The subpoenas against EMC were dropped without comment. To date, no one has ever successfully sued EMC for false advertising.

But the city remained concerned about groups holding themselves out as medical providers. In 2011, the City Council passed a law requiring crisis pregnancy centers to openly specify the services they don't provide—like abortions and emergency contraception—and whether they have a doctor on staff.

A federal judge struck down that law. The American Center for Law and Justice, a Christian version of the ACLU, has argued that requiring those signs violates the centers' right to freedom of speech and religion. The case is before a federal appeals court, with a decision expected soon.

Chris Slattery, EMC founder and president, in the chapel of his Bronx office.
Caleb Ferguson
Chris Slattery, EMC founder and president, in the chapel of his Bronx office.
The exterior of Chris Slattery's office.
Caleb Ferguson
The exterior of Chris Slattery's office.

Meanwhile, Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has spent years trying to pass the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Health Services Act. It calls for the Federal Trade Commission to regulate CPCs and the way they market themselves to the public.

"A number of young women who were very upset by their experiences came to me," Maloney says. "The first rules of medicine should always be: Don't make it worse." Her bill, she says, "would force [the centers] to tell the truth."

But Maloney's bill has stumbled over the past seven years in the Republican-dominated House. And Slattery remains defiant, calling Schneiderman's subpoena a politically motivated "witch-hunt," the city's proposal unconstitutional, and Maloney's efforts "a stupid little bill she does for self-promotion."

As his language indicates, he isn't hesitant to play the victim card. EMC's website has an entire section devoted to "Attacks on EMC." And when he began to fear that the Voice would mischaracterize his operation, he threatened the paper with litigation.

"I will sue the Village Voice and you personally," he shouted through the phone. "I've had so many idiots writing stories. They know nothing about what they're talking about, and their only agenda is to smear me. I will sue you guys if you get this one wrong. I just want you to tell the truth. If you have any self-respect, you'll get this right."

When he calms, Slattery says he's confident that no one will succeed in shutting EMC down. But he sounds tired.

"I've been going through this since 1987," he says. "I'm 58 years old. How many more of these do I have to go through? This is just a distraction. I'm out there trying to save babies. I'm busy."

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