Somerville, MA; March 25, 2022 — Last night the Somerville City Council passed the Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) ordinance (Number 283570) “CONCERNING DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING PRACTICES OF LIMITED SERVICES PREGNANCY CENTERS.” According to the ordinance, a limited services pregnancy center that intends to perform a pregnancy related service, cannot publicly engage in false and deceptive advertising or disseminate misinformation or disinformation regarding pregnancy-related services. Each failure to comply with the requirements in the ordinance will be deemed a separate offense. Failure to comply can result in a fine of up to $300.
Councilor Kristen Strezo, At-Large City Councilor representing the City of Somerville, who is the lead sponsor of the ordinance, is “very proud of the CPC Ordinance as it can make a direct impact on many residents’ lives, ensuring that my constituents have the dignity to make their own medical decisions based on accurate healthcare information. This shows my continued commitment to the protection of abortion rights, access to reproductive health care, and an individual’s right to make reproductive decisions about one’s own body. I am proud to say that Somerville is the first city in Massachusetts to pass such an ordinance and affirm that abortion is healthcare, a basic right afforded to all its residents.”
Dr. Nate Horwitz-Willis, Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (PPAF) applauded the Somerville City Council’s initiative to pass this ordinance. He declared, “Organizations that peddle themselves as health care providers but do not have licensed medical professionals on staff, spread misinformation that can be harmful for people and delay their care. Often, these people are lured in by the promise of cheap or free medical care. They are predominantly Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with disabilities, young people, immigrants, and those having difficulty making ends meet — all groups who already face systemic barriers to care.”
He thanked the entire city council for choosing to sign on as co-sponsors of the ordinance. Additionally, he also thanked the mayor and the entire City of Somerville for their support of reproductive rights and reproductive justice. Moreover, he encouraged other cities to follow in Somerville’s footsteps.
The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (PPAF) is the advocacy and political arm of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM). Formed in 1984, PPAF believes that working within the political process is critical to advancing PPLM’s mission to increase access to sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education for people and families across Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.pplmvotes.org.