Democratic Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a law Thursday that threatens crisis pregnancy centers with up to $50,000 in fines if they spread “misinformation.”
Senate Bill 1909, which the state legislature passed in May, prohibits pregnancy resource centers from using “deceptive acts” to advertise their services to women in attempts to lead them away from getting an abortion. Pregnancy resource centers that do not offer abortions or abortion referrals can be fined a civil penalty of up to $50,000 for deception aimed at preventing women from seeking or obtaining abortions or emergency contraceptives.
“A limited services pregnancy center shall not engage in unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including the use or employment of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation, or the concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact,” the law states.
The law further prohibits pregnancy centers from using deceptive practices “to induce an individual to enter or access the limited services pregnancy center.”
The law seeks to address “misinformation” it says has been spread by pregnancy resource centers across the state, according to the law, claiming that these centers have “misled” Illinois residents through their advertising practices to attract them away from abortion.
“These organizations pay for advertising, including online and on billboards and public transportation, that is intended to attract consumers to their organizations and away from medical providers that offer comprehensive reproductive care,” the law states.
Pritzker said in a press release Thursday that pregnancy resource centers are “politically motivated” and have deceived pregnant women who need medical care about the services they offer, according to the press release.
“Women need access to comprehensive, fact-based healthcare when making critical decision about their own health—not manipulation or misinformation from politically motivated, non-medical actors,” Pritzker stated in the press release.
Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton echoed Pritzker’s statement in the same press release.
“Misinformation is a form of injustice, particularly when it is used in an attempt to control women’s healthcare decisions,” she said.
Pritzker’s office shared a press release and did not immediately offer further comment.
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