City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who backs the proposal, said it simply requires “truth in advertising” from pro-life groups.
However, Bell said that the proposal appears also to target maternity homes trying to offer “free, low-cost services to women in a crisis pregnancy.” He charged that Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League were working “to limit the options of women to just abortion.”
While proponents say the bill regulates crisis pregnancy centers, their materials have also listed Good Counsel maternity homes as such a center despite the nature of their work.
This fact, in Bell’s view, proves that “a lot” of the council’s information is “dubious at best and outright false at worst.”
He also questioned why there was no reaction to the investigations of the pro-life group Live Action, which has filmed Planned Parenthood staff advising underage girls how they may have abortions so that their parents do not learn they were allegedly impregnated by much-older men.
NARAL Pro-Choice New York has also targeted Expectant Mother Care (EMC) Frontline Pregnancy Centers. The organization runs 12 pro-life counseling centers for pregnant women.
Its president, Chris Slattery, called the proposal an “outrageous attack on the First Amendment rights of law-abiding, helpful resource centers.”
He said that EMC has saved over 38,000 women from abortions in the last 25 years. Because of this, Slattery thought, the New York City Council will “particularly focus its slanderous accusations against us.”
“We serve the abortion-bound clients they want to stop us from reaching.”
He charged that the proposal was a “set of unconstitutional laws to cripple our work with a new free speech-strangling bill to strictly regulate our advertising and outreach with the threats of staggering fines, and probable shutdowns of our offices aimed at crippling our work of ministry to abortion minded clients.”
Bell also warned that the legislation compels speech and is so broad that anyone counseling or aiding a pregnant woman could come under its jurisdiction “so that they can begin to write regulations on what you have to say and can’t say.”
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
“We’re not going to tolerate that,” said Bell.