Hartford Changes Rules for Pregnancy Crisis Centers

A significant change to the way anti-abortion facilities in Hartford can operate is now a reality.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin announced the Pregnancy Information Disclosure and Protection Ordinance Rule at City Hall Wednesday. The rule requires crisis pregnancy centers, which typically steer women away from abortion, to disclose in writing at their entryways that they do not have a licensed medical professional on site to provide or supervise services.

The ordinance is aimed at facilities like the Hartford Women’s Center, which does not provide abortion services. It is located directly across from the Hartford GYN Center, which does offer abortion centers. The Mayor believes some women have been lured to the Women’s Center through deceptive practices.

“When women are making choices that affect their lives, their health, they deserve to have full information and they deserve to not be deceived about what services are provided,” said Bronin. “As of October 1 they’re going to have to put a sign up at the front door and at reception and they’re going to have to tell those women who are coming in for care and for counseling that they don’t have medical personnel. It's really pretty simple,” he said.

Anti-abortion advocates at City Hall for the announcement say the ordinance unfairly targets organizations like theirs and deny employing deceptive practices targeting women.

“Our services are very clear that we don’t provide or perform abortions at our centers. It's all over our website. We answer that question if it's asked when ladies call us. But what we do help is those who want to carry to term or maybe want to receive other information on their pregnancy options such as adoption or abortion information,” said Molly Hurtado, executive director of the ABC Women’s Center.

No one from the Hartford Women’s Center was present at the announcement and repeated calls by NBC Connecticut for comment were not returned.

Anti-abortion advocacy group Family Institute of Connecticut does not represent the Hartford Women’s Center, but their Executive Director Peter Wolfgang says the organization has arranged legal counsel for the center and would not be opposed to legal action over this rule.

“This is what the City of Hartford wants to spend its time on, is attacking this poor center that just wants to help women who choose to carry their child to term. I think that’s nuts and I hope it does end up in court and I hope the city ends up paying,” Wolfgang said.

Bronin says he believes the ordinance is narrowly tailored and can withstand any legal challenges.

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