County passes new rule for 'limited services pregnancy centers'

KING 5's Elisa Hahn reports.

The King County Board of Health voted Thursday to enact a new measure that would require "limited service pregnancy centers" to post a sign stating they are not medical clinics.  

"Frankly it's bullying, that's my first reaction," said Dr. Susan Rutherford, who runs 3W Medical in Seattle's University District.

Rutherford gave us a tour of the center she opened in April. They offer wellness exams, ultrasounds, and pregnancy tests, but no birth control, no abortions and no referral for those services.

Rutherford said her past work experience includes serving as the medical services director for women and children services at Evergreen Hospital. She wanted to provide an alternative to many clinics and primary care practices that provide contraceptives, or even abortions.

"There are lots of places they can go for those services, but what's often missing in the standard medical system now is a place where patients can go in depth with their questions," Rutherford said.

Rutherford's facility would be one of the so-called "limited services pregnancy centers" that under King County's new rule, will need to post a sign in the window stating it is not a medical clinic.

The hearing in front of the King County Board of Health brought both sides of the abortion rights issue together Thursday.

Councilmember Kathy Lambert, the lone dissenting vote, worried they're basing their decision on un-scientific research.

"With this, it limits your choice by saying you are not a health care facility when in fact you are," said Lambert.

Others on the board pointed out they're not shutting the centers down, just requiring them to post a sign on a piece of paper.

The centers will be policed on a complaint basis. Any of them that violate the new rule could face a $100 per day.
 
 

© 2017 KING-TV


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