Regulate Crisis Pregnancy Centers? Checking In With Other Massachusetts Municipalities That Have Considered The Move

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Several Massachusetts municipalities have considered passing measures regulating crisis pregnancy centers during the past year and a half, but have pulled back. Is that because the state’s chief law enforcement office has told them they won’t survive court challenges?

Last week, two Worcester officials revealed that when they requested advice from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, they were told that the office did not recommend the policy. Those officials are Worcester city manager Eric Batista and city solicitor Michael Traynor.

A Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office spokesman has so far not responded to requests for comment late last week.

In Massachusetts, the city of Cambridge and the city of Somerville are the only local governments to adopt such a measure. The city council in Easthampton passed such a measure, but the mayor vetoed it. Comparable efforts in Amherst have fallen short.

NewBostonPost, in recent days, has contacted local governments that either considered or adopted similar measures to see if they had requested advice about them from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.

Somerville became the first Massachusetts municipality to adopt the crisis pregnancy center ordinance, in March 2022. 

David Shapiro, deputy city solicitor of Somerville, noted in an email message Friday, July 21, to New Boston Post that the city “does not submit ordinances to the Attorney General for review and approval since it is not required by law.”

After New Boston Post followed up, Shapiro confirmed that city officials in Somerville did not ask the state Attorney General’s office for advice on regulating crisis pregnancy centers, either formally or informally.

Also, on Friday, July 21, Leora Mallach, city councilor in Framingham, said that she was “not aware that we sought guidance from the attorney general’s office, or if we did, I was not privy to the correspondence.” Framingham officials discussed the measure in November 2022, but the matter has not come up again.

NewBostonPost also contacted the mayor of Easthampton, Nicole LaChapelle, who vetoed a crisis pregnancy center ordinance adopted by the city council earlier this month. The council passed the ordinance on July 5, but the mayor vetoed it on July 6.

In a letter to the council, LaChapelle used reasoning similar to Traynor’s.

“Even with our City Solicitor assuring the ordinance’s legal merit, we know it will face legal challenges by well-funded organizations intent on limiting the rights of women and the LGBTQIA+ community,” LaChapelle wrote, according to “We won’t have to guess about that because we’ve already seen the discourse right here. It does not matter how frivolous; the City is still put in the position of having to defend itself for replicating the efforts of the state and other sources referenced by members of the City Council.”

Spokesmen for the city councils in Amherst, Boston, Cambridge, and Easthampton could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday, July 20, or Friday, July 21.

The Massachusetts legislature is considering a bill with a similar aim. A legislative committee hearing took place Monday, July 24.

The comments made by the Worcester officials included Traynor’s, who provides legal advice for Worcester in his role as city counsel. Traynor said during a meeting Worcester City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 18, that when he consulted the attorney general’s office, he was told that “the AG’s office was not recommending that people, that other cities or towns adopt any more of these ordinances.” 

“They felt the state law was in place, Chapter 93A, deceptive practices, and they were concerned about lawsuits for the communities. And so they just said, informally, we’re not recommending you go forward. They didn’t tell me not to do it, they didn’t say you can’t do it, it was just this is what they were recommending to other towns, because the towns are more frequently in touch with the AG’s office on adoption of bylaws than cities are,” he continued.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has, in recent decades, been dominated by abortion supporters. In July 2022, the attorney general of the time, Maura Healey, issued a warning against crisis pregnancy centers given the “limited and potentially misleading nature of the services” they provide. Healey’s successor, current state attorney general Andrea Campbell, ran on a platform to “Expose Crisis Pregnancy Centers that intentionally provide medically inaccurate and dangerous information to those experiencing pregnancy.”



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