SAN DIEGO — San Diego County Supervisor Vice Chair Terra Lawson-Remer is set to propose a new measure aimed at shutting down crisis pregnancy centers in San Diego during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Crisis pregnancy centers, which have become a new focus in the abortion debate, are “clinics” that look like a run-of-the-mill reproductive healthcare center, but are actually centers run by anti-abortion groups that are often not accredited to provide care to patients.
According to Dr. Toni Marengo with Planned Parenthood, these centers often use lies and scare tactics to lure unsuspecting pregnant people through their doors.
“Crisis pregnancy centers are dangerous,” said Marengo, who joined Lawson-Remer at a press conference on the issue Monday. “They are run by anti-abortion volunteers, who are not trained medical professionals, and who spread misinformation about abortion in service of their own political agenda.”
“They engage in deceptive and misleading practices in order to shame pregnant people,” she continued. “They do not give them accurate and science-backed information about all of their options.”
Earlier this year, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that he would be seeking ways to bring litigation against these centers, initiating the first two lawsuits in September.
Lawson-Remer said that this action is what prompted her to call on the board to take action towards addressing crisis pregnancy centers locally, proposing a measure that would direct the county’s lawyers to bring recommendations for possible lawsuits against them.
“We want to look at whether there is a pathway to pursue litigation locally to shut down the centers — building on the work that’s already being done in Sacramento, and across the rest of our state,” she said on Monday.
The measure would also request the county Chief Administrative Officer to develop a public education campaign plan to help educate women about what she says are the deceptive practices used by these clinics.
According to Lawson-Remer, there are as many as 16 questionable reproductive healthcare centers here in San Diego that are run by anti-abortion volunteers with no medical background.
A quick Google search pulls up at least one possible crisis pregnancy center called CAPS Pregnancy Services. The center advertises free testing, ultrasounds and a free pregnancy options “decision aid worksheet.”
FOX 5 called the center on Monday, but was referred to their parent company, a pro-life nonprofit called the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.
“We now are seeing (abortion) increasingly under assault nationwide,” Lawson-Remer said. “My commitment here in San Diego County is to do everything we can to protect our right to reproductive freedom here in our own county.”
FOX 5’s Danielle Dawson contributed to this report.