Seattle City Council passes legislation to regulate so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a measure to regulate so-called “crisis pregnancy centers.”

These are described as clinics that appear to offer abortions but instead try to persuade clients to keep their babies.

According to a release from the council, Planned Parenthood notes, “Most crisis pregnancy centers aren’t legitimate medical clinics, so they don’t have to follow HIPAA and keep your information private, like most real health care providers do. These crisis pregnancy centers could even give your information to other anti-abortion organizations or use it to harass you. This could be especially concerning if you live in a state with anti-abortion laws.”

The legislation bans those centers from making false promises about the pregnancy-related services they offer.

“Crisis pregnancy centers are fake clinics that exist to surveil pregnant people and prevent their access to proper healthcare,” said councilmember Tammy Morales.

“Crisis pregnancy centers are pernicious organizations masquerading as health care to persuade pregnant people to not access medically-accurate, unbiased healthcare - exactly when they need it most. Since Seattle will remain a safe place for people seeking abortions, crisis pregnancy centers are likely to proliferate here, making today’s vote to regulate their false and harmful claims so vital,” said councilmember Lisa Herbold.

Violators could be fined up to $1,000 per incident as the law will be enforced by the Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services’ Consumer Protection Division.