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Pregnancy Clinic Under Attack From San Francisco Politicians

SF Supervisor and City Attorney claim First Resort Clinic intentionally misrepresents itself to further its anti-abortion policy.

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.

Gloria Linda Maldonnado August 09, 2011 at 03:40 AM
I believe the title of the article is misleading and incendiary. All that is being asked is that the clinic adhere to state law and state truthfully the services they provide. That is not an "attack" it just requires the clinic to be truthful in the services it provides or doesn't provide. Your bias against reproductive rights is obvious in your reporting. Gloria Linda Maldonado g
Amy Michelle Roy August 09, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Pregnancy resource clinics advertise as Abortion Alternatives, in other words, they offer help for pregnancy and not abortion. Like "reproductive services" places really help with all reproductive services. They don't offer help with food, shelter, clothing, education, job training, parenting classes, baby items, etc. like pregnancy resource centers do. Reproductive health centers don't even allow women to see the ultrasound before abortion, which it's required to show a patient their x-rays and other reports and images before any major surgery.You all refer to that as "harassment", "unnecessary", "burdening", and the like. You tell people that a heartbeat is a "heart tone", and that what is inside a woman is not a child or baby, but a fetus, pregnancy, or "product of conception". Just so you know, fetus means baby in Latin. Child can be defined as, "Any person or thing regarded as the product or result of particular agencies, influences, etc." In other words, the product of conception can be called a child. The medical definition of a child is, "an unborn or recently born person", or, "An unborn infant; a fetus". You all say that what is inside the woman is "just a few cells", or, "a little bit of tissue." Just so you know, by the time a woman finds out she's pregnant, the child is almost complete, and just needs to grow. S/he has all appendages and all organs, including a heart and a brain. Your bias against the life of an unborn child is obvious.
gail lynch August 10, 2011 at 04:23 AM
Amy's statement is factual and well presented. Good job.
Christopher Shaw August 10, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Many who identify themselves as "pro-choice" are not really pro-choice at all. The pregnancy centers made a choice to NOT provide abortions or recommend them, but instead they provide counseling on the numerous alternatives to abortion and offer free or low-cost resources to expectant mothers--all at no cost to the taxpayers. And this drives the San Francisco liberals absolutely nuts.
Jack Hickey August 10, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Stacie, thank you for presenting this topic. I am inspired to support First Resort and I urge others to do likewise. Even those who support Planned Parenthood should consider supporting First Resort. Go to: http://www.firstresort.org/site/PageServer?pagename=donations

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