Saturday, July 31, 2010

Austin Pregnancy Resource Center Fails to Comply with City Signage Ordinance

The Austin Pregnancy Resource Center from the sidewalk on Rio Grande

In early April of this year the Austin City Council followed Baltimore's example and passed an ordinance requiring crisis pregnancy centers that do not provide abortion or birth control (or referrals to providers who do) to post signs making that clear to potential "clients."

CPCs in Texas receive both federal and state funding for the non-services they provide, so Austin putting them under the magnifying glass is a powerful statement, even if the penalty is a mere $450 and a Class C misdemeanor.

One of the CPCs, Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, is conveniently located right in West Campus, in the midst of most of the fraternity and sorority housing near the University of Texas at Austin.

The ordinance was passed on April 8 and the text, which was obtained by the Austin Chronicle, is below:
The owner or operator of a limited service pregnancy center shall prominently display, at the entrance of the Center, two black and white signs, one in English and one in Spanish, that state as follows: "(A)This Center does not provide abortions or refer to abortion providers. This Center does not provide or refer to providers of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved birth control drugs and medical devices. (B) Each sign must be at least eight and one-half inches by eleven inches high and the text must be in a font size of at least 48 point."
As of July 30, APRC failed to display any signage in compliance with the ordinance. See the photos of the "client" entrance below, both close-up and from the street.

From the entry walk on Rio Grande

From the front steps

Front door signs, in English only: "Door bell does not work. Please come in." and "Hours of Operation. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Thursday and Friday, 10:00 am- 3:00 pm. Saturday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. (Closed Sunday)"

The APRC puts up flyers on campus and must have supporters in high places in order to maintain its high-rent location. A misdemeanor and $450 probably won't set them back much, but the law is the law. But why not write City Councilman Bill Spelman, who sponsored the bill, and let him know you want this law enforced?

No comments:

Post a Comment