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Hartford Ordinance Would Restrict Advertising By Anti-Abortion Centers

The proposal, under review by the Hartford City Council, comes after complaints about the Hartford Women's Center, which opened earlier this year.

It's right near the Hartford GYN Center, which provides abortions. The new facility is operated by Saint Gerard's Center for Life — though that's nowhere on the sign — and all patients have to pass by to get to the abortion provider.

The Connecticut chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League says staff at the new office have approached women and said, "your appointment is with us. Come in."

The director of Saint Gerard's, Leticia Velasquez, denies the charge, but acknowledges women don't always find out who's behind the center when conversations begin.

"Sometimes, they wait until they come in and talk to us," she said. "The door's always open. They're free to walk out and we've had two women choose to walk out. And that's their decision. It's legal."

The ordinance wouldn't govern what anti-abortion centers tell people, but proponents hope that by banning deceptive advertising, women will be more aware of their agenda.

A committee of the Hartford City Council will take up the issue Monday. 

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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