Save the Life Centers by Opposing NYC's Local Law 17-2011
- NEW YORK CITY and National Media and Courts
- United States of America
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With 4.3 million abortions performed in New York City in the past 40 years, New York is the "Abortion Capital of America," with approximately 250 abortion providers in the market, according to NARAL, NY.
These numbers indicate there has been consistent, wide availability of abortion services for New York’s women, while access to abortion alternative centers has been far more limited, with only 23 locations (and some of these part-time) operating in all of New York City: a ten to one ratio.
Hear Dr. Alveda King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's niece, encouraging the signing of this petition
The NYC City Council's Bill #371A was passed overwhelmingly by a 39-9-1 vote on March 2nd, 2011, and signed into Local law 17-2011 by the Mayor on March 16th, 2011. It creates onerous, one-sided, unconstitutional speech regulations, with whopping, cruel and unusually harsh penalties for those centers it describes as "Pregnancy Services Centers."
The newly revised Local Law 17-2011, different than the original Bill #371 offered in October, 2010, narrows the scope of the life centers that are covered by the law.
To be covered, a center location must fit two or more criteria such as offering pregnancy tests, plus maintaining or operating medical equipment (ultrasounds), operating inside of a medical office or a clinic, having technicians present at any time, etc.
All NYC pregnancy centers have provided free options counseling, referrals and some form of material support, but only EMC FrontLine has offered free ultrasound and prenatal care, which no abortion facility in New York City provides.
The law passed on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 by a 39-9 vote law APPEARS, at this time, to apply only to the oldest and largest group of centers, EMC FrontLine. It might cover one other group which shares space with a Foot clinic.
On July 14th, 2011, EMC will be ordered to post onerous disclaimers on their doors, waiting room walls, and advertisements, and to make oral disclosures to all potential clients on the phone, internet, and in person that they do not perform abortions or provide referrals, distribute FDA-approved contraceptives or provide referrals, provide or refer for Emergency contraception, or "morning after pills" and recommend seeing a physician, elsewhere, if none are available on-site immediately, at each of their locations, where there is even an appearance of medical services provided (as described above.)
The draconian penalties for repeated violations of the above, include being shut down for five days after three violations, stiff fines of up to $2,500, and JAIL FOR UP TO SIX MONTHS for those who do not comply with the shut-down order, in addition to being subject to private lawsuits, which could include potential punitive damage claims.
The bill’s primary authors and co-sponsors, Councilwomen Jessica Lappin, and Speaker Christine Quinn have repeatedly made slanderous allegations that EMC Pregnancy Centers engaged in false and misleading advertising despite their advertising headline : “Free Abortion Alternatives," and copy points: free ultrasounds, free pregnancy tests, and free confidential options counseling, placed periodically on NY City subways and buses.
At the only public hearing on this bill, November 16, 2010, hypocritically, Planned Parenthood of NYC's president accused EMC of locating across the street and in the same building as two of their sites, and specifically in minority areas. Their abortion mills were opened long before EMC's alternative-to-abortion centers arrived near them.
According to New York Vital Statistics data, in the ten-year period (1999-2008), of the 922,272 abortions performed, 726,845 (79%) were Black and Hispanic babies.
In 2009, NYC saw an overall 41% abortion rate, and New York City Blacks in 2009 had 1,500 abortions for every 1,000 live births, representing a race in decline; rounded up percentage wise, this represents a 60% abortion rate.
These numbers point to a profound need for greater outreach to women of color, and expansion of alternatives- to-abortion services.
Without these centers and availability of free ultrasound services, easy to obtain pre-natal care and honest and compassionate assistance, there is only one option that women see and have: abortion. Without these centers, women have no true “choice.”
In a compassionate city such as New York, life-affirming pregnancy options and assistance, and professionally administered ultrasounds, ought to be celebrated and not legislated into oblivion!
We urge the pro-life community to help expose the injustice of this law, and to join our efforts to overturn this unconstitutional assault on our 1st and 14th Amendment rights through our lawsuit filed in the Federal Southern District Court in lower Manhattan.
The new NYC "Pregnancy Services Center" Local Law-17-2011:
1. Is An Assault on the FIRST AMENDMENT, EQUAL PROTECTION AND DUE PROCESS RIGHTS OF "Pregnancy Services Centers, (PSCs) RUN BY EQUAL CITIZENS whose rights will be flagrantly violated by this new law
(Two proofs: A FEDERAL JUDGE STRUCK DOWN A SIMILAR Signage Law IN BALTIMORE ON JAN. 28, 2011, BECAUSE IT VIOLATED THE FIRST AMENDMENT, and another FEDERAL JUDGE STRUCK DOWN, on March 15th, 2011, LARGE PARTS OF ANOTHER SIMILAR LAW IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD, WHICH ALSO IMPOSED SIGNAGE RESTRICTIONS ON PREGNANCY CENTERS.)
2. WAS BASED ON NO RECORDED COMPLAINTS in the city records, and no PSC has ever been the target of a single lawsuit in New York City history. (The same cannot be said of the abortion industry, with hundreds of recorded deaths and lawsuits against abortion providers over the past four decades. New York City and State have never moved to pass legislation to protect women from unscrupulous and incompetent abortion providers.)
3. HOLDS IN CONTEMPT THE GREAT FREE SERVICES OF ALL NYC pregnancy centers, all 23 sites, which give tens of thousands of annual hours of selfless staff and volunteer time. They provide needy women and girls thousands of referrals for emergency and long-term housing, job placement, adoption services, food and material supplies, immigration and legal aid, as well as emotional, spiritual, and therapeutic support, rarely, if ever, offered by abortionists.
(EMC FrontLine appears to have been uniquely targeted in the FINAL LOCAL LAW 17-2011 because among all the pregnancy centers in NYC it has been the only group to offer free ultrasounds and on site pre-natal care, in numerous locations, and, uniquely, some of its sites are located near, or in the same building as abortion facilities.)
4. REJECTS A TRUE CHOICE FOR WOMEN IN CRISIS by ATTACKING Life centers who provide subsidized, and early access to pre-natal care, crisis counseling, and material resources for women in need, giving them the chance to choose Life over abortion.
5. IGNORES THE SCORES OF NYC ABORTION MILLS WHICH DO NOT POST RISKS OR ADVERTISE the many scientifically verified complications of abortion***
6. PROTECTS CHILD PREDATORS, RAPISTS, and CHILD TRAFFICKING CRIMINALS who cannot, in most cases, be turned in to public authorities under this LAW, due to flaws in the Confidentiality requirements section.
*** Approximately 10% of women undergoing elective abortion will suffer immediate complications: of which approximately one-fifth are considered life threatening. The nine most common major complications which can occur at the time of an abortion are: infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury, and endotoxic shock. The most common "minor" complications include: infection, bleeding, fever, second-degree burns, chronic abdominal pain, vomiting, gastro-intestinal disturbances, and Rh sensitization.