Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers in Hawaii were forced to start advertising free, government provided abortions Wednesday, according to a newly passed edict.
The bill requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortions was passed Tuesday and mandates that all five such centers in Hawaii, which are Christian, must post signage that says the following:
Hawaii has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services, including, but not limited to, all FDA-approved methods of contraception and pregnancy-related services for eligible women.
To apply online for medical insurance coverage, that will cover the full range of family planning and prenatal care services, go to mybenefits.hawaii.gov.
Only ultrasounds performed by qualified healthcare professionals and read by licensed clinicians should be considered medically accurate.
Pro-Life pregnancy centers must not only post the advertisement, but according to the bill, they must also distribute this notice to each patient treated in the facility. Hawaii is not the first state to pass such a law, and in fact, it echoes a 2015 law passed in California which mandates that pro-life pregnancy centers must post and distribute a similar notice.
California pro-life pregnancy centers appealed the law, arguing that the mandate violated their religious beliefs, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them. Hawaii also falls within the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit, making it highly unlikely that an appeal from Hawaii’s pro-life pregnancy centers would be successful at that level.
However, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), National Institute of Family & Life Advocates (NIFLA), and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) said they will challenge the law at not only state level, but at the federal level as well, according to Pregnancy Help News (PHN).
Hawaii’s legislature passed the law after blocking testimony from pro-life pregnancy centers in one of their Senate committee hearings, according to PHN, raising questions about the political motivations for pushing the bill through the legislative process.
California pro-life pregnancy centers have appealed to the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of their state’s mandated abortion advertisement, according to PHN. If the Supreme Court decides to take up the case in September, the subsequent decision of the court will set a precedent that will decide the fate of the impending appeal against Hawaii’s law.
While abortion providers receive funding from Hawaii’s government, pro-life pregnancy centers receive no state funding. Instead, Hawaii’s state government has threatened to take money from pro-life pregnancy centers, as those that refuse to post and distribute the notice mandated by the new law will be fined $500 for a first offense and $1000 for each subsequent offense. Any individual to whom a notice is not issued at these centers now has the right to sue the center as well, according to the law.
Authors of the law said the law’s purpose is to ensure that Hawaiian women have “meaningful access to effective reproductive health services.” Opponents of the law argued that it merely traps women into believing that abortion is their only option, according to Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International.
“Hawaii’s pregnancy help organizations are delivering caring, compassionate help for women and families at absolutely zero cost to the state’s taxpayers,” Godsey told PHN. “No woman should ever feel so alone or trapped that she feels abortion is her only option, but this is exactly the situation laws like these create.”
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