Pritzker: Pro-Lifers Can’t ‘Lie’ to Make People ‘Unaware of What Their Full Rights Are’ — ‘It’s Just Like’ Trump Case

On Friday’s broadcast of “CNN This Morning,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) defended the state’s law penalizing crisis pregnancy centers over what the state terms deception that a federal judge ruled is “painfully and blatantly a violation of the First Amendment” by stating that the law is “just like the case against President Trump. You have a right to free speech, but you don’t have a right to lie.” And you can’t lie to make people “unaware of what their full rights are.”

Pritzker said, “I’m confident this is constitutional, it’s legal. Remember what they’re doing, they’re putting their crisis pregnancy centers next door to abortion rights centers, and they’re directing people to go in their front door or telling them things that aren’t true often. And when that’s the case, they ought to be held liable. There ought to be a private right of action for anybody that’s dissuaded or told something that’s false, that’s the important thing. What they say to people, that’s fine, as long as what they’re doing isn’t deceptive. And we have laws against that. It’s fraud in our state and we’re going to prosecute people for that.”

Co-host Poppy Harlow then asked, “It’s largely — their claim to have this right, is largely based on RFRA (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act), on religious freedom and making their argument from a religious perspective. How do you counter that free speech argument? You’re basing yours on a consumer fraud act. I understand that, but as you face this First Amendment question?”

Pritzker answered, “Well, it’s just like the case against President Trump. You have a right to free speech, but you don’t have a right to lie. You don’t have a right to use those lies to push people into situations in which they, frankly, are breaking the law or where they are unaware of what their full rights are. So, we need to make sure that people know what their rights are.”

He continued, “Remember, this came about, in part, because the attorney general of the State of Illinois was driving into a Planned Parenthood and actually, one of these people, stopped the car, acting as if they belonged to the Planned Parenthood organization, and started directing them toward the crisis pregnancy center and telling them things that weren’t true. And the attorney general couldn’t believe that that was happening, and, after he realized it, came to the legislature and said, we shouldn’t allow this to happen.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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