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Delaware Senate Democrats

Sen. Gay files legislation to expand access, increase transparency for reproductive health care

May 14, 2024

DOVER – As part of her ongoing effort to strengthen reproductive health care in the First State, Sen. Kyle Evans Gay on Monday filed two new bills to expand access to critical health services on college campuses and prevent unregulated, nonmedical facilities from misleading vulnerable Delawareans.

“Attacks on our ability to make responsible and informed decisions about our own reproductive health care have intensified dramatically since the U.S. Supreme Court threw out 50 years of legal precedent to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said Sen. Gay, a mother, a lawyer, and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Thanks to the foresight and hard work of lawmakers, medical professionals, and advocates, Delaware has remained a beacon of hope in the preservation of our reproductive liberty,” she said. “The bills I filed today will continue that work by expanding access to safe and reliable medical interventions for thousands of young adults, while protecting unsuspecting Delawareans from being fooled by so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ that use misinformation and deceptive business practices to discourage people from seeking those same services.”

Sponsored by Sen. Gay and House Majority Leader Melissa Minor-Brown, Senate Bill 300 would require crisis pregnancy centers to post signage and add disclaimers to their marketing that clearly states their facility is not licensed by the State of Delaware and employs no licensed medical provider.

In recent years, new concerns have emerged around crisis pregnancy centers, a term commonly used to describe facilities that represent themselves as legitimate reproductive health care clinics while actually working to dissuade people from accessing abortion care and contraception, often using dangerous misinformation.

While crisis pregnancy centers far outnumbered abortion clinics nationally even before the 2022 Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade, millions of women are now left with nowhere else to turn after a wave of state restrictions on abortion legitimate reproductive health providers to close their doors.

Because crisis pregnancy centers typically provide no actual medical care, they often operate outside of state regulation and oversight, are not subject to client confidentiality laws and are not required to disclose their association with national pro-life organizations.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, public health advocates, and state attorneys general have all issued consumer alert warnings about crisis pregnancy centers to make the public more aware of their deceptive practices.

SB 300 would require crisis pregnancy centers to post 11-by-17-inch disclaimer signs in 80-point type and in multiple languages at the entrance to their facilities, as well as include the same disclaimer in print and digital advertisements. Centers that fail to post those disclaimers would face a $500 fine for their first offense and a $2,500 fine for each subsequent offense.

“It’s been nearly two years since Roe v. Wade was overturned, and in that time, we have seen an extraordinary escalation in attacks on reproductive healthcare across the country. Women are seeing their right to choose stripped away, and that has led to fear and desperation,” said Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown. “In Delaware, we want to make sure that reproductive healthcare from licensed providers is safe and accessible, and that so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ are not able to take advantage of vulnerable women looking for help. I am proud to work with Sen. Gay in ensuring that those seeking reproductive healthcare can safely find what they need without being bogged down by misinformation from illegitimate clinic.”

Sponsored by Sen. Gay and Rep. Cyndie Romer, Senate Bill 301 would require colleges and universities in Delaware with student health centers to offer medication for the termination of pregnancy and emergency contraception, starting on July 1, 2025.

The bill also would allow colleges and universities to require people seeking those services to first consult with health providers employed by a student health center, a contracted provider, or through a telehealth service.

California, New York, and Massachusetts have a similar requirement for certain public colleges and universities.

“Delaware has taken significant steps to protect reproductive freedoms following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but we can’t ignore the fact that very real barriers to care and access still exist,” Rep. Romer said. “SB 301 will go a long way toward removing those barriers and ensure that no one has to leave school or disrupt their education due to lack of services. It’s a crucial step towards guaranteeing every student can access essential healthcare without sacrificing their academic pursuits.”

SB 300 and SB 301 have been assigned to the Senate Health & Social Services Committee.

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