There is a disturbing trend of states attempting to force pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion. The latest example comes from Hawaii, where a new law forces pregnancy centers in the state to promote and advertise a website where women can go for abortion coverage.
In response, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit representing A Place for Women in Waipoi and five other pregnancy resource centers affiliated with the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). ADF is challenging similar laws in California and Illinois.
Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor, a local church, operates A Place for Women in Waipio in its church building as part of its ministry. It offers “women of all ages a safe and supportive environment where they can seek information on the myriad of matters surrounding pregnancy and other women's issues.” It exists to care for the women who walk through the door and their unborn babies, not to promote a procedure that threatens psychological and physical harm to the mother and ends the baby’s life.
The Hawaii law requires medical and non-medical pregnancy centers to post a disclaimer that Hawaii has “family planning” programs, including free or low-cost contraceptives and other pregnancy-related services. At the least, pregnancy centers must provide the website where women can find information on these “family planning” services. And while the disclaimer does not explicitly mention abortion, Hawaii’s Medicaid program lists it as one of their services (despite the fact that ending a baby’s life has nothing to do with planning a family).
It appears that this law directly targets Hawaii’s pro-life pregnancy centers.
The law states that health care facilities that provide “comprehensive health care” are exempt from the law, though it doesn’t define what that means – leaving it to the state’s discretion. That leaves the state free to exempt abortionists like Planned Parenthood that also provide some other limited services.
For pregnancy centers dedicated to promoting life, this completely undermines their mission. And it violates their right not to be compelled to speak a message that contradicts their faith.
On top of that, the law allows private citizens to sue if a pregnancy center does not immediately place such a disclaimer on their premises. That means pro-abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL could file a lawsuit against a pregnancy center as soon as this law takes effect – which is not such a far-fetched possibility, considering that pro-abortion organizations view pregnancy resource centers as a threat.
Our Constitution ensures the right to free speech, including the right not to be forced to speak messages that violate our convictions. It should concern all of us that a state can force pro-life pregnancy centers to advocate for procedures that undermine their very reason for existing.
The State Should Never Force Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers to Advocate for Abortion
ADF is standing by these pregnancy resource centers and pro-life healthcare professionals to ensure that they are not compelled to speak a message that undermines their very mission and contradicts their ethical and religious beliefs.
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