Limited Service Pregnancy Centers (LSPC), sometimes known as anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers, are facilities (including mobile facilities), which dissuade women from seeking abortion care and push an anti-abortion agenda while seeking to provide services to clients who are or may be pregnant. LSPCs are not licensed health care facilities and typically does not have a licensed health care providers on staff; they also do not provide/refer patients for the full range of comprehensive reproductive and sexual health care services (contraception, testing/treatment of sexually transmitted infections, abortion care, and prenatal care).
S. 6331 would authorize the Commissioner of Health to conduct a study and issue a report examining the unmet health and resource needs facing pregnant women in New York and the impact of limited-service pregnancy centers on the ability of women to obtain accurate, non-coercive health care information and timely access to a comprehensive range of reproductive and sexual health care services.
Decisions about pregnancy are time sensitive, whether a woman chooses to continue her pregnancy and needs prenatal care or wants to end her pregnancy and needs an abortion. If a woman becomes pregnant and chooses to continue the pregnancy, having a healthy pregnancy is critical both to her health and to ensuring positive pregnancy outcomes. Delayed access to prenatal care, abortion care, and emergency contraception all pose threats to public health.
New York State has prioritized improving access to adequate and early prenatal care, timely abortion care, and emergency contraception, as well as, and in connection to, reducing maternal mortality and morbidity rates and disparities. To that end, identifying gaps in health care and unmet resource and pregnancy-support needs, in particular for low-income communities, is critical to achieving optimal health outcomes for women who are or may be pregnant.
Meeting the health and resource needs of pregnant women, as well as the potential negative impact of certain practices by unlicensed facilities that offer limited pregnancy services, are matters of state concern and understanding those practices, how to address any resulting harms, and how to support pregnant women’s unfulfilled health care and resource needs are important exercises of the legislature’s constitutional mandate to protect the public health.
S6331 will help us better understand the impact of Limited Service Pregnancy Centers to allow the state to properly regulate them to protect public health.