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3 LA pregnancy centers no longer violating state law

Jerry Lai via Flickr Creative Commons

Three "crisis pregnancy centers" that were violating a new state law have now posted the required signage, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said Thursday.

Last month, Feuer's office sent letters to three centers, notifying them that they were out of compliance with the law. One facility, Pregnancy Counseling Center in Mission Hills, is licensed by the state. The other two, Los Angeles Pregnancy Center in MacArthur Park and Harbor Pregnancy Help Center in Wilmington, are unlicensed.

The law, which took effect Jan. 1, requires licensed facilities that provide pregnancy-related services to notify clients that the state offers access to low-cost and free abortions. Unlicensed facilities must disclose that they’re not licensed by the state to provide medical care.

The centers had 30 days to correct the violations or face a civil penalty of $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

On Monday, investigators from the Los Angeles County Department of Business and Consumer Affairs determined that Los Angeles Pregnancy Center and Harbor Pregnancy Help Center had posted the necessary signage, Feuer said.

But Pregnancy Counseling Center was still violating the law. Feuer said he informed the center's lawyers on Tuesday that he would ask a court to order the facility to comply and to impose a penalty of up to $2,500 for each day of non-compliance.

Within hours, Pregnancy Counseling Center agreed to post the required notice, he said.

Every day a facility is not complying with the law "is a day where some number of women could potentially be misinformed about her reproductive options," said Feuer.

Pregnancy Counseling Center was closed when KPCC called seeking comment.

The state legislature passed the notification law in response to allegations that pregnancy centers withhold information about abortion and/or mislead their clients about its potential health effects as part of a systematic effort to persuade women not to undergo the procedure.

Feuer said two other pregnancy centers his office investigated are complying with the law, adding that his staff is still looking into another facility. 

A KPCC investigation earlier this year found that six of eight pregnancy centers visited in L.A. County were not complying with the state law.

Some pregnancy centers are seeking to have the law thrown out in court. At least five separate lawsuits allege the law violates the facilities' freedoms of speech and religion.