SEATTLE, Washington, August 16, 2017 –The new King County Health Department regulation (BOH 17- 04) is set to go into effect this month, requiring limited service pregnancy centers (LSPC) to notify clients in advertising and in the waiting room that, “This facility is not a health care facility.”
Evidence given in support of the bill was a white paper provided by the progressive feminist group Legal Voice, and a Board of Health staff report which heavily relied on sources from Legal Voice and sister organizations NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii. Both reports named organizations as examples of such LSPCs which would fall under this regulation, including the Seattle women’s health clinic 3W Medical for Women, based upon the testimony of an undercover “tester” from Legal Voice.
The Board’s purported interest in passing the regulation was to ensure “that women who might be pregnant are notified” about whether facilities they visit “for ultrasound, pregnancy testing or pregnancy diagnosis or pregnancy options counseling are health care facilities.” Dr. Susan Rutherford, respected local OB/GYN and Medical Director of 3W, agrees that non-medical facilities should be acknowledged as such, but knows that her medical clinic should not be included in such a list. “Given the regulation’s stated purpose, Public Health Seattle and King County should not enforce the rule against 3W,” stated Dr. Rutherford. “Any attempt to impose this rule on 3W would raise serious doubts about whether the Board is pursuing the public interest as it says, or whether it is attempting to punish those who do not offer the medical services promoted by Legal Voice and similar organizations.”
The Board of Health Staff Report specified that some entities may be wrongly identified as LSPCs by organizations “monitoring LSPC-like entities or activities, [and] may provide medical care or health care by health care professionals in the scope of their licenses. Such entities fall within the scope of state regulations and are not the subject of rule and regulation BOH17-04.” Helen Nguyen, Executive Director of 3W Medical, looks forward to confirmation from the Public Health Department that they will follow through on this statement. “We hope to be proven wrong that they are not targeting us for political points.” The regulation goes into effect 30 days after the regulation was passed, utilizing a complaint-based system. It is expected that representatives of Legal Voice and similar organizations will be sent out to 3W and other organizations named in the report, submitting complaints when they encounter a facility that is not posting the sign.
Learn more about 3W Medical and how to support their healthcare services at 3wmedical.org.
Susan Rutherford MD