Student government representatives grappled with the issue of restricting on-campus advertising by Crisis Pregnancy Centers during last night’s Associated Students Legislative Council meeting.
If passed, the resolution would require the centers — which offer free pregnancy tests and abortion counseling — to include the disclaimer “This facility does not provide abortion, birth control, or comprehensive information regarding sexual and reproductive health” on all publications. The resolution specifically hopes to target advertisements by Network Medical, a CPC located on Patterson St. downtown that advertises in UCSB’s quarterly coupon book.
There are over 20 CPCs in the tri-country region, twice the amount of medical centers dedicated to reproductive health.
Dana Bass, a fourth-year sociology and environmental studies major, said CPCs are religiously-affiliated, non-medical facilities that do not have regularly staffed medical professionals and knowingly provide women with misleading information.
“The abortion information these clinics give is completely wrong,” Bass said. “Also, the testing they do provide is unclear because the clinics are not medical facilities since they cannot provide certain services legally.”
According to fourth-year feminist studies major Jessica Moore, the resolution is a nonpartisan attempt to protect students’ reproductive health.
“This is not an attempt to restrict freedom of speech nor is it an attempt to draft a resolution pushing a pro-life or pro-choice agenda,” Moore said. “Rather, this resolution is to ensure our peers are not misled by the use of false advertising and inaccurate medical information.”
Grace Morrison, a second-year feminist studies and global studies major, said the counseling services offered by such clinics often complicate women’s decisions.
“I felt shame when I would visit and leave these clinics,” Morrison said. “In Ventura, the lady was going on saying, ‘Sometimes women think me, me, me’ … [it] makes you feel really selfish, shamed and super guilty.”
According to fourth-year sociology major Brooke Hofhenke, Network Medical conceals its affiliation with the religious organization Life Network, which disseminates deceptive information regarding the risks and consequences of abortion.
“On the Life Network website, we see they mention they are religiously affiliated and anti-abortion, and a link to the Network Medical site,” Hofhenke said. “Yet, when you hit the Network Medical site, it looks really unbiased but it has no link back to their original page connecting to their real agenda of erasing the need for abortion in Santa Barbara.”
The council tabled discussion of the resolution for further debate during next week’s meeting.