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March 7, 2011 at 4:57 PM

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State House unlikely to take up pregnancy centers bill

Posted by Queenie Wong

A controversial bill that supporters say would increase transparency at limited-service pregnancy centers is unlikely to reach the House floor for a vote, the bill's lead sponsor says.

That means the proposal, HB 1366, appears dead at least for this year.

“It was a very difficult decision, but the time it takes to run a bill like that…it just takes up too much time,” said the bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island.

The bill would require limited-service pregnancy centers to notify patients up front what services they do not provide, such as birth control and abortion. The centers also would have to provide a free written statement of pregnancy test results immediately after the test is completed. Violators could face a civil action against them in Superior Court.

Limited-service pregnancy centers are not licensed medical facilities, but some offer services such as free pregnancy tests or ultrasounds. They’re often operated by groups opposed to abortion.

Opponents see the bill as an attack on organizations that oppose abortion and argue it could force the pregnancy centers to shut down because they would be more vulnerable to lawsuits.

Any bill that isn’t necessary to implement the budget must pass out of its chamber of origin by 5 p.m. Monday. The pregnancy center bill wasn't expected to meet that deadline.

Clibborn said earlier that she introduced the bill after hearing from groups such as Planned Parenthood that these centers might be providing false or misleading information about abortion, pregnancy and birth control. Some women also claimed that they had trouble obtaining their medical records or had to wait long periods of time for their pregnancy test results.

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