Following in the footsteps of Illinois and California, Hawaii passed a law that forces pregnancy centers to promote abortion.
More specifically, the law requires both medical and non-medical pregnancy centers to post large signs or provide fliers which advertise that the “state of Hawaii provides free or low-cost access to comprehensive planning services.” The pregnancy centers are also required to provide a website address and phone number for the referral of those services—including abortion and contraception.
So, just to recap, in Hawaii, pro-life pregnancy centers, which are trying to prevent abortion, are being forced to promote abortion.
Alliance Defending Freedom will be challenging this law in court tomorrow. Besides the obvious – no one should be forced into abortion advocacy by the state – here are three reasons this law should be struck down:
1. 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. This leaves the state free to exempt abortionists like Planned Parenthood because they also provide some other limited services. It also allows private citizens to file suit against pregnancy centers if they do not post this information – leaving it open to pro-abortion groups and individuals to file lawsuits when this law takes effect.
2. This law forces pregnancy centers to speak a message against their very mission.
The First Amendment protects every American’s right to speak freely. It also protects our right not to be forced to speak a message that violates our beliefs. These pro-life pregnancy centers are dedicated to preventing abortions and helping women facing an unplanned pregnancy get the support they need. When a pregnant woman walks into their center, they are looking at two patients – a mother and her child. And to promote a procedure that kills the baby and threatens the mother with physical and emotional harm contradicts their very reason for existing.
3. This law promotes abortion rather than more “choice.”
These pro-life pregnancy centers provide women with the services they need in the face of an unplanned pregnancy. By forcing these pregnancy centers to promote abortion, the state of Hawaii is actually leaving women with fewer choices. It is pushing the narrative that abortion is a merciful – and even desirable – option and not the taking of an innocent life. These pregnancy centers want to give women the hope and support they need, not pressure them into having an abortion.
ADF is challenging similar laws in California and Illinois – and we have asked the Supreme Court to hear the California case. ADF has also filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, because forcing pregnancy centers to promote abortion violates federal law – that means these states should not be receiving federal funding.
If the government can tell these pro-life pregnancy centers to promote a practice that they are dedicated to ending, then free speech for us all is in jeopardy.
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