U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is calling for the state and federal government to crack down on “crisis pregnancy centers,” which she says pretend to offer legitimate abortion services, but instead gather personal information and then harass pregnant women seeking the procedure.
Warren said she has co-introduced legislation on the federal level, the “Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act,” which would be aimed at stopping those “front” centers from employing false advertising to dissuade pregnant women from getting abortions.
Employees at these centers would be required to disclose that they are not abortion providers, Warren said at a Beyond Roe Coalition strategy discussion, held at the JFK Building Wednesday, in response to last week’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“People walk into crisis pregnancy centers believing that they are about to get an abortion,” Warren said. “They give medical information, personal information, financial information over to people who are not following the rules that doctors do, (as far as) protecting that information.
“In fact, they are giving it over to people who wish them harm, and that has to stop and we need to stop that in Massachusetts right now,” she added.
Warren urged the Legislature to seek similar legislation on the state level, saying that in Massachusetts, crisis pregnancy centers outnumber legitimate abortion services by a “3-1″ margin.
“The idea that centers have grown up to prey on people who are pregnant and vulnerable, and seeking help, is fundamentally wrong,” she said.
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said the federal strategy needs to be focused on expanding the Supreme Court — which President Joe Biden opposes — and abolishing the filibuster, with the aim of codifying Roe v. Wade and preventing a nationwide abortion ban.
On Wednesday, the House debated a bill that would seek to codify Gov. Charlie Baker’s executive order, which provides protections for providers and out-of-state women seeking abortion services in the Massachusetts; mandate that insurance companies cover the cost of abortion services; and change a 2020 state law to allow for the procedure to be performed after 24 weeks in instances of severe, rather than only fatal, fetal anomalies.
Warren and Markey praised the steps that Baker and the State House were taking, but said more needs to be done to ensure Massachusetts is a safe haven for out-of-state women seeking abortion services.
“It’s very simple,” Markey said. “Abortion is health care and health care is a human right.”
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