand the discriminatory impact of the Hyde Amendment.