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Dembowski statement on Supreme Court Crisis Pregnancy Center ruling


“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is an unfortunate step backward for women’s reproductive health care in America”


In 2017, the King County Board of Health took steps to inform visitors to Crisis Pregnancy Centers (“CPCs”) about the limited nature of the services the centers offer and provide. The Rule & Regulation adopted by the Board (No. BOH17-04.2) requires CPCs to post a notice on-site and in their advertising stating “This facility is not a health care facility.”

King County Board of Health Chair Rod Dembowski released the following statement today regarding the United States Supreme Court decision on the California FACT Act in the case of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra:

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is an unfortunate step backward for women’s reproductive health care in America. Limiting information and enabling misleading practices in the reproductive health field puts women at risk.

“When I authored King County’s crisis pregnancy centers notice requirements, I worked with our legal team to carefully tailor our regulation to ensure compliance with the Constitution. We paid close attention to the California law and the legal challenges to it and similar laws around the country. We intentionally crafted King County’s rule to be less broad than the California FACT Act disclosure requirements, while still ensuring that women who are or may be pregnant understand that limited service pregnancy centers are not health care facilities.

“The Supreme Court made clear in their decision today that they “express[ed] no view on the legality of a similar disclosure requirement that is better supported or less burdensome.” NIFLA v. Beceerra at 20 (bold added). King County’s Rule and Regulation is both better supported and less burdensome. It was based on a strong and extensive factual record showing the confusing practices and adverse impacts to women in King County. The Board of Health adopted strong and detailed findings to support the rule after hearing extensive oral and written testimony. In addition, our rule is less burdensome than the California rule struck down by the Court today.

“I am reviewing the Court’s decision with our legal team. If we need to fine tune the particulars of the form of the disclosure, we will do so. Regardless, I am optimistic that the County’s more narrow regulation that was supported with a strong factual record is constitutional and will remain in place. I will fight to protect this critical public health notice that offers essential information for women in King County such that they have an understanding of the types of services they may or may not receive when walking into a crisis pregnancy center.”

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