In observance of National Women's Health Week, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg joined Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in introducing the "Stop Deceptive Advertising For Women's Services Act" (SDAWS). The legislation would hold accountable facilities that deceptively advertise abortion services that they do not provide.
"It is outrageous for any health center to actively deceive patients about the medical services they offer, and falsely advertising as an abortion provider is absolutely shameful. This bill would put a stop to such deceptive practices," said Senator Lautenberg. "Women need honest information about their health care options, so we'll keep fighting to make sure no woman is drawn into a facility only to find out it refuses to offer the advertised services she needs."
"No one should ever be subjected to misleading information when they are seeking health care, especially during pregnancy," said Senator Menendez, the Senate sponsor of the bill. "We have worked too hard to expand the availability of women's health care services to have any confusion created by those who would deliberately deceive a woman to suit their own purposes. I am proud to be an original sponsor of this legislation that is aimed at reducing the risk of women encountering unnecessary worry, anxiety and interference with getting the health care they need."
"Deception has no place when a woman is seeking information about her health or a pregnancy," said Rep. Maloney, the House sponsor of the bill. "Women shouldn't be deliberately misled or coerced when they seek legitimate medical services. This bill gives the Federal Trade Commission the ability to investigate reports on misleading claims in the same way the FTC can for other consumer products and services. While I will defend crisis centers' First Amendment rights even though I disagree with their view of abortion, those that practice bait-and-switch should be held accountable so that pregnant women are not deceived at an extremely vulnerable time in their lives."
"Deceptive practices that prey on women at pregnancy centers are particularly repugnant and reprehensible--and should be strictly punished and stopped," said Blumenthal, a co-sponsor of the bill. "This bill would end misleading and false pitches that exploit women seeking vital health care."
The SDAWS Act (S. 981) directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to promulgate rules declaring it an unfair or deceptive act for an entity, such as a crisis pregnancy center, to advertise as a provider of abortion services if the entity does not in fact provide such services. Organizations that are not deceptive in their advertising or marketing will not be impacted by this bill. The bill has 11 cosponsors in the House.