Connecticut Democrats have introduced a bill to regulate pro-life pregnancy centers, claiming they engage in “deceptive advertising practices” that give women the impression they offer abortions.
During a public health committee hearing of H.B. 7070, Democrat State Rep. Liz Linehan said the faith-based centers “operate with the appearance of a medical facility and advertise to people as though they offer abortion and emergency contraception, when they are actually opposed to these services,” reported CT Mirror.
Linehan said the faith-based facilities “lure” women who are “in a vulnerable state, looking to receive time-sensitive, sensitive health care information from qualified individuals.”
“However, none of these centers are qualified or licensed to provide the services they may seek,” she added.
Democrat State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest also said abortion industry lobbying organization NARAL in Connecticut claims pro-life centers tell women “they were sinning for getting an abortion, that they might not make it out alive, and that some women are left with a half of a baby inside them after having an abortion”:
— Jillian Gilchrest (@Jilchrest) February 13, 2019
Gilchrest said the pro-life pregnancy centers are “purposefully deceiving women into thinking they are accessing reproductive healthcare in order to push religious doctrine” and that this practice “is deceptive and should not be permitted in the state of Connecticut.”
Jessica Tallie, however, said she sought help at the pro-life Women’s Center of Eastern Connecticut seven years ago when she was single and pregnant because she wanted to have her baby and needed support to go through with her pregnancy.
“The center gave me a clear overview of who they were, what they believe, and how they operate before I began any sessions with them,” Tallie said. “It was a professional, transparent, and comfortable environment.”
Republican State Rep. Doug Dubitsky testified that he had not read any testimony on the bill of “anybody who claims that they were deceived in any way by any of the practices at any of these centers.”
“There appear to be legislators who claim this is an issue, but it seems to me to be a solution without a problem,” he said.
Journal Inquirer columnist Chris Powell wrote Saturday that the Democrat measure actually “presumes women are just too stupid”:
Judging from the dishonorable and irresponsible men by whom they become pregnant, many women in Connecticut are not very smart. But are they really so stupid that they need more than a minute to distinguish an abortion clinic from a “crisis pregnancy center” that opposes abortion?
Powell observed Democrats are seeking to “punish anti-abortion shops” for competing with the abortion industry, particularly since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pro-life centers in June 2018. The high court overturned a California law forcing the centers to post information on where to obtain abortions.
“No one should be forced by the government to express a message that violates their convictions,” said Michael Farris of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who represented the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) before the Supreme Court. “In this case, the government used its power to force pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for abortion. The Supreme Court said that the government can’t do that, and that it must respect pro-life beliefs.”
Powell referred to the Democrats’ extreme push to protect abortion as “crazy fanaticism”:
[T]he proposed legislation in Connecticut is largely a mechanism by which the pro-abortion side aims to intimidate the anti-abortion side and to frighten legislators into striking pro-abortion poses. The claim that a woman’s visit to an anti-abortion shop may critically delay her access to medical treatment is hardly persuasive when, if she is seeking an abortion, all she has to do is ask if the shop will provide or facilitate one.
In January, Connecticut Democrats proclaimed their state is now a “firewall” to protect abortion in the event Roe v. Wade – the 1973 Supreme Court Decision that invented a right to abortion – is overturned.
“Under the Trump-Pence administration, and with Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, reproductive health care, including access to safe, legal abortion, faces its greatest threat,” Gretchen Raffa, director of policy and advocacy for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said, according to CT Mirror. Raffa spoke as she was surrounded by Democrat lawmakers and members of the administration of new Connecticut Democrat Gov. Ned Lamont.
“What you see here right now is a physical representation of the firewall to protect women’s reproductive rights, health care generally, and women’s rights and human rights,” said state Attorney General William Tong.
Powell, however, says Democrats are using intimidation to push their narrative on abortion.
“[T]he more the left practices intimidation here, the less it may persuade the country that there is nothing questionable about abortion, not even abortion of late-term, viable fetuses and infanticide,” he concluded in his column. “Indeed, the Democratic Party, the party of the left, is already giving the impression that it considers abortion the highest social good.”