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Connecticut pregnancy center files suit against discriminatory law

pregnant, pregnancy center

A Connecticut pregnancy center has filed a lawsuit against a new state law banning so-called “deceptive” advertising by pro-life pregnancy centers.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed the federal lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center of Southeastern Connecticut. It states that the new law, Senate Bill 835, “bans Care Net from communicating freely with the individuals it serves and with those it wishes to serve, unless Care Net agrees to provide abortions, dispense abortifacient drugs, or offer referrals for abortions or abortifacient drugs.” The center is seeking a court order to block the law based on its violation of free speech, freedom of religion, due process, and equal protection rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

The law targets pro-life pregnancy centers in the state, claiming that they offer “limited services” because they do not commit or refer for abortions. The law allows the state attorney general to decided if Care Net and other centers are engaging in “deceptive advertising” and if determined to be doing so, would force them to correct their advertising to approved wording or face a fine of $500.

One group behind the law is NARAL Pro-Choice CT, which took issue with the fact that pregnancy centers offer free services to pregnant women who do not undergo abortions. Pregnancy centers offer women what abortion clinics do not: information about fetal development, the opportunity to see their preborn child during a free sonogram, and resources and materials to help them care for their baby during and after pregnancy. Because abortion facilities offer little to no prenatal care and offer no material resources to help women who choose to give birth, they technically offer limited services as well. Abortion workers have stated that since pregnancy centers help women who may otherwise have chosen abortion, the abortion industry sees pregnancy centers as a threat to their bottom line.

READ: Documentary highlights work of pregnancy centers in offering women real choices

Though the law bans so-called deceptive advertising by pregnancy centers in print publications, online postings, public statements, or “any other manner,” the word “deceptive” is not defined in the law. The attorney general’s office will have the power to seek a court order to block any advertising it determines to be deceptive. This could be a simple sign asking, “Pregnant? Need help?”

State Attorney General William Tong said he will defend the law in court. “Women need accurate and timely information about their reproductive health choices,” he said. “It’s indefensible to lie to women at a vulnerable time.”

However, as been discovered through Live Action’s undercover investigations for more than a decade, abortion businesses have made a habit of lying to women in order to sell more abortions. Abortion facilities have lied to potential clients about fetal development, abortion procedures, and even abortion regret. They have also been caught aiding sexual abusers in order to make money from the abortions of sexual assault victims as young as age 12.

Though proponents of the law falsely claimed that women complained of negative experiences at pregnancy centers in the state, not a single woman testified to this during the hearings regarding the law.

ADF senior counsel Denise Harle said the law “impedes women’s ability to receive critical services during a very difficult time in their lives, suppresses the free-speech rights of Care Net and other faith-based pregnancy centers serving women in the community, and punishes those who abide by their religious beliefs.”

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