Expectant Mother Care (EMC) is one of the most successful crisis pregnancy organizations in the entire country. Now in its 27th year of operation, EMC has served over 100,000 clients, saved more than 32,000 preborn children and continues to grow daily.
EMC is led by its founder, Chris Slattery. It is Slattery’s dedication and personal sacrifice that has always made the difference—not to mention the cohesive network of volunteers and supporters that EMC has attracted over the years. So is it any wonder that New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is poised to sign a City Council bill, passed this past Thursday, which would impose unnecessary regulations on EMC and potentially threaten its existence? And Bloomberg is going to do so without hearing one word of comment from the citizens.
Fortunately EMC’s legal team, led by American Center for Law and Justice’s (ACLJ) senior attorney, James Henderson, is on top of this. In a letter written to the mayor, Henderson points out that, by ignoring the public, the mayor is actually breaking the law. Furthermore, ACLJ has made it clear that the law violates EMC’s freedom of speech rights, noting that full service abortion clinics will not have to abide by the same regulation that would be imposed on crisis pregnancy centers.
The regulation, Bill 371, is draconian in its effect. The bill would,
• Force pro-life pregnancy centers to post on all advertising, doors, web sites, pamphlets, [and] waiting room walls paragraphs of government language listing what services they DON’T offer (no other organization has to do this) and state these paragraphs of government language verbally every time they pick up the phone or talk to anybody, under threat of the extreme penalties of jail time, personal lawsuits, thousands of dollars of fines, and police shutdown of volunteer pregnancy help centers run by generous volunteers charged with no wrongdoing and who have had zero charges, client complaints, or lawsuits filed against them.
• Force volunteers to comply with burdensome confidentiality regulations not required by other NYC non-profits or volunteer organizations, and which prohibit the reporting of rape/prostitution to the police, all with no evidence of any abuse of confidential information ever occurring by pro-life help centers.
The implications of such measures, if upheld in the law, would have a negative effect on pro-life pregnancy centers across the nation. What is being claimed by those who support the measure is that the sole purpose of the proposed law is to require “truth in advertising” because, according to abortion supporters, pro-life pregnancy centers look like medical offices!
Of course, this is not the case, but who is really paying attention to the facts?
Apparently the public understands the horrific effects of a law like this even though pundits and New York City lawmakers do not. For example, a Wall Street Journal online poll asked, “Should crisis pregnancy centers be required to disclose they don’t offer abortions or contraceptives?” As of this writing, 62.1 percent said no, while 37.9 percent said yes.
However, the public is not signing the measure. Mayor Bloomberg is handling that. And Slattery is not going to take it without a fight.
In Slattery’s own words,
I’m outraged at this extreme violation of the civil rights, particularly the First Amendment violation of our free speech, by the New York City Council. … And we plan on suing immediately upon the mayor’s signature on this bill. …
This will deny women access to free prenatal care [and] free ultrasounds, [and it] will squash our First Amendment rights to speak freely about our work without a half a dozen pejorative, negative statements to potential clients.
You and I can help to keep this from happening. This grave injustice can be stopped. Take action now by signing the online petition.
You could also contact Mayor Bloomberg at this site by using the official contact form. Or, if you prefer to e-mail him, you can do so at this address:
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Please help spread the word so that we can help protect, not only this amazing organization, but the lives of precious preborn babies.