A network of clinics with a branch in Redwood City is in the cross-hairs of the San Francisco City Attorney due to what is alleged to be dishonest business practices and false advertising regarding the clinic's abortion policy.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is claiming that , which has branches in Redwood City, San Francisco and Oakland, poses as a business aimed at helping women experiencing unwanted pregnancies who are considering abortion, according to a report from Herrera's office.
But when women go to receive care from First Resort, Herrera alleges the First Resort staff does everything in their power to dissuade the women from going forward with an abortion, said the report.
"They scare the hell out of women," said Matt Dorsey, spokesman for Herrera.
Dorsey continued to say that workers at First Resort attempt to force patients to take ultra sounds in order to establish an emotional connection between the woman and her child.
Dorsey also claimed it is practice at the the clinic to tell horror stories of botched abortions to patients in order to scare the women away from pursuing the process further.
"It is clear there is a complete disconnect from what the clinic is trying to bill itself as, and what its practices are," said Dorsey. "It's an insidious practice."
Herrera is working along with San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen to attempt to force the clinic to change the language advertising its services in order to clearly state that the clinic is an anti-abortion establishment.
The two politicians are alleging the clinic is out of compliance with state law which requires businesses to be honest about the services they provide. Cohen has also come forth with a new law for San Francisco which would strengthen the penalties that could be imposed on businesses caught misrepresenting their services.
Herrera is also accusing the clinic of utilizing the search functions on Google as a tool to further its anti-abortion policy, while hiding behind the facade of a "emergency pregnancy center."
He claims First Resort has paid the search engine to place its Web site as the top result for queries regarding abortions in San Francisco.
Herrera is alleging the company's practices are more closely aligned with its mission to achieve "an abortion-free world," than what is advertised to the public, according to the report.
Dorsey said there has been no communication between Herrera's office and that of Pamela Thompson, City Attorney of Redwood City.
Calls to the Thompson's office, as well as to a spokesperson for Redwood City, were not returned.
First Resort issued a statement defending itself from the allegations put forth by Herrera and Cohen.
"First Resort rejects in the strongest possible terms any representation that our advertising misleads women. We treat women with dignity and respect their right to choose," said that statement.
The company plans to dig in its heels and fight against the City of San Francisco, in regards to the effort to pass Cohen's proposed ordinance, according to the clinic's statement.
Herrera's office has sent a letter to First Resort CEO Shari Plunkett requesting the clinic alter the language on its Web site advertising its services by the end of the month.
Dorsey said First Resort has not yet to respond to the letter.
"We are confident that our clinic is a model and complies with all pertinent local, state and federal laws," said the clinic's statement.
A First Resort spokesperson was unavailable for further comment on the matter.
Dorsey said Herrera and Cohen will wait to hear back from the clinic before taking any further legal action.