SF Bans “Misleading Advertising” by Pregnancy Crisis Centers

City legislators on Tuesday took the first step towards banning "false and misleading" advertising by "crisis pregnancy centers" that do not offer abortions.

San Francisco legislators on Tuesday took the first step towards clamping down on "false and misleading advertising" from "crisis pregnancy centers," following the lead of several other American cities.

Supervisor Malia Cohen believes that these so-called "crisis pregnancy centers," such as Bay Area-based First Resort, lie to women seeking options in an unexpected pregnancy, according to the San Francisco Appeal online newspaper.

Instead of offering counseling around a woman's choices, they are steered toward a right-wing, anti-abortion agenda. There are three such centers in San Francisco, and they're also drawn ire from mayoral candidates.

In an August speech, with Cohen by his side, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said First Resort, located at 450 Sutter St., lists itself as an abortion counseling service in print and Internet advertising. First Resort does not provide contraceptives or perform abortions, nor does First Resort refer women for abortion services, according to Cohen.

According to First Resort CEO Shari Plunkett, the company "rejects in the strongest possible terms any representation that our advertising misleads women. We treat women with dignity and respect and respect their right to choose."

San Francisco Supervisor Sean Elsbernd was the lone dissenting vote rejecting the measure, on the losing end of a 10-1 tally. He said that the law, which has been challenged in other cities, "is a solution in search of a problem," and is likely to be challenged in court.

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