In addition to the federal government funding abortion, state governments are requiring pro-life pregnancy centers, healthcare professionals, doctors, and Christian ministries to promote and advertise information about having an abortion– or receive hefty fines and ultimately close.
For example, a recent Hawaiian mandate requires pro-life pregnancy centers, including those run by churches and Christian organizations, to promote and advertise abortion coverage on a website. Fortunately, the Christian organization, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filed a lawsuit on behalf of the pro-life ministry, A Place for Women in Waipoi, and five other pregnancy resource centers affiliated with the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA).
In Illinois, a recently enacted law required pro-life healthcare professionals and doctors to refer or help refer their patients to abortionists. They also were required to advise their patients about the benefits of abortion as a “treatment option” for pregnancy. Last December, a state circuit court placed a preliminary injunction on the law, affirming the position expressed by ADF Senior Counsel, Matt Bowman:
Forcing pro-life doctors and pregnancy care centers in Illinois to operate as referral agents for the abortion industry in violation of their freedom of conscience is unconstitutional, illegal, and unethical. No state has the authority to compel health professionals, against their will and their sacred oath to “do no harm,” to promote abortion. We commend the court’s ruling which is a victory for free speech and the freedom of conscience.
Similar to Illinois, courts in Austin, Texas, Montgomery County and Baltimore, Maryland, and New York City invalidated laws that violated the constitutionally protected rights of pro-life healthcare providers, doctors, clinic workers and those involved in Christian ministry.
But one court case is going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, courtesy of the communist-run state of California.The Reproductive FACT Act, AB 775, requires pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry, or be fined. It requires pro-life licensed medical centers to disclose information about the state’s free and low-cost abortion and contraception services, including contact information for a county office that refers women to Planned Parenthood. Unlicensed pregnancy centers are also required to prominently disclose their “non-medical status” even though they do not provide medical services.
A federal court upheld the law, and refused to rehear it last year. As a result, pro-life medical centers in Los Angeles, California are being fined a minimum of $500 per instance of not promoting abortion or referring women to Planned Parenthood.
On November 13, 2017, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, in which one pro-life pregnancy care center network and two pregnancy care centers in California claim that the law violates their constitutionally protected rights to freedom of conscience and free speech.
If pro-life individuals are forced to support abortion in the workplace, ministry, or volunteer capacity, they are left with four choices. 1) They can comply, and go against their conviction to save lives. 2) They can not comply and be repeatedly fined to the point of losing their ministry. 3) They can pursue legal action to preserve their rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. 4) Or they can abandon their commitment to pro-life advocacy and assistance to women in need altogether. In many instances, Christians have resorted to the second and third options.