Press Release - Thursday, July 27, 2023
Gov. Pritzker Signs Bill Strengthening Protections Against Misinformation at ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers'
Chicago—Governor JB Pritzker signed SB1909 into law, also known as the Deceptive Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers Act. This law bars so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" from using misinformation, deceptive practices, or misrepresentation in order to interfere with access to abortion services or emergency contraception. The law allows the Illinois Attorney General to investigate complaints against centers using such tactics and strengthens the AG's Offices power to prosecute incidences of consumer fraud in such cases.
"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," said Governor JB Pritzker. "By empowering the Attorney General's office to battle deceptive practices, we're ensuring
Illinoisans can make their own decisions about their bodies using accurate and safe information."
"Misinformation is a form of injustice, particularly when it is used in an attempt to control women's healthcare decisions," said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. "In Illinois, we refuse to accept anything less than bodily autonomy for all, and that includes the right to accessible and accurate medical information. We are committed to protecting Illinoisans from these manipulative tactics and ensuring all have the power to choose what is best for their futures."
"I witnessed deceptive crisis pregnancy center tactics firsthand on a visit to tour a Planned Parenthood health center in Illinois. People who appeared as though they might work there were outside attempting to divert patients away from the health center," Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. "Patients report going to crisis pregnancy centers - sometimes even receiving exams and ultrasounds - thinking they were visiting a clinic that offers the full range of reproductive care. As a result, patients may disclose personal medical information, unaware the center may not keep that information private and confidential. By signing this law at a time when reproductive health access faces continued attacks in other states, Governor Pritzker is helping to protect patients who seek care in Illinois from these extreme violations of trust and privacy."
"Crisis pregnancy centers," which are often located near facilities that offer full-service abortion or contraceptive care, are non-regulated and at times even nonmedical facilities. As such, they are not subject to laws regarding confidentiality or accuracy as laid out by medical governing boards. Over 100 of these centers exist in Illinois. Many of these centers advertise to women unsure about continuing a pregnancy, and present inaccurate information on risks of procedures, fetal development, and other aspects of reproductive healthcare to discourage patients from accessing abortion or emergency contraceptive services.
The Deceptive Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers Act clarifies how the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act applies to crisis pregnancy centers. Centers are not required to provide information about abortion or emergency contraceptives but cannot give incorrect information or use false advertising to attract clients. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that states strengthen laws against these centers to preserve patient safety. The law is effective immediately upon signing.
Governor Pritzker has made access to reproductive healthcare a cornerstone of his administration. The Governor signed legislation requiring insurance coverage for abortion and birth control services and lowering costs for Medicaid patients. He has also signed legislation protecting providers from outside litigation for assisting patients travelling out of state and expanded insurance coverage for off-label use for abortion drugs like misoprostol.