State House passes bill targeting ‘pregnancy centers’ that offer misleading info

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HARTFORD -

Lawmakers in the Connecticut House Thursday passed a bill that calls for tougher regulations against “crisis pregnancy centers.”

The bill passed 81-63.

Crisis pregnancy centers offer crisis counseling for pregnant women, but critics say that counseling is often misleading or downright medically wrong and all to steer women away from abortions.

There are about two dozen "crisis pregnancy centers" in western Connecticut, including "Hopeline" in Stamford and Bridgeport. The companies oppose the bill.

"The legislation does not clearly define what 'deception' is, so that's looming out there too. What exactly do you mean by that? What does this look like?" asks Hopeline executive director Adrienne Greto.

Hopeline staffs licensed nurses and an OB-GYN, but the bill's sponsors say many pregnancy centers do not and that women end up getting misleading medical advice.

The bill would allow the state attorney general to get a court injunction in cases of "implicitly false, misleading, or deceptive" practices.

Democrat Christine Palm says crisis pregnancy centers need to be more transparent.

"Any business has to be honest and not 'bait-and-switch.'  So if you advertise that you are going to help somebody in a certain way, the implication being 'We have abortion services' and then the person is drawn in there and then discovers that product or service is not available, that's deceptive and that's a violation."

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