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Pro-life pregnancy centers seek relief from illegal investigation by WA attorney general

ADF attorneys available for media interviews following hearing Thursday
A mother and father are seen with their newborn baby in a hospital room

WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys

WHAT: Available for media interviews following hearing in Obria Group v. Ferguson

WHEN: Immediately following hearing, which begins at 9:30 a.m. PST, Thursday, Feb. 29

WHERE: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, 1717 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Manager Bernadette Tasy at (480) 356-0324.

TACOMA, Wash. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys will be available for media interviews Thursday following federal district court oral arguments in Obria Group v. Ferguson. In the case, ADF attorneys represent two faith-based, pro-life nonprofits that are challenging Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson for singling them out because of their life-affirming views through an unconstitutional and unlawful investigation into their privileged records and materials.

Ferguson issued civil investigative demands that dictate, for a time period exceeding 13 years, that the Obria Group and Obria Medical Clinics PNW provide answers to questions and production of documents under the pretense of conducting a civil investigation into “possible” violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act. As ADF attorneys argue in their lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in November, Ferguson’s investigation does not appear to be based on a complaint or other substantive evidence of wrongdoing but is rather an exploratory probe into the lawful activities, constitutionally protected speech and associations, and nonpublic internal communications and records of two organizations that hold a view on a matter of public policy that Ferguson doesn’t favor.

“Washington’s attorney general is targeting and harassing Obria medical clinics for no reason other than their pro-life stance,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tim Garrison, who will be arguing on behalf of the groups. “The U.S. Constitution protects the Obria Group and Obria Medical Clinics PNW’s right to freely speak their beliefs, freely exercise their faith, freely associate with like-minded individuals and organizations, and continue to provide services in a caring and compassionate environment to women and men facing difficult pregnancy circumstances. We are urging the court to end Washington’s relentless harassment of pro-life organizations.”

“Our clients have already expended exorbitant time and financial resources trying to comply with the unreasonable demands made by Washington’s attorney general,” said ADF Senior Counsel Lincoln Wilson, who will also be arguing on behalf of the groups. “These overbroad, invasive, selective, and burdensome investigative demands violate the pro-life organizations’ rights protected by the First, Fourth, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and must stop.”

The information and documentation demands are so expansive—and only limited in time by the arbitrary date of January 1, 2010—that they would illegitimately include massive amounts of information and confidential internal communications and documents that are unrelated to Ferguson’s stated purpose for the investigation. Moreover, the Obria Group and Obria Medical Clinics PNW appear to have been singled out as targets of the investigation, even though dozens of abortion providers operating in Washington also obtain similar sensitive client information.

The Obria Group and Obria Medical Clinics PNW are Christian pro-life nonprofits that provide medical, educational, and other services to meet the physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs of pregnant women, mothers, and fathers in a manner consistent with their view that unborn life is valuable and deserving of care and protection.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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