Bloomberg Signs Controversial Pregnancy Center Bill
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Mayor Bloomberg signed a controversial bill targeting “crisis pregnancy centers” Wednesday — but not until anti-abortion activists got their say.
During a public hearing before the bill signing at City Hall, Chris Slattery, founder and president of anti-abortion pregnancy counseling center Expectant Mother Care, was one of two critics who spoke out against the measure, hinting that it would be challenged in court.
"It does not comply with justice, and it does not uphold the constitution of the United States," Slattery said. "It's an attack on the first amendment."
Three people also spoke in support of the law — including Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and the sponsor of the bill, City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin of Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had earlier signaled that he supported the measure, said anyone who doesn't like the law is free to sue. He said he believes in a woman's right to choose.
"I sign the bill with a conscience, clear conscience that it is providing information and it is not taking sides," Bloomberg said.
The newly signed bill requires pregnancy service centers to disclose whether they provide abortions or if they refer clients to a medical facility that can provide them. Supporters say centers run by anti-abortion advocates sometimes mislead pregnant women about how far along their pregnancies are in order to discourage them from having an abortion.
The City Council passed the bill 39-9 earlier this month.
The bill takes effect in 120 days.