Oakland City Council unanimously passed an ordinance recently tightening regulations around false advertisements by fake pregnancy clinics who suggest they perform abortions and instead try to dissuade people from having abortions.
The ordinance was put forward by Councilmembers Annie Campbell Washington, Rebecca Kaplan, Abel Guillén and City Attorney Barbara Parker.
As of last week, Oakland is the second city in the country to ban ads by socalled crisis pregnancy clinics that hold an anti-abortion agenda, focusing mainly on billboards and online ads.
The ordinance, which is effective immediately, fines clinics $50 to $500 per violation.
San Francisco passed a similar law in 2011.
According to Amy Everitt, NARAL Pro-Choice California director, a simple Google search for local abortion clinics near Oakland results in many centers that do not provide the service and are not registered with authorities.
“When (people) are seeking reproductive health care, it is time-sensitive and urgent,” Everitt told the Huffington Post.
When you put an entity or organization in the way that’s specifically targeting (reproductive health care seekers) to deceive them into wasting their time and delay them from accessing other care, what that creates for the women and families of California is a public harm.”
According to a Planned Parenthood spokesperson, anti-abortion centers outnumber Planned Parenthood’s 115 clinics in California.
Oakland City Attorney Parker also cited websites of several crisis pregnancy clinics that list false health risks of contraception and strongly discourage abortion.
“(Crisis pregnancy clinics) are a growing strategy in the anti-choice movement,” according to a statement by Councilmember Campbell Washington.
With national news around the presidential election focusing on reproductive rights, “we believe this cause is more important than ever,” she said.