The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday gave initial approval to an ordinance that prohibits “crisis pregnancy centers” from making misleading statements about services that they offer.

The ordinance, introduced by Supervisor Malia Cohen, was passed in a 10-1 vote by the board at this afternoon’s meeting. Supervisor Sean Elsbernd was the lone dissenting vote.

Cohen had joined City Attorney Dennis Herrera at a news conference in August about the three such “crisis pregnancy centers” in San Francisco.

Herrera said First Resort, a center located at 450 Sutter St., lists itself as an abortion counseling service in print and Internet advertising but is in fact a right-wing organization pushing an anti-abortion agenda.

First Resort CEO Shari Plunkeett released a statement following the Aug. 2 news conference saying the company “rejects in the strongest possible terms any representation that our advertising misleads women.”

Plunkett said, “We treat women with dignity and respect and respect their right to choose.”

Cohen has previously said the legislation is simply meant to protect consumer rights and not to regulate or dictate the type of services the centers can provide.

Elsbernd said he voted against the ordinance because “I think it’s a solution in search of a problem in San Francisco that does not exist.”

Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California, a group that advocates for abortion rights, released a statement praising the passing of the legislation.

“This ordinance will make a real difference in the lives of women living in San Francisco who find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy,” Everitt said.

“No one should be misled about the counseling or medical services that they are looking for, and by passing this ordinance, San Francisco continues its tradition of always standing up to protect reproductive health-care access for the most vulnerable members of our community,” she said.

The legislation will return in front of the board next week for final approval.

Image: What Every Woman Should Know, Susie Cagle for Cartoon Movement

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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