Hawaii is following the lead of California and Illinois in considering legislation that would require all pregnancy centers to either post a sign or distribute flyers advertising state-funded abortions, including contact information of relevant state agencies — a requirement that pro-life centers call a violation of their free speech and religious beliefs.
Bill, SB-501 directs “all limited service pregnancy centers to disclose the availability of and enrollment information for reproductive health services.”
The bill was passed by a 22-3 vote in the state’s Democrat-controlled Senate, and its companion bill is expected to pass in its Democrat-controlled House.
The proposed law is being called an “egregious violation of religious freedom” by attorneys like Thomas Glessner, who leads the National Institute of Family and is teaming with the Alliance Defending Freedom to bring the case before the Supreme Court.
In a statement to the Washington Times, Glessner said, “The Hawaii effort to suppress free speech is especially concerning because one of the state’s pro-life centers is housed in a church — which means the church itself would be forced to refer for abortions.”
In direct contrast, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii supported the bill, stating that pro-life pregnancy centers offer health care information that is “biased, misleading, and false.”
“Anyone seeking health care should receive comprehensive, accurate, unbiased information in a confidential setting. Reproductive health care is no different.”
The requirements that come with the bill are very specific, including how large the abortion advertisements must be, what sized font should be used, how and when they should be distributed, and what they must say:
“Hawaii has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services including all FDA-approved methods of contraception, prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the appropriate Med-QUEST division eligibility office.”
Rev. Derald Skinner, who is pastor at Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor, said, “The state of Hawaii should not be involved in our pro-life centers, nor especially in the Christian church.”
“Now, our particular pro-life center is in our church. So, it’s very important to realize that they are dictating to us what we can and cannot say. Will they give me my sermon next and tell me what I can preach?”
See Rev. Skinner’s statement:
Churches and pro-life centers that do not comply would be fined $500 for their first violation and $1,000 for each that follows. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the constitutionality of California’s similar law in October.
H/T: The Washington Times
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