SEATTLE, Washington, August 3, 2017 –A recent regulation passed by the King County Board of Health requires limited service pregnancy centers (LSPC) to notify in advertisements and in waiting rooms the sentence, “This facility is not a health care facility.” 3W Medical for Women, a new women’s medical clinic in the University District, was inaccurately named in an accompanying document as one of several King County LSPCs that must comply with the regulation.
The Board of Health regulation cited the need for all women to “have access to comprehensive family planning and reproductive health care services” as the reason why the regulation was necessary, saying that the lack of this notification poses a threat to the public health (BOH17-04 Section 1A and 1B).
“The message that the Board of Health is sending is that providing “comprehensive” services requires including abortion and contraception. They forget that many highly regarded physicians do not perform or refer for abortion and/or decline to place contraceptive devices. There are lots of places patients can go for those services, but what’s often needed in the standard medical system now is a place where patients can go in depth with their questions,” explained Dr. Susan Rutherford, Medical Director and President of 3W Medical for Women. “When was the last time you had an hour-long appointment with your doctor? We make the time to fully discuss all options and to answer our patients’ questions in a way that exceeds what is possible in other clinic.”
The regulation defined a limited service pregnancy center as “a facility that is not a health care facility and whose primary purpose is to provide either pregnancy options counseling or pregnancy tests, or both…” (BOH17-04, Section 5D). Not only is 3W a legitimate health care facility, but its primary purpose is not pregnancy options counseling or pregnancy testing. According to the 3W’s website, 3wmedical.org, the clinic’s mission is
“to respectfully provide compassionate evidence-based sexual health services and education necessary to make informed healthcare decisions.”
Also listed on the site is a list of available services which covers a wide range of women’s gynecologic needs such as well woman exams and STI/STD testing and treatment, in addition to pregnancy testing and obstetric ultrasound.
Other organizations listed as LSPCs are often known for providing support to pregnant or parenting mothers in need of parenting classes and material assistance such as diapers and baby clothes. Those that provide medical services make pregnancy testing and early ultrasound their priority, which is quite different from the wide array of services provided by 3W. “We have been inaccurately labeled as a pregnancy center. We are in a different category. We are a medical clinic, not a limited service pregnancy center,” said Helen Nguyen, 3W Executive Director.
Visit the 3W Medical Website to view their services or to make an appointment today at 3wmedical.org.
Susan Rutherford MD