(Photo: Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi)
A pro-life advocate in San Francisco charged local officials with “censorship” in their attempt to pass disclosure laws that would stifle local crisis pregnancy centers.
The Pregnancy Information Disclosure and Protection Ordinance would explicitly prohibit "limited-services" pregnancy centers in San Francisco from making false or misleading statements to the public about the services they offer.
Ryan Scott Bomberger, co-founder and chief creative officer of the Radiance Foundation, says California is the "abortion capital" of the United States and he finds it "crazy" that city lawmakers would go after crisis pregnancy centers with a new ordinance that prohibits them from targeting women seeking abortions.
"California is not hurting for ... abortions," Bomberger told The Christian Post. "They're leading the nation with over 214,000 abortions in the last reporting year."
Yet Bomberger says the legislation's supporters, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and San Francisco's District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, are trying to prohibit crisis pregnancy centers from using the word "abortion," in what are known as internet tags or key words, to reach out to women considering the procedure.
Pregnancy centers are the only impediment to abortion providers "making more money," said Bomberger. "They fear women knowing the whole picture."
The Radiance Foundation is an educational organization that reaches out to minorities to help them affirm life over abortion. As the organization's creative officer, Bomberger says he has worked with many crisis pregnancy centers.
He said of the advertising, "Right now you can use tags of any term you want – especially if you want to get your competitor's traffic. Of course you're going to use terms that reaches the same demographic. Every business does that."
"To use the term 'abortion' as a metatag is completely understandable because [crisis pregnancy centers] offer alternatives to abortion,” Bomberger explained. “So, of course, if someone is abortion-minded, you want to reach that demographic."
Bomberger insists that the centers do not lie about their stance on abortion. "They don't mislead anyone. You go to their sites, you read any of their literature [and] it's very clear where they stand on the issue of abortion," he described.
First Resort, a pregnancy center located in San Francisco, Oakland and Redwood City, advertises their services on the Web as a counseling and medical care facility.
CEO Shari Plunkett disputed allegations of misleading women in an August 2 statement.
"First Resort rejects in the strongest possible terms any representation that our advertising misleads women," she stated. "We treat women with dignity and respect their right to choose."
Herrera and Cohen claim in their news release that pregnancy centers do little more than "push an anti-abortion agenda on those seeking constitutionally-protected medical services."
However, in its list of services, the licensed facility offers pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and early prenatal care in addition to its pre- and post-abortion counseling.
Plunkett said that Supervisor Cohen has not met with her to discuss the facility's practices.
Herrera's office refers to a report funded by pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America in its news packet about the San Francisco ordinance.
NARAL admits in its report that the investigation – and basis for all of the damning evidence against California crisis pregnancy centers – was gathered by NARAL-recruited volunteers.
Additionally, several liberal pro-choice foundations, including Choice USA, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, supported the report.
Based on the report and letters he says he has received about the centers, Herrera, a Democrat and mayoral candidate, called the crisis pregnancy centers "right-wing, politically motivated centers" at a press conference last week.
Bomberger commented, "It's funny to hear ... him labeling them right-wing and politically-motivated. There's nothing but political motivation behind them (Herrera and Cohen) trying to shut down these centers."
San Francisco is the latest U.S. city to attempt to impose advertising regulations on local crisis pregnancy centers.
Cities and counties in Maryland and New York have all tried to force centers to place disclosures in its advertising. So far, these attempts have been successfully thwarted.
Judges in Baltimore and New York City both struck down similar laws. In Montgomery County, Md., a judge halted enforcement of their disclosure law until a lawsuit against the ordinance has concluded.